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Comments on: webOS Docs2Go In Early 2010?

D2G webOSOne of the key pieces that's been missing from the webOS puzzle is document editing capabilities. We've known since the January announcement of webOS that Palm and DataViz have been working together on this, and the OS already features simple document viewing. Unfortunately, it seems we may all have to hold our mobile-office horses for a little bit longer: DataViz have let us know that it's looking likely that the release may in fact be delayed until early 2010.

While the company had been hoping to push their webOS version of Documents To Go out the door by the end of this year, coordination with Palm on a potentially-necessary ROM update for webOS may hold up the whole shebang. Godspeed, Dataviz. We're counting on you. Interested users can sign up to notified of further information here.

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Need copy & paste before editing

jhoff80 @ 10/14/2009 1:33:35 PM # Q
While editing capabilities will be nice, the bigger thing that I could use right now would be the ability to copy and paste from documents into say an email or something. I know it's just a viewer, but I'd think that'd still be basic functionality in a viewer. I mean hell, you can do it in Adobe's PDF Viewer on the PC.
RE: Need copy & paste before editing
Tim Carroll @ 10/14/2009 2:17:18 PM # Q
Good point. It's been repeated by Pre owners ad nauseam, but I still find it utterly bizarre that webOS was released with such hopeless copy & paste abilities. It was still a step up from the iPhone launch, but not by much.

There's a lot to love about webOS mind you, but you couldn't think that c & p is that difficult to implement. Right?

I recall reading a Tweet from Palm that said Exchange security issues were holding things up. pretty poor excuse, IMO - almost as laughable as when Apple also cried "security issues".

Oh well. maybe it'll be fixed by the time my German pre arrives. :D

RE: Need copy & paste before editing
Gekko @ 10/14/2009 2:44:33 PM # Q

needs a "select all" too - among a lot more.
RE: Need copy & paste before editing
LiveFaith @ 10/14/2009 10:43:10 PM # Q
Is it just me, or have our new shiny gesture based OSes broken some amazing ground, only to forget to handle absolute bedrock functionality properly. Cut & paste absent from a modern OS is like designed the world's most advanced automobile and neglecting to put windows that roll up and down.

Bewildering. Especially from the same Palm (at least in name) that brought us the infamous "Clipboard Limit" in Palm OS. I think if I were designing the OS for my decade, then the first two goals on the list would be the clipboard limit and 4K memo limits.

Or maybe I'm just to old to be an early adopter?
Pat Horne

RE: Need copy & paste before editing
twrock @ 10/14/2009 11:32:10 PM # Q
LiveFaith wrote:
Cut & paste absent from a modern OS is like designed the world's most advanced automobile and neglecting to put windows that roll up and down.

Perfect! What a great picture. "But sir, you don't need to open your windows. We've installed a full time climate control system that decides for you when to turn on the AC or heater. It's the latest and greatest thing. Everyone prefers this new system."


Or maybe I'm just to old to be an early adopter?

You are probably too old to do much of anything. ;-)



Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

RE: Need copy & paste before editing
DarthRepublican @ 10/15/2009 12:17:41 PM # Q
Gekko wrote:

needs a "select all" too - among a lot more.

Select all was added in the 1.2 update.
Palm Apologist
Shouting down the PIC Faithful Since 2009
Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX->Palm Pre
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1->Palm Pre
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

RE: Need copy & paste before editing
jhoff80 @ 10/16/2009 10:04:24 AM # Q
Yes, but can't select anything in the document viewer.
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WebOS Docs to Go

Amroth @ 10/14/2009 2:07:20 PM # M Q
I wonder if a real Office Suite, cut and paste and who knows what else will be addressed in time for the Verizon release?
RE: WebOS Docs to Go
Tim Carroll @ 10/14/2009 2:18:53 PM # Q
Early 2010? Sounds about right...
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so much for easy app writing

Gekko @ 10/14/2009 2:41:52 PM # Q

where are all of the webOS apps? what's the hold up?
RE: so much for easy app writing
abosco @ 10/14/2009 5:10:19 PM # M Q
Ask Mike Con. He's the one who predicted that some super-duper-secret-awesome app would come out for the Pre because of how easy it is to do, leaving all other platforms in the dust.

I think it's safe to say he missed the mark.

RE: so much for easy app writing
Gekko @ 10/14/2009 5:37:06 PM # Q
RE: so much for easy app writing
bhartman34 @ 10/14/2009 10:31:11 PM # Q
While the number of apps available right now is less than impressive, looking at the Palm site for available apps and making a judgment on that basis is ill-advised, at best. I counted 56 apps on the page. That's roughly a third of what's available from the App Catalog, and less than a quarter of what the homebrew community has to offer.

