A preDevCamp update

59 BY devrel


I’ve had private conversations with a number of predevcamp organizers since Gio’s post yesterday. Gio and I had a very positive conversation this morning. I’ll say the same thing here that I told him and the other organizers:

  • Palm supports preDevCamp 100%
  • We overreacted to the whole disclosure issue.  We’ve been in stealth and super secret mode for so long now, we needed a real world conversation to see how we needed to work things so everybody can operate in their own environment.
  • As messy as it feels right now, the passion of the community is incredibly positive

I’m optimistic that we can find a good solution. And we’re going to keep talking. We’d love to get your two cents, concerns, and suggestions — feel free to join the conversation here, and be assured that even when we sometimes have to keep quiet, we’re always listening to your ideas.


Pam Deziel
Vice President, Developer Marketing
palm | 950 W Maude Ave | Sunnyvale | CA 94085

Comments (59)

  1. Ed says:

    I have my new Palm Pre and I LOVE IT. However, as a developer I am really, really concerned about Palm’s future. This new phone is truly marvelous – bravo Palm. However, I don’t believe Palm has enough resources to compete in a closed model against Apple, Android, and RIM. Also, Microsoft’s .NET phone will be late to the party, but given that they bought most of the brains at Danger, it is likely to be a pretty good OS and it will definitely have good development tools. As a small developer, I don’t have enough resources to target all of these phones and their different development paradigms and systems.

    I was at the Google I/O developer conference last week. Google is doing a really great job of providing tools, tutorials, etc. for Android and this is all open source. Google made a very big push for developers to embrace HTML 5 features. In fact, they gave Palm about 10 minutes of a keynote to introduce the Pre, WebOS and Mojo to the gathered mass of 4000 developers. This was the best exposure to developers that Palm has received and it was delivered by Google! PS: Google gave _every_ developer at I/O a free Android phone (the HTC phone that will end up being the TMobile G2). They did this to encourage development for the Android _open source_ OS. Google is putting out lots of time and money to create an open, standards compliant mobile platform. The fact is, they don’t care is it’s Android – they just want to advance mobile standards and capabilities so that adoption is fast. This encourages advanced apps, which encourages mobile internet traffic that Google can monetize.

    Palm, I want you to succeed. I don’t want to have to develop in Objective C! I have a few suggestions for you that I hope you will listen to – I’m sure you are already pursuing some of these are have considered others. These suggestions are all about increasing choices and minimizing risks for developers so we feel comfortable investing our opportunity time on your new platform. I think many developers like Palm (ignoring the SDK issue), but we have limited resources.

    First, You need to go open source. RIM and Apple are already way ahead. Android is open so adoption is happening fast – I heard there will be 12 android phones out by years end and all carriers in the US will have at lease one. Microsoft has the resources to stay in the game. Their purchase of Danger gives them lots of really, really good mobile experience. You need the input and help that an open community can provide.

    Next, developers we need more options than Javascript for development. I really like Javascript as a language. However, in practice there are problems. While technically Javascript is portable, DOM and other differences across browsers make this environment problematic. Mojo probably avoids this issue, but also limits portability – we will be in a proprietary environment. The interpreted nature of Javascript means that most errors must be caught at runtime, which creates many quality problems. So, on desktop browsers I’ve chosen to use Java (via GWT) and AS3 (via Flex) because those environments share several qualities that I find very important. First, they offer excellent portability for my code. Indeed, I using GWT I can share code between my client and server (or I could target the desktop with Java Quickstart). With AS3 and Air, I can target the desktop. I have lots of options and that makes me feel good. Second, Java and Flex offer excellent tooling, including static (compile time) checking, hosted source level debugging, unit testing, etc. All of this allows me to produce quality code and applications in a predictable amount of time. Again, this makes me feel good.

    In this regard, please work closely with Google closely to make sure Google Web Toolkit applications run well on Pre’s browser. I know HTML5 support is a priority for you. However, currently the Pre cannot run the GWTCanvas demo application (at http://google-web-toolkit-incubator.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/demo/GWTCanvasDemo/GWTCanvasDemo.html). This demo runs well in Android and iPod browsers. It also runs in all major desktop browsers (not well on IE, but somewhat…). Because GWT targets browsers, it provides a highly portable development solution. Because of the great Java tooling, like static compilation and analysis, source debugger, junit, Guice dependency injection, etc, very significant applications can be produced with high quality and productivity. GWT is an awesome tool and it is open – work with Google to make sure it target’s Pre’s browser optimally.

