WordPress for webOS released

A few days ago we were finally able to announce WordPress for webOS to the public. It’s a neat app made solely for the new HP TouchPad. Most of the work was done by Beau Collins, a great developer based in Seattle WA. My contribution to the project was mainly to make the app as suave as possible, and coordinating the launch.

It’s hard to design for a platform that barely exists. UI Guidelines gets updated while you’re working on conforming to them. I didn’t have a device myself, so most of my testing was done in an emulator and webkit-powered browsers. That’s the other thing about webOS, the name implies that it’s web-based – and it pretty much is. It uses web technology for almost every aspect in the app building process. For instance, changing the font size in a particular element within the app is as simple as writing a few CSS rules. Altogether, this enabled me and others working on the app to iterate very quickly and build powerful features in a very small timeframe.

A word of advice though, webOS is based on Enyo (JavaScript framework), HTML5, and CSS3 – but not everything works like you would expect it to. I’ve found the support for CSS3 rules to be spotty. While you can apply things like border-radius and gradients, as well as border-image, there is no support for box-shadow or even text-shadow. At one point I spent hours perfecting the look of some buttons with nested inset box-shadows, gradients, rounded corners, which all looked great in a browser. However when compiled, the buttons turned out very plain as most of these rules are not supported on an OS level.

WebOS is struggling with performance, and avoiding things that are heavy to render (such as box-shadow and text-shadow) makes a lot of sense to speed things up, but it’s annoying to have some of the most powerful rules taken away from you when working with web technologies.

As we release new revisions of the app, I’ll keep you posted about development tips and pitfalls from a designer point of view.

Find out more about WordPress for webOS here: webos.wordpress.org

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