Don't get me wrong. I'm For the most part, I haven't been wowed by what's been developed so far. The best functions are still in the core OS, for now. But that doesn't mean that's all there is to WebOS development. There have been stand-out things like command-line access and video recording. (I know video recording doesn't sound like much, but it's an ingenious trick, considering that the SDK doesn't even expose the function to developers.)

The point is, there's a lot of potential that's under the surface right now. The fact that developers have written things (in Mojo) that can access these hooks is a good sign. We might be a long way from running Microsoft Office via Wine (or even OpenOffice) within X on the Pre, but that doesn't mean the platform is incapable of taking all the advantage of the hardware that your standard Linux install could take.


RE: so much for easy app writing
SeldomVisitor @ 10/15/2009 3:44:37 AM # Q
Of COURSE the hardware is there to play with by hackers!

Sheesh.

But Palm says: "You do it our way, not the fast way - enjoy your HTML and Javascript".

Should we be impressed with unauthorized hacked-in video recording?

Sure! Nice sleuthing!

But don't expect CPU-intensive can't-get-interrupted-by-mundane-background-processing video recording OFFICIALLY anytime soon.

Palm's folks aren't stupid - there are probably EXCELLENT reasons (other than "no time to develop") why LOTS of functionality is hands-off from interference with core functionality to obscene power consumption to who-knows-what

Palm very recently was attempting to hire folks who could develop APIs that allow faster access to, for example, graphics capabilities. It's gonna take awhile before (1) pre-beta versions of those APIs are written and then (2) beta versions released.

RE: so much for easy app writing
jca666us @ 10/15/2009 4:49:54 AM # Q
Most likely power consumption - that's the reason Apple used for not enabling 3rd. party app multitasking on the iphone.

However, someone mentioned flash as an alternative until Palm gets a proper SDK in place.

We'll see...

RE: so much for easy app writing
bhartman34 @ 10/15/2009 6:00:05 AM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote:
Of COURSE the hardware is there to play with by hackers!

Sheesh.

But Palm says: "You do it our way, not the fast way - enjoy your HTML and Javascript".

Actually, Palm's not that controlling when it comes to what developers can do. Yes, they reject things from the App Catalog if they use undocumented APIs, but they didn't seal off access to the functionality altogether, which they could have. They also didn't issue a "Please don't do that" statement. And come December, what Palm allows or doesn't allow to hit the App Catalog won't be as important, once developers are allowed to distribute outside the catalog altogether.


Should we be impressed with unauthorized hacked-in video recording?

Sure! Nice sleuthing!

But don't expect CPU-intensive can't-get-interrupted-by-mundane-background-processing video recording OFFICIALLY anytime soon.

We shouldn't expect tethering support anytime soon (at least, in Sprint's case) either, yet lots of people run MyTether. Official support vs. tolerance are less and less relevant on the WebOS platform, because it appears that Palm just doesn't care how developers extend the platform. If you wanted to create a program that does nothing but burn clock cycles while you stare at a black screen, I doubt Palm would have anything to say about it. The whole thing is caveat emptor. If you want to run Pandora while you're recording video in another card, nobody's going to stop you, but don't expect your battery to last as long as if you're just making calls and checking e-mail.



Palm's folks aren't stupid - there are probably EXCELLENT reasons (other than "no time to develop") why LOTS of functionality is hands-off from interference with core functionality to obscene power consumption to who-knows-what

Once you go from core phone/PDA functionality to using the Pre as a small Linux computer, obviously things get more complicated in all kinds of ways. But that's not necessarily why they don't have such functionality in the API. The API reflects things Palm expects people to do with a phone of its size and hardware. IMO, exclusion of video recording from the API (at least, in basic form), was a stupid mistake. People are more forgiving of bad battery life than they are of missing functionality -- especially when that functionality is present in much older phones. This is one of the criticisms that was leveled at the iPhone for a long time before it incorporated MMS and video recording.



Palm very recently was attempting to hire folks who could develop APIs that allow faster access to, for example, graphics capabilities. It's gonna take awhile before (1) pre-beta versions of those APIs are written and then (2) beta versions released.

That's true. I suspect, though, that the homebrew community will have a good solution out way before Palm's ready to release one. The hardware and software are both there on the phone already. What's missing is a good wrapper that invokes it all correctly. (e.g., last time I tried video recording, the app that did it created the video fine, but there wasn't any audio. Fine if you want to overdub the video after-the-fact, but not so good for general purposes.)

