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Home Article Listing What you need to know about the webOS PDK

What you need to know about the webOS PDK

Palm webOS PDKPalm has announced that they will be releasing a Plug-in Development Kit for webOS developers, allowing them to take advantage of new capabilities on webOS devices.  What does this mean for application developers?  Lots:

  • Easy to port existing C/C++ applications to webOS, including those that use OpenGL ES 1.1 or 2.0
  • Easy integration of C/C++ components to enhance the capability of webOS applications built with Mojo

This means hardware accelerated games and other applications that require more computing horsepower than Mojo can provide.  Check out the technologies behind the PDK after the break.

The technologies behind the PDK:

  • Simple DirectMediaLayer (SDL), a cross-platform multimedia library designed to provide low-level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick, 3D hardware via OpenGL ES, and a 2D video frame buffer. 

    SDL supports Linux, Windows, Windows CE, BeOS, MacOS, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, BSD/OS, Solaris, IRIX, and QNX. The code contains support for AmigaOS, Dreamcast, Atari, AIX, OSF/Tru64, RISC OS, SymbianOS, and OS/2, but these are not officially supported.

    SDL is written in C, but works with C++ natively, and has bindings to several other languages, including Ada, C#, D, Eiffel, Erlang, Euphoria, Guile, Haskell, Java, Lisp, Lua, ML, Objective C, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Pike, Pliant, Python, Ruby, Smalltalk, and Tcl.

    SDL is distributed under GNU LGPL version 2. This license allows you to use SDL freely in commercial programs as long as you link with the dynamic library.

  • GCC for compiling C/C++ code to native ARM code.

    The GNU Compiler Collection includes front ends for C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran, Java, and Ada, as well as libraries for these languages (libstdc++, libgcj,...). 

Sounds great, and it should all be arriving in March this year.  If you're feeling antsy and want to get a head start, check out the WIDK (WebOS Internals Development Kit) at webos-internals.org.  (You'll need to already be familiar with a *nix type environment to get up and running quickly.)

An interesting piece that appears further down in the announcement:

"The PDK offers access to some capabilities —  like accelerated OpenGL-powered 3D graphics — that are not currently exposed to applications built entirely with web technologies.

However, we are hard at work delivering similar capabilities to all webOS applications. While we are not yet ready to announce our specific SDK plans in this area, we are closely tracking the rapid evolution of browser capabilities based on emerging standards, such as WebGL, CSS Transforms, and O3D for 3D graphics, and we are enormously excited about their potential to revolutionize the web.

You can expect us to aggressively implement the best of these and other similar forward-looking web standards, proposed web standards, and other extensions designed to expose native device capabilities to webOS applications."

Exciting times for webOS.  Let's hope Palm can hold on long enough to get these tools into our hands so we can start cranking out some awesome applications.



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