Palm's Mojo SDK for the Pre mixes simplicity, rough edges

With Palm's WebOS and development tools, Web programming ascends to the throne and powers the app layer, but Palm's platform is clearly a work in progress

1 2 3 Page 3
Page 3 of 3

I think there will also be some rapid integration with the various widget platforms out there. It would be relatively simple for Palm to create a browser-based IDE that lets people create and test rudimentary apps in their browser. A number of widgets like Google Gadgets come from just these sorts of IDEs.

Just the beginning
The JavaScript is just the beginning. Developers are actively digging into the Linux foundations of the Pre and finding they can build tools that work with the raw guts of the machine. Some are talking about writing Java services underneath.

I asked Palm a number of questions about distribution, its version of the App Store, and other issues, but I got only vague answers that pointed me toward the Web site. Maybe the company has a plan. Maybe it doesn't. But the programmers aren't waiting around to say, "Mother may I?" Palm users are already distributing open source versions of their code, and unlike with the iPhone, everyone is perfectly free to install any Pre apps they'd like to run.

Web sites such as and are cataloging dozens of apps that come complete with the source code. This is fertile ground for developers and an active community. Days after Apple nuked the Google Voice app, some Palm coders posted a version for the Pre. I found myself browsing through a number of others' apps and learning much more than I could from the Mojo documentation.

These home-brew apps are heartening. I know people are doing similar things with the iPhone -- such as selling the source to people who must install it themselves -- but the entire scene emerging around Palm has a much more organic and creative vibe. It's not getting hung up on parsing and reparsing the App Store rules. Maybe Palm will tighten down the screws in the future. But for now it's a thrill to swap code and play with the technology.

The current version of the Mojo SDK is merely the start of access to a very fertile platform. The Web tools are so well known and well understood that it's hard to understand why more manufacturers haven't tried Palm's tack before.

Related articles
iPhone App Store roulette: A tale of rejection
Apple's random rules for iPhone app approval are a recipe for trivial apps and alienated developers
How to choose a mobile development platform
Smartphone app dev is exploding, leaving developers confronted with a plethora of choices. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your mobile apps
A developer's-eye view of smartphone platforms
As smartphones evolve into serious computers, the worlds of iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia Symbian, Palm, and Windows Mobile offer developers new possibilities. Which world should you choose?
The cross-platform option: Web apps for smartphones
Tailoring a Web application for iPhone, BlackBerry, and other top devices has many advantages over costly native development, and new techniques and approaches are closing the functionality gap
Mobile deathmatch: Palm Pre versus iPhone
In our last comparison, the iPhone buried the BlackBerry. Can the new Palm Pre unseat the mobile champ?
Deathmatch rematch: BlackBerry versus iPhone 3.0

It’s time for us to bury the BlackBerry and move on to modern mobile -- even for e-mail
Mobile deathmatch: BlackBerry vs. iPhone 3.0, side by side
How much more than a phone can these devices be? See what each can do -- or not -- in this comparison
How much work can you do on an iPhone?
The laptop-free promise of today’s next-gen mobile devices is put to the test. Can the iPhone 3G deliver?
How much work can you do on a BlackBerry?
The laptop-free promise of today’s next-gen mobile devices is put to the test. Can BlackBerry Bold deliver?
InfoWorld's Enterprise iPhone Deep Dive Report
Find out how to make the iPhoe work in business and professional settings in this 28-page PDF guide from InfoWorld's editors and contributors
InfoWorld's Deep Dive Report: Mobile 2.0 Tech
Find out how the new crop of next-gen mobile devices perform and how to make the most of them in this 20-page PDF guide from InfoWorld's editors and contributors
21 apps Apple doesn't want on your iPhone
Worthwhile productivity apps you won't find at the App Store
Can you manage an iPhone like a BlackBerry?
Apple's iPhone 3.0 OS and iPhone Configuration Utility 2.0 extend the iPhone's enterprise-class management and security features. The InfoWorld Test Center sees how far they really go
First look: iPhone 3G S is evolution in action
The iPhone 3G S is less revolutionary than its predecessors, but is still moving in the right direction
First look: iPhone OS 3.0 is better for business, but IT won't be satisfied
My iPod Touch slowed to a crawl, making the many useful new iPhone update features hard to use -- at first
Your next iPhone: iPhone 3.0 update or iPhone 3G S?
Between Apple's free OS upgrade, the new next-generation handset, and the heavily discounted 3G, it's decision-time for both devotees and holdouts
iPhone 3.0: An InfoWorld guided tour
Apple's forthcoming update fills a number of important holes for users; here's a sneak peek at the key new features
iPhone applications get down to business
InfoWorld picks the best iPhone apps for connecting with business systems and boosting mobile productivity

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 3 Page 3
Page 3 of 3