Update information

Discussions around the WebOS (Palm Pre, Palm Pixi, HP Touchpad) versions of the Gospel Library application.
justinmoon
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Update information

Postby justinmoon » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:28 pm

I am by no means a spokesperson for this app, the Church, or anybody else but myself. So if you have better information than I do, by all means post it. There are LDS webOS users that want to know. I'm somewhat of a techie (Electrical Engineer with limited software experience), so what I'm about to say may be a little too much techie-talk, but the intent should be clear.

Updating content for this app is slightly problematic. The Church provides XML source files for a ton of content, including scriptures, conferences, magazines, manuals, etc. This Gospel Library app was written to utilize the Church-termed "ldsxml" format source files. The problem is that the Church recently changed their formatting to something they call "ldsWebML". The October 2010 Conference was released as ldsWebML and NOT ldsxml. So basically, portions of the Gospel Library app have to be rewritten to support the different format as new content is released. Again, this is my understanding, as a techie-but-not-guru kind of guy.

The Gospel Library apps for the other phone platforms (iOS, Android, etc.) use a database format that's different entirely, but seems to be common between platforms. I hear they have the option inside the app to choose what content to download. Each "book" is downloaded from a Church server in a "zbook" database format. The app just has to support the format, and the Church will provide the zbooks. That will provide content updates without needing to update the app. The problem with adopting this method of content access is that webOS does not allow importing databases. The only database an app can access is one that it creates for itself. I really hope this changes with webOS 2.0. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but as it is now it looks like the app would need to be completely rewritten using the PDK instead of the SDK to accommodate the zbook format like the other phones.

So, to sum up, the webOS Gospel Library app is in sort of a hard spot right now. And yes, webOS is not super popular, so there are not hundreds of developers interested in moving this forward. There have been a few new features and more content (an older conference, some manuals) checked in to the subversion repository since the (only) 1.0.0 release. I have built the app myself with the new content and features, and it's better, but still not where I would like it. I volunteered to help with the development (remember, limited skills here), but as you can see, the problem is not just a "type in the latest conference" kind of deal.

I don't think this will clear up any of the frustration at the lack of progress with the app, but at least now you know what's going on. Or at least my take on it.

roneyii
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Postby roneyii » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:32 pm

The smartest move would be to wait for Enyo to mature and re-write all webOS apps in Enyo.

All of the apps that are out there now (in Mojo) will all have to be re-written.

Not many developers are willing to spend time writing apps that will just have to be re-written in a few months.

Hopefully someone involved with the Church is in the EAP and is silently working on the apps.

mobusby
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Postby mobusby » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:24 pm

The only device which will support applications written with Enyo will be the Touchpad for some time. What's more, the Touchpad also supports Mojo applications. I don't think putting forth any effort into an complete Enyo re-write would be wise until the framework becomes ubiquitous across a majority of webOS devices.

Also, Enyo does not solve the zbook vs xml dilemma. There are several options available if we want to pull support for webOS 1.4 devices (the Pre, Pre+, Pixi, and Pixi+) and focus on webOS 2.x+ devices (European Pre+, Pre 2, Veer, Pre 3, and Touchpad). For instance, we could write a Node.js service to parse downloaded zbooks into JSON and add them to the apps webSQL db. Or, we could turn the Gospel Library app into a hybrid PDK app, where native code does the storage and retrieval.

Continuing support for legacy devices will be problematic, at best, unless the Church agrees to host JSON files, which may be easily downloaded, parsed, and stored on any webOS device. Personally, I think the Node.js service is the simplest solution.

boydell
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Postby boydell » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:20 pm

Another option could be to build a server-side system that could do the converting for us. It could take any of the church document formats and convert it to JSON. So the app would request the new content from the middle-ware server instead of the default url. This would be usable by all past and future devices. It could even cache the resulting JSON so it would not have to generate it each time.

The only question that would have to be answered would be where to host the service. I have servers that could be used for testing purposes, but I would imagine the church would be just as happy to host the service once it is in existence.

danpass
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Postby danpass » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:58 pm

mobusby wrote:Continuing support for legacy devices will be problematic, at best, unless the Church agrees to host JSON files, which may be easily downloaded, parsed, and stored on any webOS device.
boydell wrote:Another option could be to build a server-side system that could do the converting for us. It could take any of the church document formats and convert it to JSON. So the app would request the new content from the middle-ware server instead of the default url. This would be usable by all past and future devices. It could even cache the resulting JSON so it would not have to generate it each time.

The only question that would have to be answered would be where to host the service. I have servers that could be used for testing purposes, but I would imagine the church would be just as happy to host the service once it is in existence.


boydell, You're reiterating the part of mobusby's post that I've quoted here, in this post, right? I agree with both of you, that this approach would be good for the webOS platform, in that it would be an expedient way to provide ongoing content support for existing devices as well as the new devices (finally!) coming to market.

sobates
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Postby sobates » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:50 am

My Pre+ is old and the touchPad and Pre 3 are coming out in a month. I love WebOS but there does not appear to be any support or action for WardTools for WebOS or even getting Gospel Lib up-to-date. I'm still using Classic but it is just acquitted. I'm in a leadership calling and need these apps. I about to give up on WebOS just because of the lack of LDS apps. Can someone give me hope a an reason to wait before I go to a iOs?


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