Category Archives: Ajax

iWebwag for iPhone is out ! RSS reader, tweet, widget and more….

We’ve been quite silent the past monthes, because one of the big project was the launch of our iPhone app, iWebwag! iWebwag is a full widget engine for iPhone, with a very powerfull RSS reader and sharing capacities trough email or Tweeter. Go to our app page description to have a nice overview of the features, but here are a few screen shot of this App. One of the cool feature is the “exposé mode”, where you see all your pages in a single view:

This is a page view. Note that each widget can have different size, choosed by the user:

And now the great news reader:



Snapshots of incoming Webwag Mobile V2 version

Webwag’ve got a new CEO, Stephane Labrunie, coming for IPlay, that’s the first news. The second one is some snapshots of the new incoming V2 version:

Creating widget is still incredibely simple: a few XML lines, a little bit of JavaScript, and you have your mobile widget ready to be deployed! More tutorials will come shortly, but you have some of them on Webwag blog.

Check also the Official Webwag blog.

Mobile Widgets: a comprehensible tutorial

trans_tuto.jpgInterested in creating mobile widgets? Just check our latest tutorial on how to simply create and deploy mobile widgets using Webwga platform using standard and easy to learn technologies, like XML and JavaScript.

Yes, Webwag is since some monthes compliant with JavaScript (in fact a subset of JavaScript), but this make very easy for any Web developer who know a little bit XML/JavaScript to write great mobile widget.

The tutorial describe how to create a translator widget, using a web service and some Ajax techniques. And we’ve just opened the Developers corner on the forum, so support will be given to all our developers.

Webwag Mobile V1 announced

Might be already old news for some of you, but I’ve forgot to put it on my blog, so here it is: we have released Webwag V1 version. The official news is here: Webwag mobile V1 release, API is open!

Here is a non exhaustive list of new features you will find in this release . And we are heavily working on other improvment on other part (web and…?), that will be out very soon!

  • End user space
    • Faster: We increased start speed, network accesses, widgets opening by a factor from 5 to 10
    • Automagic widgets arrangement: Now widgets can be automatically arranged while you move them with no need for pixel adjustment (the old free mode remains availab
    • 140 handset models: We’ve grown the handsets compatibility from around 10 to 150 over many new brands. We’ll showcase some of them on this blog in the coming weeks
    • Parlez-vous Français? You’ll be happy to learn that Webwag mobile now detects your language and is available in French. Many other languages will come.
    • Link to original article in Blog posts: You can now view a mobile adapted version of the web site’s article page for any information (RSS) feed.
    • More room for Widgets. The bottom bar has been replaced by two elegant soft keys, giving even more room to widgets.
    • New widgets including eBay, French Traffic conditions (very useful these days), a new discovery from mobile…
    • Many many bug fixes…
  • Developers: A new shiny Javascript API is available at api.webwag.com that makes it easier than ever for any web and mobile developer to create widgets using a standard subset of Javascript, XML and other standard oriented tools.
  • Brands and content owners: Webwag mobile is a very addictive and simple way to create a positive relationship with end users by giving them a useful service linked to a brand or a specific content. You can contact us at partnerships@webwag.com for more information on how to mobilize and monetize your brand and content in the Webwag mobile ecosystem

So let’s talk a little bit about the developer part: yes, now the scripting languge is a subset of JavaScript. So need to learn a new language. So new, you can have an object orientation for the script, this will simplyfy some form, especially for callback, as function can be associated to objects:

var myObj=new Object();
myObj.showMe=function(){
alert("Hello World:");
}

myObj.showMe();
is now a valid code. So check the api.webwag.com for more info (and do not forget to register to have access).

We also added a lot of functionalities for developer, like the ability to create “form” for better input parameter.

We will prepare some tutorial and samples in the coming weeks….

