So What Does Open webOS’ Enyo Framework Mean to Me as a Mobile Developer?

Enyo Javascript Application FrameworkHP has finally released their road map for open sourcing their mobile platform webOS.  But its not only the webOS faithful that are celebrating but the mobile development community as a whole.  Open sourcing a large platform like this will take some time and is no overnight task.  There are many aspects of the platform that will need to be patched or replaced to oblige with external licenses and agreements HP entered into during development.  Eventually the whole webOS platform will be open sourced and the timeline to do so can be found here. So to get the ball rolling and kick things off, HP has released Enyo under the Apache 2.0 license.

For those not familiar with webOS’ app development strategy, webOS applications are built primarily using web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript all while providing the ability to do any “heavy” lifting that may be required via C/C++. Enyo is the application framework that webOS developers use to create their apps.  The framework defines both UI elements and event driven logic while promoting solid software engineering practices of encapsulated and modular code.  The UI elements were developed with multiple screen resolution and sizes in mind so they were designed to be fluid and adaptive.  An even better aspect of the framework is because it is built using web technologies, it is not really limited to just webOS. In fact, it can currently run anywhere there is a web-kit based browser!  This allows you to use all the great debugging features of modern browsers, in fact you can do the majority of your apps development in the browser before even having to setup a platform specific project!

As mobile developers, we want to reach as many people as possible with our products with the least amount of overhead necessary.  Building and maintaining an app for each mobile platform not only significantly increases the overhead and development costs, but also stifles competition in the mobile platform market. Developers are forced to pick and choose where to optimally apply their limited resources and emerging mobile platforms won’t gain the traction they need to succeed without developer support.  Without getting into the native vs. HTML5 debate, it is things like Enyo that when coupled with a cross-platform device framework like PhoneGap or Titanium, that we really start breaking down the unique app per platform barrier and promote mobile platform innovation.  It doesn’t stop there though, Enyo also makes a great framework for web app developers and provides them a great way to ensure their web app is both desktop and mobile optimized.

The Enyo application framework has been released in two bundles.  The legacy Enyo 1.0 framework was targeted specifically to run on the HP TouchPad and was thus optimized for that hardware.  As a result there are certain aspects of the framework that may not perform as well or not work at all on other devices.  Enyo 2.0 is optimized for multiple devices and will remove the web-kit only browser limitation.  Currently only the core of Enyo 2.0 is available as the UI elements will not be available till next month.  Also HP has setup a great community site ( where developers can not only get help with using the framework but since it is open source you can contribute to its growth!



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