What is really Yahoo!GO 3.0 SDK?

Finally, we had a chance yesterday to access to Yahoo!Go 3.0 SDK. As a frequent reader of this blog, you should know that Widgets is a favorite topic, so I was curious and excited about achivement of Yahoo!Go 3.0 and his SDK.

The home screen is really good, looks great. Very nice theme, with a background image and a caroussel of “widgets”. Things become bad you start to dig into the content. In fact, what is Yahoo!Go3.0 is very similar to Yahoo!Go 2.0: an enhanced browser to the yahoo content. All pages are similar to wap page, but with some improvment in the navigation. There is however some specific part that have some higher capacitities, like the “map” part which contains a GoogleMap type navigation.What really kills the experience is that the answer to every keypress (and I’ve tested this on an N95, which is usually a very fast phone) takes too much time!

So now , let’s look at the widget part and the SDK: in fact, what is promoted as “widgets” is in fact some enhanced xml/wap pages created with the “BluePrint” language. The good thing is that pages can be easily integrated within the Yahoo!Go content, and can also benefit from the integrated advertising feature.

So Yahoo!Go 3.0 is more or less an enhanced mobile browser without Ajax capacities, and these widget are XML component that can be part of the page. One of the benefit of such basic approach is that these “widgets”, can be deployed even on simple Wap/xHtml pages. The bad thing, is that it’s quite impossible to do “real widget”: very little interaction possible between the application and the user, no local caching, no access to phone features…. Seems like a step back in the times “before ajax”. Does it really make sens to build a download app if you just provides a browsing experience?

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CTO Handbook — How to care for and feed your CTO

A great piece of reading  (discovered through AboutMobility weblog): CTO Handbook — How to care for and feed your CTO
He defined three types of CTO:

  • The Technical Founder – the person that wrote the code that got the
    company off the ground. Has sweated to give the alpha/beta/product life
    and as a result any criticisms are effectively received/interpreted as
    “Your baby is ugly! Now where’s your Corn Flakes so I can piss in them
    too!” Is never far from code.
  • The Visionary – sometimes seen as the flake without any “real”
    deliverables. Is never far from a whiteboard. Can write code but
    shouldn’t.
  • The Figure Head – parachuted in, probably did or was associated with
    something impressive in a semi-related industry. Doesn’t know most of
    the company but is on a first name basis with most flight crew. Is
    never far from PowerPoint.

The next game, just like CEO is doing, is then to think which part of these description fit in your profile!

Yahoo opens his mobile widget SDK

According to Techcrunch, Yahoo is the latest entrant in the mobile widget race. Basically, the “big” part of Yahoo!Go 3.0 is the support of widget, and the availability of an SDK for developpers.

So it will be interesting to see this. Yahoo!Go was already huge and slow, so let’s hope that 3.0 won’t be too big this time.

It’s also interesting to notice that MyYahoo does not seems to allow (unless I’ve missed something) third party widget development, while Yahoo!Go mobile allows it…. ;-)

Let’s wait tommorow, and “a few weeks”, to get an access to the SDK. In the meantime, if you want to experiment mobile widget now, don’t forget to check webwag: http://webwag.com/mobile and http://api.webwag.com

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Mobile Widget roundup

Last week was “LeWeb3” week, with several interesting announces around widgets.

First, Goojet, the last entrant in that space announced his beta at the event.

Orange also showed an iPhone version of there own portal, BubbleTop, and a preview of their mobile client. Nice UI but not yet available….

Also, some first info about the future iPhone Webwag version. Here is a short video (in French):



This version is in beta test, more to come soon!

Androïd and the iPhone?

Would it make sense for Google to provide an Androïd version for the iPhone? Of course, not the complete stack, but just the development framework. Most of the people and especially developers don’t really care about the full stack, but about the interesting part which is of the development framework, as long as it’s well integrated with the rest of the phone.
I am not an Androïd expert, but it seems possible for me to adapt this on the iPhone.

Why:

  • It could be the first Androïd platform
  • It could provide an easy way to develop applications for the iPhone
  • This would solve one of the fragmentation issue

Why not:

  • Because Apple don’t want it?
  • Because Google don’t want it?
  • The google and Apple gadget are not the same. They both choosen different look and feel for the UI (which is understandable). So which one should we choose for an Androïd on IPhone?
  • It might be not possible to reach the same level of integration between the application framework and the core system.

This seems possible to me from the technical point of view. First, google could do it. If it’s not Google, some external developer could do it. Of course, we don’t have detailled spec of Google Dalik VM, but it’s not a big issue: we could use an open source JavaVM, and just run some plain Java Code with the Android Framework? It seems that people already started to work on standard VM  porting, with this VM porting on iPhone. A good first step, but Androïd on an iPhone could be the toy of 2008 for developprs…

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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…

Two extraordinay iPhone apps…

Just played with these two great apps, showing the potential of the iPhone and especially the multitouch screen and the accelerators.
The first one is in fact a multi touch demo, quite simple, from cedsoft: it allows to play with a satellite picture and zoom it, move it and rotate it. You could say that GoogleMap is already doing it on the iPhone, but the rotation add a lot of novelty. It pave the way to more complex application, like photo editing tools, or productivity tools with a different UI.