Update: The http://api.webwag.com does not require anymore you to register…

9 Month later: is Yahoo pipes a success?

Microsoft Popfly has been publicly released two weeks ago, I’ve played a little bit with it: very impressive graphically, but it’s hard to do something really useful beyond the usual “get flickr pictures and show them in a cool way…”…

I was wondering is it because of the limitation of such tool, or because I’ve just not see them. So I made a little bit of research on Yahoo!Pipes.
 First, I must admit that even if less impressive graphically, Yahoo!Pipes seems much more useful at a first step. Maybe it’s more programmer oriented, but connection and the rest seems easiest to manage.
But then, I’ve tried to find some  interesting pipes: I’ve been through the list of Pipes, and hardly find something really useful. The most used pipe seems to be the ‘del.icio.us flavored web search”, by PashaSadri, which was run 45610 times. The second one, Badger, has been run 25654 times….

But for a so visible service like Pipes, by one of the top three internet companies, seems relatively low numbers, especially regarding the excitement generated at the launch time.

But the worst thing, is that it’s quite hard to find really useful stuff. Two options:

  • It’s not possible to do “real” innovative things using such technology
  • Service did not found his users yet. It’s just a question of time (and eventually user interface), and Microsoft Popfly could eventually take over this space.

My guess, it’s a little bit of the two: users don’t really interested by these, they already have plenty of tools, to do search, etc…So what is the value (fort them) to spend time to learn such thing?

Widgets creation made magic….

Beginning of this year, Webwag introduced the “Wod”,or Widget On Demand, that allows you to create a Widget on any web site. The process was quite easy, but it’s now even easiest, thanks to Webwag FireFox extension: a click and you’re done…How? Install the toolbar, find a site you love but don’t have widget? Press “Create a Wod button”, select the area you want and click “Done”…That’s all….You now have a new widget! There are of course limitation, but in most of the site, it works perfectly. Demonstration:

A wod in two steps

Go to your favorite website (example: http://boursorama.fr)
Press “Create a Wod” in the Webwag button and select the area you are interested in:

Then press ok, and….miracle, the widget is on Webwag:

And this works for many different site, including live site: the update is done real time. Try it yourself!

The extension contains also other features, like the ability to add directly an RSS stream from a page.

Final reminder: the tool bar is here

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Facebook (iPhone) widget for Webwag!

Webwag is a small team, but very reactive! We already have the equivalent of the iPhone widget available on webwag, look:

How to do it? Just go to your webwag factory, and add an HTML container, and in this container, put the following code:
<iframe xsrc=”http://iphone.facebook.com” mce_src=”http://iphone.facebook.com” height=400 width=350 />

and that’s it…..

Yes, that is just embeeding the iPhone version of the Facebook site on Webwag, but this one is optimized for small screen, so it fit very well to be embeeded in a startpage like Webwag. I expect so to see more of these site optimized for mobile browsing, and then, these site will be easily embeeded in pages like Webwag. That’s an interesting side effect of the iPhone hype.
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Creating your own mobile widget: part 1

As discussed earlier, our SDK is open to third party developers. To get it, just drop us an email at feedback@webwag.com .

It’s very easy to create your own mobile widget, with very little code. If you are a web widget developer, you will be familiar rapidely with mobile widget.

So let’s dig into a widget, and let’s see how we can create one very easily

A widget is made of two main part:

  • an XML description of the UI
  • a script, which contains the behavior of the widget.

Let’s start with the clock, which is one of the easiest one, and let’s jump directly into the source of the widget (source code is here ):

The widget is enclosed into a “widget” tag, and the first part contains the UI description:
- image tells the engine that there is an image to display, and the url of the image is “clock.png”. By default, URL will be relative to the source file of the widget itself.
- then, to “poly‘ elements. Poly are polygons (but limited to three points for now) that are displayed on screen. cx and cy define the center of the polygon relative to the origin of the widget, and poly contains the x,y pair of points that define the login. Here we have three point (p1={0,0},p2={0,0],p3={20,0}) which is basically a line.
borderColor define the border color of that polygon.
The last item, is a non visible one: timer, and this element will just call a callback at a specified interval , in that case, at every 200/10 seconds, so every 20 seconds….


the script is quite easy:
- a function (onTimerFired) and a “main” part which just call that function.

