HP kicks off Open WebOS programme

In anticipation of the first full release of the open-sourced WebOS in September, HP has pushed out a new version of the Enyo JavaScript framework for writing cross-platform apps

HP has open-sourced the Enyo JavaScript framework for writing TouchPad WebOS tablet apps, in the hope it will be used to create apps for other platforms.

The release of Enyo under the Apache 2.0 licence marks the first step in HP's strategy of giving away WebOS, after the company scrapped its own line of hardware using the Linux-based operating system.

"We're proud of WebOS and its potential to harness web standards to improve the next generation of applications, web services and devices," Sam Greenblatt, chief technology of HP's Open WebOS project, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

"Today, we're taking the next step on this journey by releasing Enyo, our JavaScript app framework, under open-source licensing, allowing developers to distribute their Enyo-based WebOS apps across other platforms," Greenblatt continued.

According to the newly-published Open WebOS roadmap, the first fully open-source version of the operating system will go into beta in August, with the target of a final release in September.

HP had two development frameworks for WebOS apps. Mojo was the framework for building apps for WebOS handsets such as the Pre3 and Veer, while Enyo was Mojo's successor, aimed at writing apps for the TouchPad and the various planned WebOS devices that were cancelled.

On Wednesday, HP provided the full package for Enyo 1, so that current developers of Enyo apps for WebOS devices can distribute those apps to other platforms. However, retooling Enyo 1 apps for platforms other than WebOS is tricky, and the apps can only work on platforms that use the Webkit rendering engine. For those wanting to run the apps in browsers, this means Chrome and Safari.

Enyo 2 apps, on the other hand, will be able to work in the Chrome, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox and Safari browsers. Using a native shell, the apps will also be destined for iOS and Android devices.

"Enyo's purpose in life is to make it easier for you to build and maintain HTML5 applications of any size and complexity, whether you're targeting phones, tablets, PCs or other form factors," according to an FAQ section on the new Enyo site. "Over time, you can expect to see Enyo add-ons that are specialised for various purposes, but the Enyo core will remain broadly applicable."

UI and IDE on the way

HP only released the Enyo 2 core on Wednesday, but it said other elements such as the user interface (UI) widget set will come in around a month's time.

In addition, HP expects an April release for Ares 2, the latest version of its integrated development environment (IDE). Featuring support for Enyo 2, Ares 2 will give developers a browser-based drag-and-drop UI editor for building their apps.

"Upcoming releases include our distribution of WebKit, which will support not only HTML5, but also Silverlight and Flash through the use of plug-ins," Greenblatt noted. "It will enable the rendering of web pages to HTML Canvas and 3D textures, and will support a wide range of application interfaces, including multi-touch."

Greenblatt added the Open WebOS team will switch to the standard Linux kernel and adopt the LevelDB database.

 Timing Milestone / Code published
 January Enyo 2.0 and Enyo source code
 Apache License, Version 2.0
 February Intended project governance model
 QT WebKit extensions
 JavaScript core
 UI Enyo widgets
 March Linux standard kernel
 Graphics extensions EGL
 USB extensions
 April Ares 2.0
 Enyo 2.1
 Node services
 July System manager ('Luna')
 System manager bus
 Core applications
 Enyo 2.2
 August Build release model
 Open webOS Beta
 September Open webOS 1.0

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