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Sunday
Nov012009

Interview: Twee, Feeds, and WootOn! We speak to Delicious Morsel about WebOS and their apps

We had the privilege to talk to one of the most popular developers going from the Homebrew community to the App Catalog. Dennis from Delicious Morsel takes the time to talk to us about their experience on WebOS compared to the iPhone and some of their plans for the future. A little while back Delicious Morsel posted a blog entry letting users know that due to some complications with Palm and its App Catalog submission process they are going to discontinue app development on WebOS until Palm can get things in working order. Dennis discusses the issues and lets us know what plans they have for their current apps and apps they have already begun development on.

Check out the interview in its entirity after the break...

Question:  Let's begin with your background in development. Delicious Morsel didn't start developing on the WebOS platform first. You guys already have some iPhone apps including Horrorscope, Lovecalc, and EyeLove. Coming from the iPhone SDK how is the Mojo SDK in comparison. We know the iPhone SDK is pretty solid and has had a lot of time to mature at this point but we are hearing some good and some bad things about Mojo SDK. Palm's Mojo SDK of course is still in beta until December but do you feel it already provides the necessary tools to start development on quality apps? Is it a longer, shorter, or similar length process to get your app ready for WebOS compared to the iPhone OS?
 
Answer: Developing for WebOS is easy and it allows you to create simple applications extremely quickly. One thing that the iPhone has over the WebOS environment and I believe will continue to stay that way, unless Palm allows people to make browser plug-ins that are compiled, is fast and feature rich applications. Being able to do sound manipulation and image manipulation will never work well in JavaScript and will only be able to work so-so in flash. I realize flash has sound generation calls but my guess is they are going to be extremely slow and not as rich as talking directly to the Alsa, the audio architecture that the Palm Pre uses for playing audio. We won't be able to take advantage of recording audio, doing true 3D animations by talking directly to the powerful OMAP processor, etc. I am just surprised that Palm is trying so hard to avoid doing that, when they should be embracing it. Their hardware is amazing, let the developers use it. Apple sure knew their hardware rocked so they exposed so many ways to talk directly to that and with JavaScript, it won't ever happen, and if it does happen, it will take Palm too long to build and it will be slow and probably useless.

 
Question: WebOS certainly can use some additional API's and more access to the device for developers. Do you feel confident Palm is working towards this or is it possible they just don't have the man power to get this done at this point in time?
 
Answer: From an honest perspective, I don't think Palm has the man power to be able to do this and I don't think JavaScript will give the proper tools to allow them to compete in the current market of smartphones. Yes they will have tons of simple apps but I don't think we will see any great games. The closest we will get will be flash games and that will still limit developers from creating amazingly beautiful and rich applications because of the overhead Flash has. 


Question: Twee! Need I say more? Twee is a fantastic app and a unique take on the whole Twitter concept. Twee takes a similar approach to the iPhone's strict UI guidelines with the menu by having each basic Twitter function on a ribbon at the bottom of the screen. This ribbon is unique even compared to the typical iPhone UI's because the ribbon can be swiped from left to right to access the different functions of Twitter. When you compare your app 'Twee' to some of the work you have done on the iPhone. The Twee UI looks as good if not better than some of the iPhone UI work you have done. Twee has a really elegant UI that makes getting things done very easy and fun. How did you come up with this idea?

 
Answer: Twee is absolutely some of the best work I've done under the Delicious Morsel name. The ribbon was something I planned on developing for Twee on the iPhone but when it came time, I decided on developing it for WebOS and the ribbon came with it. It was a spin on the iPhone navigation bar and it just felt like a logical progression to take with it. The navigation bar on Twee will be our signature navigation method for apps that need navigation bars, like WootOn!. While doing an overview of what we need to do to get Twee to stage two, now that stage one is complete and we are in the Catalog, we really started to dislike the UI since it wasn't designed. It just ended up looking that way as I progressed development on it. With our new user interaction designer, we will be getting new mock ups of Twee pretty soon and hope to have them implemented by the end of the year.

 


Question: Twee is not the only WebOS app you have in development right now. Feeds, which is already popular among the Homebrew community, is also underway and possibly going to be in the App Catalog soon. Fantastic news for us gadget geeks because right now the choice of news feed apps is rather slim. Can we expect to see this app in the Catalog soon and what inspired you to get started on the Feeds app?
 
