Thursday, December 17th, 2009>p>
Project Ares is the first mobile development environment hosted entirely in a browser, lowering the barriers for web developers to jump into mobile development.
I am incredibly excited to see the beta release of Project Ares which has been developed by Matt McNulty and his top notch developers at Palm. I am honored to be working with them.
This project is so exciting as the team has managed to kill a couple of birds with one stone. Creating webOS applications has always been simple for Web folk, but with the layout builder you have a UI up and running in an incredibly short order. I am also very proud that we put our money where our mouth is by developing our tools on the Web platform itself. All you need to get going is a Web browser.
The integration features are fantastic too. You can take your application and preview it live, run it in the emulator, or send it all the way to a device, right from the browser!
There are many great features:
Drag and drop Interface Builder
The UI builder is pretty great. It has a very rich layout system that shows how the constraints of a mobile environment allow you to make life a LOT easier for developers.
There are several layout panels that control how widgets are laid out:
- VBox Panel: The default behaviour. Widgets are laid out in a vertical stack
- HBox Panel: Same as VBox but horizontally
- Absolute Panel: Position widgets exactly where you want them, but watch out for orientation and for supporting multiple screen sizes!
- Combining panels: You can recursively embed panels within panels to get you the advanced layout that you need
- Scroller: a special panel that will scroll (default is off)
- Drawer/Collapsable: show and hide internal content
Fancy a step through debugger? Now you have one. Easily and visually debug your code in real-time.
I am also proud that Ares uses the Bespin code editor, and this is the first time we have seen the debugging integration at work. I want to thank the Bespin community for continuing to deliver a web based code editor and look forward to see that evolve along with Ares. I do want to make it crystal clear that Matt and his team did this work, as some will incorrectly surmise that Ben and I went over to Palm to do this, and we didn’t. We are incredibly supportive of the work that Matt and his team have done though and love working with them.
webOS has a log system and the built in log viewer is fantastic.
It is important to be able to get your files in and out of cloud based editors, and VCS support is available with more coming.
One click access to a lot
Create a new project. Create a new scene in an application. All available from a click in the browser.
Drag and drop file upload
The bottom left area can be a zone for you to upload a file and have it zoom to the cloud.
Because webOS is a Web runtime based on WebKit and V8, and the Mojo framework sits on top of it, you can preview your applications just in a Web browser. Think about that for a sec ;) We don’t mock out the services…. but you can get your UI just right, and when you are ready you can quickly deploy to the webOS emulator or device!
Can you tell I am excited? I know how Web developers need better tools, and I think this is a great one for mobile development. This is just the beginning too. There are many features that will make life even easier for us developers. In fact, if you have suggestions please join us for a chat!.
Finally, check out how well the app runs. It has surpassed my performance expectations, especially considering how rich the feature set is. Ben and I created Bespin to see if the Web was ready for a desktop class application of that nature. Ares has stepped up and gone even further to prove what the Web can do. I have a great feeling about 2010 as we see the fruits of browser innovation, increased support of HTML5 features, and great work that you all do.
Disclosure: Ben and I work for Palm :)