I still think this idea that the APIs are the most important thing is a red herring. The reason a lot of the so-called undocumented features are being accessed is because there are<./i> APIs written that you can hook into WebOS. It's just that the APIs exist in languages like Java, which you then have to connect to Mojo. (From what I've seen of the video app, that's basically how it works.)

RE: so much for easy app writing
Scotland @ 10/15/2009 10:29:26 AM # Q
Actually, IMHO, it's coming along quite nicely.

As of today, I count 229 apps, 387 themes, and 65 patches available in Preware.
The official app catalog shows 152 apps.

Most of this has been added in just the last 4-6 weeks (at that time, Preware was just new, 100 homebrew apps existed and only about 40 were in the AC) so, after a slow start, the tempo is definitely picking up (Preware is great, BTW). It seems like the limitation has been more on Palm's end (lack of employees working on the app catalog testing/approvals, etc). They've been adding employees (hence the recent pick-up) but, depending on developer interest and ramp-up, they may continue to be behind the curve for a while.

I'm pleased with Palm's general support of the open source community. By support, this really means tolerance, understanding, and acceptance rather than outright hostility (I won't cover Apple but even Google ran afoul of Android developers recently by sending cease and desist notices about custom ROMs). This is a very extendible platform given its Linux origins. As time goes on, I think we'll see more of a Palm/open-source partnership - WebOS becoming more like the equivalent of an officially supported distro (Palm being the distro maintainer) with individual tweaks representing the dev repository bleeding edge.

It's interesting, but it reminds me somewhat of those old presentations where PalmSource promised that PalmOS Linux would allow them to better focus on adding value higher in the software stack and less on the low level OS components. There's really no reason to have a proprietary OS at this point unless you have tons of resources and money to burn (which Microsoft does have and yet they've still managed to completely misdirect their resources on Windows Mobile - which is so laughably poor at this point it's downright embarrassing)

I expect we'll see a native C SDK and distribution mechanism in the near future. Mojo is good for a lot of apps, but there are many that need lower level access - Palm's current method for handling the distribution is to send out the C binaries with the OS updates (for example, Classic had a recent update with WebOS 1.2). That's going to become increasingly unworkable once Dataviz Docs2Go and some of the rumored game developers (Electronic Arts) are included in the mix of apps being distributed that way.

It wouldn't be easy but I think we could even eventually see Android apps working in WebOS. A mojo plugin would be required to display the app - similar to how Classic works (the Terminal app works the same way). I doubt Palm would sponsor this but it doesn't appear that they would do anything to stop enterprising hackers...

So, yeah, not sure why all the negativity because it's a useful platform already and improving every day. And, unlike the Palm of old, the new Palm seems to have their plan and be working to their plan - releasing new devices, OS, and app catalog updates on a regular schedule (1.2 was just released which included OS updates and the capability for paid app catalog apps, GSM Pre is here, Pixi is coming). We can argue about design choices but Palm is executing well. The only clear miss to me would be the app install limit which is increasingly a problem for a lot of users (many of whom would never know if/how to install a tweak to address it) but if there's not an official fix in the next OS update, I would really be surprised.

RE: so much for easy app writing
xImtc @ 10/15/2009 1:41:59 PM # Q
The number of apps has nothing to do with it. It's the number of useful apps. And it is the glaring holes in the Pre's capabilities that are not being fixed, and that's what makes it so frustrating.

Look at the iPhone: A criticism that has been levied against it is that 99% of the apps available are crap. This is probably a more-than-fair complaint. But let's just say that half of one percent of those 80,000 apps are actually useful -- that's 400 worthwhile apps! Probably many more than anyone would ever need or want!

There are lots of things that'd make the Pre more fun. Better C&P, text-forwarding, etc., but IMO these are small things. Things that the Pre fundamentally needs have not been added: Full "CANT" syncing to multiple PCs without turning over your private information to Google. The ability to undo Synergy so that your Exchange and Web contacts actually stay in sync, for those who want such a thing. Real backup like the Treo had. The ability to install codecs, so that subscription music (a la PocketTunes) and specialized video (a la CorePlayer) can be used on the device. And yes, the ability to edit documents.

Palm may have their hands full and be unable to deliver on all these things right away, but they should at least make their APIs available so that third parties can quickly deliver this functionality if Palm can't get to it. Right now, the limitations of MoJo seem so serious that things that aught to be easy are apparently very hard.

RE: so much for easy app writing
bhartman34 @ 10/15/2009 5:57:27 PM # Q

Just trying to close the loop here with the italics blunder I made.
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