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Web and WebWorks Development

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Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK

Hi,

 a couple of months back ..into previous year on BBerry Version 5 there were talking about Web Widget Development.

 

Today WebWorks SDK is on the horizon for the tablet. I hear you can use WebWorks SDK on SmartPhones with version 6 also?!

 

So whats the future of Widget development?

 

Also, in WebWorks they leverage the Adobe AIR API. Does this mean WebWorks SDK Apps cannot use Java Objects (extensions) like Widgets? I know there is a JavaScrpt extension library ... but dues it allow extension to custom / native Java objects also?

 

Am totally confused!

 

Please clarify

thanks

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Re: Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK

Widget = WebWorks... it is simply re-branded Smiley Happy

 

WebWorks is available on the PlayBook and the Smartphone.  On the BlackBerry smartphone platform it leverages the underlying Java APIs for system level access and is available on BB OS 5.0 and above.  On the BlackBerry Tablet OS platform it leverages the underlying AIR APIs for system level access.

 

The only available underlying technology supported on the PlayBook platform at the moment is AIR.  There currently isn't any Java or Native functionality available.  

 

The full source code of the WebWorks framework for the PlayBook will also be uploaded into github so you can see how it is all put together.  Yes it can be extended on PlayBook as well, however by the time WebWorks comes out of beta, pretty much all of the available system functionality will be exposed as WebWorks APIs.

Tim Neil
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Re: Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK

Hey, Tim.

 

FWIW, I quote RIM in saying that, "...WebWorks is a framework...".  In other words, it includes not only the JavaScript APIs, but the JavaScript Extensions as well.  In our case, the extensions are of more importance than the JS API.

 

So we REALLY need to know what runtimes will be available on PlayBook and QNX.  Yes, Air is available now, but we just invested a lot of effort using the underlying Java runtime to develop our application on WebWorks for OS 5.0 and 6.0. 

 

While we like what we've heard about the PlayBook (haven't seen it), we don't want to make the investment to port all of our extensions to Air unless there is no future for Java on QNX.   If we port to Air, and RIM comes out with Java on QNX two weeks later, we waste a lot of time and effort.  So right now, we're frozen with regard to the PlayBook.

 

I don't expect you to respond here on the forum, but RIM must answer this question for developers soon:

 

What's the strategic runtime for QNX? And when (if ever), will additional runtimes be available?

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Re: Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK

We have revealed at DevCon Asia that there will be 4 available platforms for the BlackBerry PlayBook

 

1) Flash/AIR

2) WebWorks

3) Java

4) Native C++

 

I can understand that everyone's questions are both around "when" and "details"

 

Will WebWorks on PlayBook live in AIR as its underlying implementation forever??  that is probably something we would need to talk about offline under NDA since we have not publicly talked about our long term vision.

 

For the most part we are trying to make this decision not affect web developers building on the WebWorks platform considering the plumbing that makes it work is independent from the features we expose.

 

However, for those building frameworks on top of the technology, and/or extending its functionality these are critical questions.  

 

Let's setup some time to discuss these topics.

Tim Neil
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Re: Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK

Thanks Tim,

 that clarifies most of it. Though some concerns remain.

 

Namely, +1 on effort spent on Java side of things and the fact that the Java API and frameworks offer as good a backend support as any. Ofcourse AIR & supporting SWF files OOB would imply richer & faster UI's.

 

Surely if the JavaScript extensions use Java, then it automatically validate further use-cases and the need to support native developed objects by App developers. I understand a lot of the Web Workks API uses AIR API but it als uses Native Java API if Im not mistaken. I dont know if the added flexibility will also shoot BBerry in the foot!

 

If it is simply "Re Branding" then native Java Object extension should be available (as was before). Also I think WebWorks is build ground up with the new OS in mind. So am sure its morethan just re-branding.

 

..... At the bottom line, Ive never programmed on AIR and am a hard core Java + HTML/CSS, maybe a personal bias too Smiley Tongue ; though do let me know if any of my above concerns remain valid or kindly de-bunk them!

 

Appreciate all the help & clarification.

Retired
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Re: Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK

When I referred to it being simply a re-branding I was referring to the naming of "Widgets" vs "WebWorks".. We re-branded the name of the platform because we wanted to move away from the term "Widget" and give the technology a name of its own as a true platform option.

 

WebWorks is Widgets and Widgets is WebWorks Smiley Happy

 

We have now extended WebWorks/Widgets to the PlayBook.  WebWorks/Widgets is an abstraction layer on top of the underlying system functionality to allow for developers to build applications in Web technologies without having to think about the underlying platform implementation.

 

On a BlackBerry smartphone, the only underlying development platform is Java.

 

On a BlackBerry PlayBook, the only current underlying development platform is AIR

 

In order to provide the abstraction of WebWorks on top of these two platforms we needed to implement the underlying plumbing in the technology that is supported on the target platform.

 

So obviously the task of going under the sheets and extending the WebWorks framework itself requires different technologies that cannot be shared because of the raw underlying supported development platform.

 

Maintaining two separate code lines to provide the same functionality is definitely not desired, but it is what is currently required to provide an abstraction layer so that web developers can move between the Tablet and Smartphone.

 

As I listed above, there are more underlying platform options that are coming for the PlayBook.  As you can imagine, our development team would love to solidify on a single code base going forward into the future.  How this will all play out will be revealed in time.  There are many strategic reasons why we can't go over this in detail right now which unfortunately doesn't give you many answers.

 

Hopefully that further clarifies things

Tim Neil
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Re: Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK

I think this clarifies everything, and as a developer its perfectly reasonable to understand the issues.

I think too many revisions in the recent platforms though necessary also mean that developers are still catching up! .Unlike the android which is fairly new and also has a spanking architecture.

 

As a suggestion, it would be nice to publish stats someplace convenient about users of platforms that RIM supports. Like WebWorks over AIR & WebWorks over SDK, also which BBerry smart Phone platform People are using. I saw the pie charts, in the latest webinar PDF slides and was very happy to see most users are on OS 5. As a developer this gives me an advantage where to focus and what market to appease.

 

Thank you so much. I'll stop ranting now, I have what I need Smiley Happy

 

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Re: Widget SDK Vs WebWorks SDK