Book Review: Pro Web Gadgets Across iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac, iGoogle and More – Part 4

Finally I am at the last part, and the one that most interested me – Mobile Platforms. The idea of learning multiple smart-phone languages does not appeal to me, and if you are involved with a startup – could add a major outsourcing expense. I look at a well established site like the and see that they have an iPhone application and have a pending Android application announced. With their deep pockets, it is clear that time to market for each mobile application can be problematic.

Windows Mobile

First item is that it deals with 6.1 and 6.5 only – the classic problem with books on the cutting edge of technology.  Good solid advice about a gotcha that some developers may not think about because they will not think beyond their own phone…

“For gadget developers, the two editions of interest are Windows Mobile Standard and Professional. The important distinction is that
Professional is meant for touchscreen devices, while Standard is not.”

We also discovered why the Opera API was given a full chapter earlier…

“the Opera Widgets API, covered thoroughly for desk-bound computers in Chapter 8, has a smartphone
counterpart. This allows you to run virtually the same widget on all recent versions of Windows Mobile—
and, as you’ll see in the next chapter, the Symbian S60 phone OS as well.”

The author then describes the T-Mobile “Web’n’Walk SDK is a superset of the Opera Mobile Widgets API, building on its
generic foundation to give significantly greater access to device functionality.” This is important if you startup target population have a significant percentage of T-Mobile users. T-Mobile has it’s own Gallery – something you should be aware of.

Symbian S60

Can we say legacy? Especially after the recent announcement of Microsoft-Nokia.  I will not dwell much on this chapter beyond saying that the author does his usual excellent coverage. For example  :-)

Note As of this writing, the S60 emulators have a bug that prevents openURL calls from completing and may even crash the browser. With luck, this bug will be fixed by the time you read this—but if not, now you know.”

If it’s ain’t fix yet – it may never be…



The treatment is excellent with a lot of solid recommendations that will save developers walking down the wrong paths (typical issue with newbies or those in a non-mentoring environment [“I’ve gotten it to work this way – why should I learn a different way?”-ism]. For example,

“Since it’s not a true gadget API, it doesn’t inherently supply a storage interface, and as an embedded browser instance, neither does it support cookies. As an alternative, I’ve turned to Mobile Safari’s support of SQLite, part of the emerging W3C HTML 5 standard. This allows access to a true SQL database from within JavaScript, more than sufficient for crossPlatform.Storage’s needs.”


I must admit, being an Android owner, this is what I was looking for most – so I can create my own quick web gadgets (instead of firing up Eclipse and writing my own Java apps). It explains how to use the Dalvik (the Java dialect that Android uses) Debug Monitor to find Javascript errors. It was interesting to note “I’ve based my Android code from my existing iPhone port, and it turns out that the changes needed are few indeed.” giving good guidance on the development cascade.

The Future of Web Gadgets

This chapter – seeing what is coming down the adoption pipeline – is sweet. As a result, I’m pretty much converted to using SQL for local storage for future work (bizarre – I pretty much patented that idea in one of my patent filings for Microsoft back in 1998, just 13 years ahead of the industry). He summarizes this chapter with:

“The future for web gadgets is bright. Not only are they at home on the newest, fastest-growing  smartphone platforms, but other technology trends are working in their favor as well. Several nascent standards (from the W3C and OMTP) will allow a single gadget code base to do more and on more platforms. And with the emergence of web-based operating systems, starting with Palm’s webOS and Google’s Chrome OS, these platforms will continue to include the most trend-setting devices. There’s never been a better time to build a web gadget.”

His book and coverages, leaves me in agreement!


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