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New books explore Palm Pre and WebOS

Aug 13, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

O'Reilly has published two books about the Palm Pre and its Linux-based WebOS operating system. Palm CTO Mitch Allen's Palm webOS shows how to build native JavaScript applications for WebOS, while Ed Baig's Palm Pre: The Missing Manual offers a thorough tutorial on the smartphone itself.

Palm webOS is billed as the official guide to JavaScript development for WebOS. It covers design principles, architecture, UI, tools, and services, including the Mojo JavaScript framework and Palm's SDK, says O'Reilly.

Authored by Allen with the help of the Palm WebOS development team, the book explores the WebOS software development kit (SDK), which was released last month, and is said to have been downloaded by tens of thousands of developers. The tutorials require some familiarity with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, said to be all the tools needed to build applications for the Palm Pre (pictured below), as well as future WebOS-based devices.

Readers can follow the tutorials to build a working mobile application, as well as learn how to extend existing web apps with WebOS, says the publisher.

Topics covered in the book include:

  • Overview of the WebOS platform and architecture
  • Critical concepts for application design, including key differences from other web and mobile platforms
  • Mojo development tools and SDK for building and testing mobile applications
  • Best practices, important considerations, and guiding principles for developing with WebOS and the Mojo framework

Previous to being named CTO of Software at Palm, Inc., where he was said to be the key developer behind WebOS, Mitch Allen worked in various positions for the company over eight years, and built and led the software team at Handspring that conceived and developed the Treo smartphone, says O'Reilly.

"We're at a significant moment in the evolution of computing," said Allen in a statement. "A key driver of the mobile web will be the new applications that can be built on webOS and other web-enabled platforms like it. These applications are 'smart' applications that can access data anytime and anywhere, and interpret that data by the user's personal information and preferences."

Palm Pre: The Missing Manual

While Mitch Allen is handling WebOS for O'Reilly in Palm webOS, USA Today personal-technology columnist BaigEd Baig covers the Palm Pre hardware in Palm Pre: The Missing Manual. The full-color book shows power users how to get the most out of the Palm Pre, including tips on web browsing, music and video, picture viewing, email, and more, its publisher says.

Topics covered in the book include:

  • Touchscreen tricks, including tapping, swiping, dragging, flicking, and pinching
  • Exploring the Pre's synchronization features, with tips on linking contacts, merging calendars, combining email accounts, and more
  • Getting the most out of the phone and organizer
  • Tips on mail, texting, chatting, and web browsing
  • Mastering the media center to store, sort, play, stream music and video, and sync with iTunes

  • Taking and viewing photos, and importing images

Coming soon: Palm Pre for Dummies

According to the technology site Everything Pre, the "For Dummies" series is publishing a book by Engadget's associate mobile editor Chris Zeigler called Palm Pre for Dummies. The book is scheduled for publication on October 19, and will sell for $16.50, says the site.


Mitch Allen's 456-page Palm webOS: The Insider's Guide to Developing Applications in JavaScript using the Palm Mojo Framework is available now for $45, or $28 for the ebook version, says O'Reilly. More information may be found here.

Ed Baig's 287-page Palm Pre: The Missing Manual will be available in August, according to the O'Reilly site, although Everything Pre says the expected publishing date is now Sept. 2. The price is $25, or $20 for the ebook version, says O'Reilly. More information may be found here.

Chris Zeigler's Palm Pre for Dummies, published by the For Dummies series, will be available in October for $16.50. More information may be found on Amazon, where it is available for pre-order, here.

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