Note that onTimerFired will be the default function called by the timer element. The content of the function is simple:
time() return the current time in the form DD/MM/YY ss:mm, like 07/07/2007 13:12
then explode will convert this string in an array, using the space as a spearator.
So timeArr[3] will contains 13:12
Next line, 13:12 is then exploded once again and put in another array, so hour[0] will contains 13 while
hour[1] whil contains 12.

The next two line, just set the angle properties of the two polygons created earlier. nameCl and hourCl are
the name used in the definition of these polygons, so now the script can refer to them directly.

We could access to most of the attributes of the UI elements directly, like hourCl.cx=13 our minCl.borderColor=”0xFF0000″

So as you see, with less then 10 lines of code, we have created a nice looking analog clock running on most of the mobile devices….

More tutorial and full documentation are availables on our devleoper pages…..

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Widget week in London summary

Last week was “Mobile Widget week” in London, with what seems to be a nice Mobile Monday about widgets. I was not here, but here is a list of related links to this event:

This one is not directly related to this mobile widget week, but as usual, techtype haves some strong views, which are most of the time very interesting. And I really like the title!

Webwag mobile Beta open: experiment true mobile widgets today!

Want to test the new Webwag mobile extension? Then go to http://beta.webwag.com and use your webwag account (or create one!).

There only are few handsets officially supported (N70, K750, K800, LG Chocolote, Sagem My800x) but should work on more handsets, just try it, and let us know the results.

  1. Register and create your webwag account
  2. Add the widgets you like in your page
  3. Add them into your “mobile screen”. To open your mobile screen, click on the “mobile” icon on the top left, or click on the “mobile” icon on the existing box.
  4. “save and install” will send you an installation SMS that you should receive within minutes with a link to download it on your mobile. On most of the handsets, the link will be selectable within the SMS. On some handsets (like the LG, Motorola) you can use this link from a specific menu from the SMS message.

If you have problems receiving the SMS, let us now

Feedback, issue, just email us at: feedback@webwag.com

Faq:

* Are all widgets available from Web and mobile?

No, only a subset of existing widgets are today available on mobile:

  • RSS
  • Flickr
  • Email
  • Note
  • Weather
  • Clock
  • Background

* Is it the same widget running on web wand mobile?

The widgets use the same data, but are different, because of size issue.

* But why not having just a web browser running these mobile widgets?

Because first, technically very few handset have the capacities to run complex widgets within browser, and also because we think that usage are different from web and mobile.

* Do you plan to support more handsets?

Of course, we are already working on this.

* Waow, sounds so cool, how can I participate and create my own widget?

The SDK is not yet public, but just email us and we will notify you when ready (feedback@webwag.com)

JavaFX : the missed opportunity from Sun

Sun officially launched today “JavaFX” (previously know as F3). It’s a scripting language that could be used to easily create rich content application for Java powered device.
This seems to be the Sun’s answer to Apollo and SilverLight, from Microsoft. Honestly, the answer is a little bit disapointing

  • One more language! The language itself, is nothing really fancy. No major killing feature, not as dynamic as Ruby for instance, and not close enough to other “standards” like Javascript or Java. So why create another language, while there are so many?
  • Integration, deployment: I take a look at the first sample and libraries. The library is something between 1 and 2 meg, on top of a standard JavaVM (JavaSE!). So, it’s huge. That’s one of the big weaknesses of Java today: the runtime is already so big, the installation so long, but worst, the starting time once everything has been installed.
  • Target: mobile. Sun claims that it’s a good candidate for mobile application. Of course, it’s the next battlefield. But honestly, JavaFX is way too big to fit on existing mass market devices or any existing J2me implementation, so it needs to be embedded natively probably. I do not beleive that JavaFX mobile will be a serious candidate in the next 18 months, too early.
  • Why not pushing further SVG? SVG is the current standard in vector graphics (and Flash is the de-facto standard). So why not push more SVG, by creating a better binding with SVG and Java, and/or Javascript?

