Android SDK Released

We knew it was coming, and it’s now here. I haven’t looked at it too closely, but a few things I’ve noticed:

Yet another XML UI? Clearly it’s becoming a popular way to do things, but do we need so many? XUL, MXML, XAML, now Android? Surely there must be another way. XUL as a standard sadly never materialized.

There’s a mention of 3D libraries, but notes:

…the libraries use either hardware 3D acceleration (where available) or the included, highly optimized 3D software rasterizer…

We all know how well graphics drivers have historically been on Linux. Hopefully the embedded/mobile market will prove better than the desktop.

One thing I do wonder is all the variables. The platform seems to have a fair amount of potential, but there’s no real standard regarding what you can be assured will exist on a handheld (for example 3D acceleration) or even what restrictions might be imposed by the carrier (firmware lockdown). At least with the iPhone you know they all ship with certain CPU’s, graphic capabilities, etc. It’s a very predictable platform. Android reminds me a lot of programming for the PC, there’s a ton of variations out there on the web to account for. Even if most run the same OS. Mobile has the added complexity of carriers who are notoriously restrictive. I wonder if this will really change. This is why the web as a platform is so great. It overcomes most of these limitations.

In general I have to agree with most of what Robert Scoble says (vaporware, unimpressive UI, etc.) but it’s still very early on, and you can’t judge much based on this early preview. Right now, the iPhone is a clear winner, but I wouldn’t discount Android just yet.

My general feeling is that it’s too early to make much of a judgment. There many things that can happen in the next several months that can drastically alter the fate of Android for better or worse both business and tech wise.

The next key moment in the mobile landscape will be the release of the iPhone SDK due early next year.

Then there’s always the underdog OpenMoko.

XUL Web Services Sample

Anyone have a sample of a simple XUL form (perhaps 2 fields, either a textbox, or pulldown, or something) submitting to an app via web services?

It’s lacking in documentation (grumbles and looks towards developers).

Note: I’m not looking for third party javascript web service implementations. As Mozilla native as possible.

Thanks in advance.

Apple and the Internet

Anyone still not reading David Hyatt’s Blog should start doing so ASAP. If you read this blog, and find anything relevant, you will most definitely find his relevant. He’s a browser guru with his hand in many things. A definite site to bookmark. A few comments on this whole Safari/Dashboard thing…

Personally, I wish it were done in XUL, and XUL were fully implemented on Mac OS X via Web Kit. Would have been really neat. Personally I find XUL based interfaces to feel quite natural at this point. Even Mac OS X’s Firefox is feeling good. With Apple’s concentration it would have been great. But they did go with the second best (and still good) option of HTML, with lots of standards support. And that’s still a good solution, though not my personal favorite.

I’d also like to make note of a good quote here:

We have a phrase we like to use here on the Safari team, and that’s “real-world standards compliance.” What that means is that where possible we attempt to be fully compatible with the W3C standards, but we also want to support the real-world standards, i.e., extensions that for better or worse have become de facto standards. If you really do believe we should not have implemented contenteditable, then you are simply out of touch with reality.

Hyatt does say something that makes me feel really comfortable with Apple’s approach on standards:

finally we have submitted all of our extensions to the WHAT-WG for review. The slider in particular is already in the Web Forms draft. It is our hope that these HTML extensions will ultimately be standardized by a working group, but I wanted to emphasize that we are working with other browser vendors such as Opera and Mozilla to ensure that these extensions are implementable in those browsers and that these extensions can be standardized. We are not simply off “doing our own thing.”

This I’d really like to see happen. I’d ideally like to see these things work on multiple browsers, just like the new plugin system coming around. Perhaps Mozilla can be setup to allow these new Widgets to work? Would be nice to see Apple, Mozilla team up.

Lastly, regarding namespace

Webkit is looking to use:

http://www.apple.com/2004/xhtml-extended/

IBM adapts HTML and uses:

http://www.ibm.com/data/dtd/v11/ibmxhtml1-transitional.dtd

I kind of perfer the /dtd/ and have a documented DTD available, so my ideal solution would be:

http://www.apple.com/dtd/1.0/xhtml-extended.dtd/

holding the format dtd/version/item.

Just my $0.02.