Enyo’s Out of Beta – but Will Devs Give it Love?

HP brought Enyo — the open source object-oriented JavaScript framework for webOS — out of beta this week, six months after the ill-fated operating system was contributed to the open source community.

Enyo 2.0 now has a community of developers, a broad set of cross-platform user interface widgets, and a layout library for building apps that work across all form factors, from mobile phones to desktops.

Announced in November of 2010, Enyo replaced Palm’s Mojo application framework, which was also created in the JavaScript language. HP purchased Palm in 2010.

HP might be wasting its efforts, though, because “a hardware company like HP should be selling a solution, not an OS,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told LinuxInsider.

Enyo 2’s So Sick

More than 50 add-on libraries and plugins have been added to the Enyo Community Gallery since January. Enyo 2 has several new user interface widgets in the Onyx library, including “Menu,” “Picker,” “Tooltip” and “More Toolbar.”

Enyo 2 offers Tier 1 support to the latest versions of Google Chrome, Firefox Safari, and Internet Explorer 8 and 9 for the desktop.

For the mobile platform, Tier 1 platforms are stock versions of Android 2.3 and 4; the Kindle Fire; and the latest version of iOS from 5 up. Open webOS support is slated for the future.

Earlier versions of Android and webOS, as well as the BlackBerry OS, are among the platforms slated for Tier 2 support.

Enyo 2 Sampler, a new app, lets users browse interactive samples of all the UI controls and view their source code within it.

The Enyo team has implemented a new contributor signoff process inspired by the Linux Foundation’s kernel contribution process so it can accept larger code contributions while keeping the codebase Apache 2.0-compatible.

Apps Without Frontiers, Work Without Tears

Enyo 2 was rewritten from the ground up to enable cross-platform development, supporting mobile and desktop browsers from iOS to IE8. However, its focus is on mobile devices.

“Enyo is a good JavaScript/HTML 5 framework,” Sam Abadir, chief technology officer at appMobi, told LinuxInsider.

There’s “increasingly strong demand for frameworks as developers learn how to write hybrid apps — native apps where the core is written in HTML 5 or JavaScript,” he explained.

“Many of the most popular native apps — such as Netflix, Facebook, The New York Times, and almost all of Google’s and Yahoo’s apps — are almost entirely coded in HTML 5 and have a thin native wrapper. JavaScript frameworks are becoming increasingly important so that every developer doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

HTML 5 is getting strong support from Apple, Google and Microsoft, but “all HTML 5 platforms aren’t the same,” Enderle said. “Until they are, developers will likely focus on the operating systems that are selling well rather than try to figure out which version of HTML 5 will prevail.”

Although HP “did a good job with [Enyo], it’s fairly complex to use, and I think that will severely limit its adoption,” he suggested.

The Ghost of webOS Past

HP took a beating with its TouchPad tablets running webOS. It ended up pulling TouchPads and its webOS smartphones off retailers’ shelves, only to see a mini-boom in TouchPad sales as geeks purchased them for US$100 to run Android on them.

HP’s troubles with webOS might come back to haunt it.

“In the end, customers buy solutions, not platforms,” Enderle remarked.

“[HP] failed with their tablets and phones, setting an example that could scare potential licensees [of Enyo] away,” he noted. “If HP can’t justify creating a solution with a platform it owns, it’s doubtful anyone else can through licensing.”

HP declined to provide further details.

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

Related Stories
More by Richard Adhikari
More in Developers

LinuxInsider Channels