So I do not believe that JavaFX will be big. It’s another missed opportunity from Sun to reinvent themselves. They had a widely deployed VM, that had the “network is the computer vision”, and now they desperately trying to follow on the RIA…Ajax is an intermediate technology, soit’s a fantastic opportunity to create something really new, Microsoft and Adobe are on the train, and Sun still trying to jump in…

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Orange will also launch his own startpage

Orange is also preparing the launch of his own startpage. Created buy Orange R&D Labs of San Francisco, BubbleTop will be the latest entrant in this market. Highlight are on search and sharing (this sounds familiar to me…).Welcome guys to the sartpage land! BubbleTop is the new name of their previously secret project, “dimsu”. Still not public, so we have to wait a couple of week to have a better view of the features, but it’s a clear sign (if it was needed) of the importance of startpage for information ogranisation.
I am always surprised by the fact the operator does not use the asset that they haves, like address book, to create more applications for the end user. Adress book synchronisation could be a killer feature with a social networking web application. Sim could be used to store some of your web indentity so you can take it with you…..

More one “Le Blog de Bezier” (French)

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Mobile Widgets: soon a reality!

Here are the first screenshots of the first result of the Mobease/Webwag acquisition: Webwag mobile, a full mobile widget engine….Beta just started on a small number of handsets, but more to come.
This engine haves mobile Ajax capacities, scripting, OTA update, and much more…..


I will soon write more about the technical details of the engines, as the API will be totally free and open, so developper can write real mobile and web widgets, that can be accessed from anywhere…

MobileWidgets are moving fast: Mobease acquired by Webwag!

 Seems that mobile widget is a really fast moving area. Our first product (MobiFindIt!, a mobile search engine) has just been launched, and our second one, mobidget is not yet public (but you won’t have to wait too much) and we are already acquired! The happy owner of Mobease is Webwag, one of the actor of the start page space…

+ mobeaselogo_final_smal_logo.png

We were discussing, and even working together since some time, the WOD (Widget On Demand) being one of the first result of this great collaboration.
 I’ll will take the role of WebWag CTO. It’s a really interesting space, as we are one of the few company with a strong experience both in mobile and in Web technologies, Ajax, Web2.0, etc… But there is an incredible amount of work to be done, both for improving the current platform and adding all our cool new innovations.
  Widget are now increasingly popular, mobile widget are on the same trends too, the launch of the iPhone increased a lot the visibility on this space. Technically speaking, there are a lot of challenges, both on web and mobile (Ajax and his challengers like Flash, RDA, Mobile Ajax, etc….) that show that there are a lot of open possibilities.
  But more than technology used to achieve this, widget and personnal page are in my view the best example of web and mobile integration, where user can access to the same data from various devices. The usage (of these devices) will be different, but they all provide an ubiquitous access to your personnal datas and area of interest.
As you guess, the integration of mobease technologies (Mobile Search, Mobile Widget) will provides a superior user experience when combined with the Web.

  I will also speak as a Webwag representent at the next Benchmark conference on the Web2.0 this Tuesday in Paris.

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Widgets and GPS…

uLocate just launched a couple of days ago “Where.com“. Exciting concept – great domain name- , mixing two of the fast growing area of interests in mobile phone: LBS/GPS application, and Widgets.
Widgets seems to be mainly “HTML based”, but looks good. The bad thing for now, it’s running only on Sprint.
Anyway, I liked the concept and I believe that “Location aware Widget” will be a killing category in future mobile widget space.

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Mobile Widgets: Bling Software at Demo07

Another interesting demo from Demo07 was the BlingSoftware presentation. Bling software is another new entrant into the mobile widget space. They are only on brew for now, and the position themselves as provider of the “First Ajax Client for Mobile Handset” (which is wrong by the way). But I am a little bit doubtful about such positioning. Ajax (or any other technology) is just an enabler. The Demo07 presentation was mainly showing that by changing an URL in a text file, packaging it into a software and downloading it into a Brew phone, you then have access to this picture (or video) from the phone.
Read like this, does not seems a big deal. The fact is that what happens in the background was much more complex than this (a JavaScript interpreter running on a phone as a brew app for instance) but they scenario of the demo did not captured this in my view. Doing demos is an hard job, but I am not sure that others would have done better….

