Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Ares 1.0: The easy to use, browser-based, powerful mobile touch UI app creator goes final

Category: JavaScript, Utility, WebOS

A few months back we announced an early build of Ares the full mobile development environment from Palm that runs entirely in the browser.

I was really excited to be at JSConf at the weekend where Matt McNulty announced Ares going 1.0 in our session. He promptly went on to do demos that show how easy it is to create mobile Web applications in the tool. You can follow one of these tutorials and Matt kindly put together a walkthrough of how easy it is to build a GPS enabled app in a few lines of code:

(Click here to see it larger).

If you tried Ares first time around, take another look. There are a lot of new features, and you can catch up all of what’s new. Really glad to see the flushing out of components and sensors, and after enjoying CSS layout for many years, I love what the Ares crew have done with layout.


  • Ares now has Components, which are widgets that provide functionality, but without any user interface. The palette now contains the service calls, sensors, etc that are in the webOS SDK.
  • Components can be drag-and-dropped onto the canvas, where they will show up as icons across the bottom of the screen. They can be selected and configured in the property inspector, and then called in a single line of code.
  • Inline help – When a component is selected on the canvas or view tree, the last tab of the property inspector will show jsdoc-style inline help for that component, so you can see what you can call on each component.
  • For example, you can drag out a camera component, and in the ontap handler of a button, type this.$.camera1.execute(); to launch the camera in your app!
  • See the 1.0 tutorial to see how easy it is to create an app that connects to phone services using components.

Designer Ergonomics

  • Undo and Redo in the interface builder!
  • Cut, Copy, Paste in the interface builder!
  • New shortcut buttons to swap between the designer and code assistant for a given scene
  • Improved support for drag and drop between panels and at the top and bottom of the canvas

Find and Replace

  • Find and replace within a file
  • Find and replace within multiple projects, complete with filters for which projects

JSLint Integration

  • JSLint feedback is now integrated into the code editor
  • New JSLint "Monitor" feature will provide feedback on your code as you type continuously

And lots more…

  • New FeedList widget for RSS feeds
  • Google Maps v3 wrapper widget for including multi-touch enabled maps in your applications
  • Left and right panels can be hidden/shown with a single click on their arrows
  • Unified spot in the UI for Find and Replace, JSLint, Debugger, and Log Viewer
  • Improved Debugger functionality, including viewing all variables in scope in a tree control, updated as you step through your code
  • Code beautification in the code editor
  • Lots of bug fixes

My favourite Tweet about Ares showed up yesterday:


What would you like to see in a tool that helps you build great mobile Web applications?

Posted by Dion Almaer at 5:37 pm

4.2 rating from 21 votes


Comments feed TrackBack URI

Jeez, that’s a long list of adjectives!
1. easy to use
2. browser-based
3. powerful
4. mobile
5. touch UI


Comment by bfred — April 20, 2010

How easily can these HTML5 apps be ported to Blackberry / Android / WinMo / Symbian / iPhone etc? Would be awesome if you could use Ares to deploy on multiple platforms.

Comment by dave1010 — April 21, 2010

Microsoft should buy palm and kick off their “Kin”

Comment by leobm — April 21, 2010

Unfortunately Palm is dying…

Comment by panzeronline — April 21, 2010


Seriously, Palm isn’t dead yet and has some majorly awesome stuff. They’re a little behind on the mobile apps game but are taking huge strides on catching up and have the easiest system for entry into the eco-system.

@dave1010: Not possible. Mojo (Palm’s Javascript framework) is not open. It’s limited to phones running WebOS. If you’re not interested in WebOS, go Phonegap.

I own a Palm Pre and love it.

Comment by tercero12 — April 21, 2010

that last line was supposed to be in <full-disclosure /> tags but got sanitized.

Comment by tercero12 — April 21, 2010

What would I like to see? Support for Android. :P

The Ares IDE is amazing.

Comment by mdmadph — April 21, 2010

I just hope Palm gets picked up by HTC for WebOS (if they get bought). I think WebOS is very slick and has a lot of potential, but it needs to get pushed.

Comment by genericallyloud — April 21, 2010

It’s tough to read internet comments when rabid, frothing fanboys comprise 70% of smartphone users.

Comment by Baryn — April 21, 2010

This is really amazing. Palm does cool things it’s a shame that WebOS didn’t take off. They should have build something like this on top of Android instead.

Is the code editor Bespin or is it something they developed in house?

Comment by Spocke — April 21, 2010

When Palm was developing webOS, android was still a big question mark. Betting the farm on it was a silly idea. The only thing palm did “wrong” from my point of view is that they didn’t make an open platform, and got stuck in the app store race with google and apple. They could have released their platform as an app for other smartphone devices. They could also have ensured that W3C widgets integrated nicely into webOS. If webOS was more open, it would probably get more developer mindshare. Right now it’s just another proprietary OS that happens to look like a web platform (but isn’t one due to all the proprietary techniques and API’s). Buying into palm is just as much lock-in as buying into android or the iphone. As a commercial developer, you’d have to be a fool or a fanatic to choose palm as your platform, not because the technology sucks (it’s great), but because the platform has vanishingly small marketshare and an uncertain future.

Comment by Joeri — April 22, 2010

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