To install it, use the http://prog.cedsoft.free.fr/ repository

The second one is iPhysics (a port of CrayonPhysics). It’s a very simple idea, but hard to describe. The objective is to push a ball to a certain place, but based on physics interaction. You can not move the ball directly, but you can create object by just drawing them on screen, and then these object interacts with the world. Very addictive and innovative
.

To add it, just add this repository in the installer: http://iphone.r4m0n.net/repos

Some remarks:

  • Hopefully the iPhone has been unlocked, and will be soon officially. Without this, I think that such app would have been really hard to exist
  • Sometime, it’s good to exit from the “Ajax” reign. It would have been if not impossible quite difficult to create these app with a browser only.
  • The development chain for iPhone is -in my view- way too complicated! So I give full respect to these early pionner, but I would like to see an easy way to develop complex app for iPHone. I think that Java would have been the best candidate for this. I am dreaming of an Androïd port for iPhone…

There is a lot of potential for iPhone games, thanks to the combination of nice things:

  • multi touch screen
  • portable device
  • High surface screen
  • Connectivity
  • Sensor
  • Camera

For instance, I am dreaming (or hoping that people will port it) some of this games:

  • Catapult , a game originally created for the Gizmondo, a cool augmented reality game
  • Some nice billard game
  • A marble madness port with acclerometer


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First thought on Android

So Google finally released not a gPhone, but a development platform: Androïd. I’ve spent some – little – time to play with it, and here are my thougt:

- As a user it’s obviously much better and polished UI than Symbian or Windows Mobile. But in the iPhone days, it’s quite poor. The most annoying thing is the usage of menus, on a touch screen. The menus are not visible once closed, and does not seem to have a way to open them just with the touch screen.

- As a developer, it’s both very cool, and a nightmare: very cool, because the Java API seems quite complete and useable, there are some nice UI effects and it facilitate the integration of applications within the phone, and a nightmare because this is now a new platform to support. It’s not J2ME compatible, but supports partially some JSR.
Let me summarize the development landscape these days. We have:

  • XHTML/Wap family
  • the iPhone mobile browsing familiy
  • the iPhone native/ObjectiveC
  • Symbian
  • Windows Mobile
  • FlashLite
  • and of course J2ME

and now we can add Androïd with probably native/C++ Androïd and Java Androïd. Not sure that we should thank Google for this one!

What are Androïd chances of being successful?

Can the OpenHandsetAlliance make the difference? In the mobile industry, we probably have more consortium than an any other industry. Consortium for handsets, for platforms, for games,…. But usually, once a consortium is created, it’s the beginning of the end: most of them never released something interesting.

Can the applications make the difference? I am sure that you can easily create very cool and powerful application with Androïd. But I also see many great application on windows mobile or Symbian (and it’s probably 10 times more difficult to create them on these devices) but very few of them reach a critical mass.

Can Google make the difference? Of course, it’s backed up by Google but this could be a good or a bad thing. More and more people in the mobile industry are afraid of Google power. Third tier manufacturer, some Taiwanese and Korean will probably deliver a few Androïd devices, but is it enough to capture the market?

So, let’s wait and see. This sounds more the equivalent of Microsoft first attempts on mobile: not as good as it should be, but with deep pockets, you can afford several attempts before being succesful.

You can also check Fred post on Android 

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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?

iPhone ‘not so open’ SDK?

So Apple announced the availability of the iPhone SDK for February next year.

Seems to be a good news, but a few sentences makes me feel unconfortable: there is a big paragraph about virus, malware and so on :

“There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network.”

I don’t think that there are such virus yet (I know that on Symbian phones, there are some Bluetooth viruses), so why are they putting so much empathis on this? It seems the “good reason” to block third party developpers:

We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

Let me guess: if you want to deploy on an IPhone, you will have to be “Apple Certified” developper? Or may be “Operator Certified”? We are back to the good old security issue on mobile, where independent third party application will be so restricted that it will be impossible to make it run on a mobile.
 May be I’m wrong, but wait and see…
On the same topic, read Russel Beatties “Third Party Applications on the iPhone…Translated

Webwag seed funding announced…

We’ve finally announced the seed funding of Webwag that was kept silent since some time. The press release is here.

And finally, Techcrunch finally made a reference to us (ok, Techchrunch fr only but better than nothing).

Also, we’ll be in the states in the coming weeks, in the bay area: for the Web2.0 Summit,  and WidgetSummit conference, Mobile2.0 Event where we are speaker, and at the CTIA where will be announcing (let’s cross fingers) some interesting things.

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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