Palm snags prominent Web technologists

Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith, who have led the Mozilla developer lab, are now directors of the Palm Developer Relations team

Two dignitaries in the JavaScript development space who have led the Mozilla Developer Tools Lab have joined Palm as directors of the Palm Developer Relations team, according to blog posts.

Palm is gaining the services of Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith, said blog entries from both men, who  also have been running the Ajaxian Web site focused on AJAX development and related issues. "We will have the responsibility of the developer experience with Palm. We will be trying to create a rich connective tissue between the company and the Web developer community that we love,"  Almaer said in his blog on Friday.

Palm recently made a splash with the introduction of its Palm Pre device, which leverages the company's webOS software. "I remember watching the Palm Pre coming-out party thinking 'wow.' Palm had bet big," Almaer wrote. "They had bet on the Web platform being the base for their new amazing hardware device and becoming their platform going forward. Given the lead time required to create a device, I was impressed by their forward thinking. Now is the time to knuckle down to create the most amazing developer experience in a mobile environment for you," he said.

[ Today, Verizon announced that it is scrapping its Palm Pre plans. ]

While at Mozilla, the two men worked on Bespin, a project to build an extensible Web code editor based on HTML5 technology.

"What Dion and I started as an experiment to see if we could create a code editor on the Web as responsive as the desktop has turned into a full-fledged project team aiming to revolutionize the way the world writes code," Galbraith said in his blog Friday.

He cited a revolution in hardware, with computers shrinking to pocket size, happening at the same time the Web is expanding. But he expressed disappointment at efforts by some to constrain developers.

"However, my enthusiasm for this amazing new world is tempered by some unfortunate decisions made by some of the players in this space. It seems that some view this revolution as a chance to seize power in downright Orwellian ways by constraining what we as developers can say, dictating what kinds of apps we can create, controlling how we distribute our apps and placing all kinds of limits on what can do to our computing devices," Galbraith said.

The Palm opportunity, Galbraith said, gives he and Almaer "the opportunity to run Palm's developer program and to do things quite a bit differently than some others in the industry have done."

Both men expressed intentions to continue working with the Mozilla community.

"Dion and I believe in the Web platform-an open platform that no single vendor controls-and we believe in empowering and enabling developers. We have been honored to work with so many who feel the same way at Mozilla, we will continue to advocate those values as members of the Mozilla community and we can't wait to put these ideals into practice in our work at Palm," Galbraith said.

Mozilla declined to comment on the status of Galbraith and Almaer.  Neither man could be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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