    The second way to work with Google is to get Google Web Toolkit to produce ‘native’ WebOS apps. GWT is a brilliant tool that increases productivity, quality and portability over traditional AJAX development. It is optimized for creating significant client side applications. There are ways you can expose Mojo to GWT (Javascript overlays, etc.) GWT 2.0 will have a remote, plugin based hosted debugging capability. Modify the plugin to make a native WebOS app that provides that hosted mode functionality (remember, it’s _all_ open source). Leverage this open tool and enable a huge number of Java programmers to work on your behalf. If you can do this, I promise I will develop apps for your phone.

    Finally, work with Adobe to get Flash working on your platform. Adobe is committed to getting Full Flash 10 on all mobile platforms. Work with Adobe to integrate Adobe AIR into your platform. Between them, Flash and Flex offer great development tools for designer/programmers. The resulting applications are way better then anything that can be produced in HTML 5 at this point. Flash/Flex development is mature – you will have lots of developers available on your platform. If Adobe really can get Flash 10 on these mobile platforms, then that will give us developers another low-risk way to deliver apps for Palm. If you can do this, I promise I will develop apps for your phone.

    Obviously you have produced some very nice apps with Mojo as it stands. However, by opening up the platform to Java and Flash/Flex developers in a way that makes portable mobile applications possible, you will minimize the risk for developers and so increase the number of developers that target your platform.

  2. Levan says:

    Pre is Out, SDK nowhere to be found, this is beyond radicoulas, I am developing apps for BB, and Iphone, both APPLE and RIM will bendover backwards to do their best to attract developwers, and what does PALM do? NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING, why do you keep high hopes on that upcomming book? whoo needs that crappy rough cuts book chapters anyways if there is no SDK to work with, palm(Mojo) SDK is not a rocket science to require a book, common now, …
    if you had released SDK week ago I would already had written some apps on it… but instead you are trying to align that SDK release with book release? is that it?
    even if phone is released to public and still hiding the SDK, F… this, I am moving back to BB, whata bunch of …..

  3. Andrew says:


    I am on my Pre. Love it… Please release the SDK. I want to see my app in a card!


    PS: does anyone who can help us read this? It seems like a black hole.

  4. SleepyFox says:

    Launch a new platform without an SDK? Tick.
    Launch a new platform without timely and frequent communication to developers? Tick
    Launch a new platform without a visible full-time community manager? Tick
    Launch a new platform without developer forums, wiki, blogs? Tick

    I am the tech advisor for mobile development at my company. The current mobile platforms we target are WinMo and iPhone, with a smattering of RIM work. I had previously pushed Pre quite strongly as a ‘watch closely, is shaping up to be a strong contender’.

    Now when push comes to shove I have nothing to show my CTO. Can we develop on Pre hardware? No. Can we prototype anything on an emulator? No. Do we at least have documentation? No. Are Palm making efforts to engage the development community? No.

    I am sorry to say that I (like many in my position I suspect) will be retracting my position and recommending to my company that they refocus their forward strategy on Android. Palm has dropped the ball here, this kind of ineptitude with respect to the developer community bodes very badly for your market position in the future, and it is worth neither my company’s time nor my professional reputation backing what seems now a very high-risk proposition.

    This saddens me, as I’ve been a strong proponent of the Palm since back in it’s early days, even developing apps for the Pilot. Goodbye Palm.

  5. Sumit Khanna says:

    I was really hoping Palm would keep a dual model, where you could get trusted applications from the catalog or allow for “untrusted” apps by putting in custom repository addresses.

    The Google Android project continually released all the various version of their SDK before release. Many developers had to retune their apps all the way up until final.

    I got the Pre on day one and it’s a great platform, but you can tell it was rushed out the door with a lot of features missing and a lot of stuff that’s obviously going to come from updates.

    Maybe Palm just wants to get everything nailed in its core apps before release the SDK. But the Pre by itself doesn’t do a lot. The apps that come with it, like the twitter app, really suck. They are only releasing two apps per day in the catalog and their from big commercial vendors (who probably paid for early access. Also, most of their apps also suck).

    Open it up to the community and you’ll be given an instant enthused audience that will be right there, experimenting and creating new software right with Palm.

    The Apple app store is horrible. You shouldn’t have to jailbreak a phone. It’s like buying a car with the hood welded shit.

  6. JJ says:

    Ok palm, almost another week gone by, no SDK. You are about to lose another developer. How long until you only have the fanboys left. Regardless of how easy it is to develop for, your digging a hole you won’t get out of easily.

  7. Kevin Timm says:

    Wow, 10 days after release and the ignoration from Palm continues full force. Oh well, I guess I’ll just keep developing for iPhone (and selling app’s like mad).

    Easy enough, one less platform to support. What a shame, as far as I can tell, Palm wants to suck.