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Is Adobe Apollo better than Ajax? (applications back to desktop!)

 May be you’ve heard the buzz about the Apollo project from Adobe. Basically, it’s a desktop framework that allows the execution of  applications in a machine independant mode, and provide access to local ressources of the computer (mainly filesystem). The objective is to be able to use Web applications in a non connected mode (local) for various reseaons (speed, availability of network, etc…). This is also called RDA (Rich Desktop Application )

The first remark, is that it sounds very similar to the initial objective of Java, 10 years ago! A machine independant VM, internet oriented, etc… especially with automatic upgrade features that are now parts of JavaWebStart. I am always surprised by the way industry always “re-create” the same things again and again. The good thing is that each iteration is better than previous one, but now, after the “everything is on the browser”, we are back to “local applications”. Sun had the lead some years ago, but was totally unable to drive and support the market.

About the framework, himself, there is not yet so many information, but I am afraid that it’s just a good repackaging of a local Flash player with PDF and an HTML component…Nothing really exciting, but Adobe is very good at creating the right buzz  and as always, got great designers that create apps with the right waoow effect. The positive side is that Ajax/HTML are not really good technologies to build rich UI, they are just hacks, so it’s time to have something better. Not sure that Adobe will bring something better, but the fact is that there are not so many alternatives yet. Microsft is polishing is WPF framework (ok, not polishing but starting) so Adobe may have a timing advantage here.

But I have a few remarks:

- This is not standard. By developping an Apollo application, you rely on Adobe as the only provider of a technology. You can not provide your own Apollo implementation for specific devices, like mobile phones for instance. It’s a step back from the internet open standards.

- Full offline capacities won’t be for Ajax/HTML: I am quite sure that the offline capacities will only be available for Flash/Flex application. In other word, an existing Ajax/HTML based application won’t be able to run offline , or just as the equivalent of a “save as” mode, unless it will be rewritten. So do not expect to “port” your existing application now. It’s the best way to push you to adopt Flash/Flex.

- Is JavaScript/ActionScript the right language? JavaScript is a nice language, but is it adapted to develop full applications? Remember that in a RIA, most of the application logic will reside locally while now you can have part of this logic – especially the complex one – on the server side. So suddenly you will haves thousands if not more lines of code in pure JavaScript. Was already hard to manage on the internet, might be harder with RIA? ActionScript, which is ECMA based, seems more mature than pure JavaScript, but also incompatible….

My last remark (and linked to the first one) is that on mobile for once are not to far away. The availability of Ajax enabled browsers was limited (read non existant), so all rich applications are made using this kind of concept through J2ME, FlashLite, native, etc…and framework (like Mobease Widget one) are built on top of these technologies.

As I’ve previously explained, mobile is most of the time more about synchronisation than browsing (for mails, address, news, etc…) and such locally running app with connected capacities are the best answers.

That’s why Apollo go into the right direction even if there is still a lot of weaknesses in the approach, so let’s see how others react – Microsoft is doing WPF . Is there any attempt from the opensource community to propose something like this? OpenLaszlo? FireFox with XUL?

Note: during the preparation of this note, I’ve discovered “SideWinder“, which seems to be a project that attempt to build a framework for connected/non connected internet application. Seems highly interesting, but also not very mature as I was not able to run a single demo…

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First Microsoft application for J2me!

Microsoft just released “Windows Live for mobile“, and as far as I know, it’s the first time that Microsft release a J2me Application! (but don’t worry, there is a Windows Mobile app too)


Windows logo on J2me device! :-)

So support for J2me seems quite limited (see my full report on the mobile mapping blog), but it’s rare enough to be noticed.

In summary:
- not yet as polished as Google map
- Still some porting issue (menu keys)
- map download (when working) is quite fast and works well
- some good and interesting UI ideaes….

As expected, the long term war will be one services, and not applications…The underlying language/OS is not very relevant, and I expect to see more Microsoft application on J2me, or in other platforms (Flash, Symbian, etc…).

This is Mobile2.0!

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