O’Reilly and Palm announce the first book for building apps for webOS – first chapter now available for free

34 BY devrel

webosroughcut We’re really excited to share the news that O’Reilly Media is publishing a book about developing for Palm’s new mobile platform, titled “Palm webOS: Developing Applications in JavaScript Using the Palm Mojo Framework”. Since the book is being written by Palm VP and Software CTO Mitch Allen and the webOS development team, it will be provide a great inside and in-depth perspective on creating killer apps for webOS devices like the upcoming Pre.

And since the book is being published by O’Reilly, the definition of “book” is a whole lot more than the traditional one. You can read the first chapter right now for free at http://developer.palm.com.  Plus, in the coming hours, the first chapter will also be available on O’Reilly’s Rough Cuts service.  Rough Cuts lets you purchase the book in its unfinished form and essentially read it as its being written.  We’ll provide a link to that when it’s live on Monday.

More?  How about a free webcast for developers featuring Mitch Allen.  O’Reilly and Palm are teaming up on February 25 (10 a.m. PT), to provide a preview of the webOS development environment, and give you a great chance to fire away with questions and comments for Mitch.   The link to register for that webcast will be live very soon, and we’ll pass that along to you as well as soon as its ready.

So feel free to post your comments about this on this blog, because we definitely want to know what you think. We read (and love!) them all, even if we can’t always respond or answer all your questions.

Comments (34)

  1. Pingback: Palm Pre SDK Debut « John Tokash

  2. Joe says:

    So if there’s going to be a “preview of the webOS development environment” on February 25, does that mean the SDK is still a long ways away? I’m sure you can’t answer, so just say no comment if I’m right. ;)

  3. Pingback: First Chapter of "Palm

  4. Tim Carroll says:

    Interesting stuff. One thing I’m wondering about (and have already speculated on over at PIC, heh :) ) is whether or not the “headless” dashboard apps will also provide support for continuously-scrolling text? I can see you’ve got ‘banner’ (single line of scrolling text) and ‘pop-up’ notifications, but I’m also thinking specifically of the possibilities for things like news/stock ticker widgets. For instance, I’d love to make an app that would scroll the latest headlines from my RSS feeds directly across the screen at all times – provided someone doesn’t make one for me…

  5. Steve says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to check it. Also, good to see you are using WordPress to get the word out. Can’t wait to develop Palm Pre optimized WordPress themes! Bet this would a good feature for ThemeDreamer for Adobe Dreamweaver (shameless plug: wwww.themedreamer.com). Also good to hear that Palm’s joined the Adobe Flash group for bringing it to the Pre, now you are really racking up the features that go above and beyond other (well known) smart phones! I can’t wait to get my hands on one ASAP!

  6. Pingback: Get a Head Start on Pre Development

  7. Pingback: Palm webOS: “Developing Applications in JavaScript…” First chapter available for free « Feedback{Alley}

  8. harold campbell says:

    I’m not one to complain :) , but beyond the stack for the device, there isn’t much detail.

    Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction.

    The decision to create an actual book for developers instead of just some regular help files (for an API) is a much better decision than what Apple did.

  9. Dave Brown says:

    This is very encouraging. I was just looking at Android again today, wondering whether Pre was really going to happen or not. Still would very much like it if you actually released a SDK, even in “Beta” form or NDA-encumbered. Obviously (Pandora) it exists somewhere in some form…

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  11. Jeff Kendall says:

    Please release the sdk soon!

    I did notice that chapter 1 doesn’t even mention how to distribute a “native” webOS app that doesn’t allow people to simply view the source code. I would think that would be a reasonable topic for an introductory chapter. How could somebody hope to charge for an app when the trial (javascript and html) source code might be visible or even editable right on the device?

  12. Radi says:

    Disappointing! Instead of giving away for free all information a developer could need, they try to make money from everything. Are they really so much in need of every cent?

  13. Dave Brown says:

    #14: Palm probably does need the money, but more importantly, I think that the book represents an attempt to open the platform to a wider range of developers who probably don’t already have experience developing for embedded devices, etc., maybe haven’t done anything more complicated than a Flash animation. The first chapter is written very clearly and accessibly; a lot of work is going into that document. It’s a far cry from “here’s the header file for the API you’re supposed to use, go ahead and write your program.”

    I want to see the API first so I know whether I’ll be able to do what I want with WebOS; then I imagine I’ll buy the book even if a lot of it is too simple. Would be hard for the book not to save enough time figuring things out from more traditional SDK documentation to pay for itself.

  14. jwall says:

    Hi everyone,

    Here are some responses I’m posting for Mitch Allen, the author of the book.


    Thanks for commenting and for the questions. We’ll try to respond as best we can but we are really focused on finishing the webOS software and the SDK, so I apologize in advance if we can’t get to your question.

    @Tim: the dashboard panel is a ‘stage’ as we mentioned in the chapter, and as the app developer you control what’s on the stage. If you want scrolling text, you can have it but you’ll have to code the animation; the good news is that the same tools that you’d use on a web page to do that will work here.

    @Jeff: great question! We are definitely going to have a tech note in the SDK on protecting your JavaScript source code and perhaps we can work that into the book. It is a key concern for some developers, but for many others have found that it’s easier and more secure to put the differentiation in the web services or data provided with the application.

    @Radi – we want to connect with as many developers as we can, and the book will reach out to a group of developers in a unique way especially with O’Reilly’s great network and programs. A lot of what is in the book is in the SDK so the book isn’t the only way to get that information just different.

    Hope that helps, thanks again.


  15. Pingback: Palm Pre, The Web OS that Gives us Synergy | The Palm Pre Review

  16. gothy says:

    Bought this book, the same first chapter :(
    i thought it is almost complete and first chapter is only a free piece to encourage developers buying this book

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  25. Kai says:

    “It is a key concern for some developers, but for many others have found that it’s easier and more secure to put the differentiation in the web services or data provided with the application.”

    This is a bit…discouraging, to be honest.

    Somewhere in my mind, I believed that you guess had some sort of bytecode…or something going on.

    So wow. Hrm. This adds all kinds of levels of complexity, want and woe…many assets like art and audio are licensed in such a way that they would be impossible to use in such a scheme…

    Looking forward to more *solid* info. Thanks for the update, nonetheless.

    • ashebanow says:

      To be clear, Mitch’s response is referring only to JavaScript code. Protecting the media assets (art, audio, etc.) within your applications is an entirely different matter. What would people like/expect to see in this latter area, as compared with other platforms?

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  27. Pingback: Palm y O’Reilly lanzarán libro para crear aplicaciones en webOS a MrAnderson MD

  28. Pingback: O’Reilly “Palm webOS” book available for preorder | Gear Diary