Answer: Feeds was started when we pulled in our second developer. He wanted to work on an RSS application. We started writing and planning the UI for the app and he suddenly dropped off the face of the earth, at least with development for Feeds but, we continued to work and progress the features in Feeds. As it stands, Feeds is getting close to production ready but we want to get all the base features in, like offline-storage, before we submit it to the Catalog, but we've been consumed with Twee and TweeFree.

Question: So most Pre based sites already got wind of your blog which discussed some of the struggles you were having with Palm and their App Catalog submission process. Do you care to elaborate on some of these issues?

Answer: The blog was meant to address to our upcoming stance on WebOS development, not to cause controversy.  We had some issues with Palm, many deadlines passed without app not going out, due to their issues. They rarely communicated with us. They rejected Twee and never contacted, to let us know that it was rejected. Come to find out, it was rejected for a really lame reason, which we refused to fix, which then changed some policies in our and other developers favors, at Palm. The lack of communication on why our release dates had passed with no sign of release was just frustrating us, so we made the decision to not make any more new apps until Palm pulled it together and decided to get in gear.
 
 
Question: In your blog you said that development for WebOS apps will be halted until Palm can make some changes to their App Catalog submission process. Well Twee and TweeFree have hit the Catalog and there is quite a lot of buzz around the apps. People seem to really be taking to the Twee platform as their regular Twitter client on WebOS. Will development for these apps and any of your other apps, Twee, Feeds, and WootOn! continue? There are some heart broken fans out there who will be upset that the developer of their favorite Twitter app might not continue to develop for the platform they use and love. For the sake of all of us Pre, Pixi, and any other future WebOS Device users out there we hope you stay!

Answer: Development on our currently active applications will continue. We are planning new features for Twee, Feeds and WootOn!.


Question: You have one more app in development stages down their at the offices of Delicious Morsel. This app is a self title app respectably titled, 'Declicious Morsel'. Looking at the screen shots, this app has a beautiful UI and you claim it will be the richest solution for a food finding type app available in the Catalog. Based on screen shots so far I concur. So this begs the question. Why dive into an already somewhat crowded field of food finder related apps. Certainly your confident with your work but, what sets aside Delicious Morsel from other apps in the same genre?

Answer: Having looked into the space of food finders, we noticed none of them were appealing visually. I think having a visually appealing application that does everything you need, sells better than an app that does everything you want. We do not want a crowded interface, but instead a rich, beautiful, and intuitive interface. We are trying to see if we can compete and set ourselves apart, on a level that I think people tend to often over look. We are absolutely confident that this app is going to rock and I don't think it will necessarily dethrone some of the bigger apps out there such as, Yelp which we plan to be complimentary to, because we aren't here to compete on the everything field, but on the usability field.

Thank you so much Dennis. We really love hearing from Delicious Morsel and hope to continue to hear more about your upcoming apps and future updates. We speak for all Pre users when we say this, we love your apps and hope you continue to develop your great ideas into apps for WebOS. For Palm's sake we hope they get done what needs to get done so developers can have a fun and easy experience on the platform.

Make sure you check out Delicious Morsel's offerings in the Catalog (Twee, WootOn!, and soon Feeds) and keep an eye on their website to catch their blog and any news or updates about Delicious Morsel. Their site can be viewed here.

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Reader Comments (2)

a pretty damning indictment of Palm. Palm seems to be a company that made a nice start to an OS but is run horribly bad. Not talking with customers. Not releasing tools to make good games. I think we see the future of Palm in this view from developers, plummeting stock (hopefully just hit hard by a down market), and a failure on Palms part to fix it's app limit issues and the fact that even the ipod app store launched with 400 apps and the Palm catalog has been out for several months and has barely got to 300, 99% of which are just plain bad apps. Palm is just a bad company. Nice start for an OS but like this guy says "palm doesn't have the man power to do this."

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrickrock

Geez, rickrock ya think you could POSSIBLY be more negative? I think Palm has moved very well considering their limited manpower. I'd like to see more from the App Catalog too but my Palm Pre handles the vast majority of things I need to do on a daily basis and then some. The iPhone can have all the apps it wants... there's NO app that I would trade for the ability to multitask. If all I wanted was apps, I would have gotten the iPhone.

Palm has made missteps but I'm convinced they're headed in the right direction. Let's wait and see what happens after the app catalog is no longer in beta and when the Pre launches on Verizon... I'm expecting things to pick up pretty quickly.

November 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDan

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