Not all webkits are equal, stories of reading code

Recently, there’s been concern over the state of WebKit on Android. If anyone has ever used the WebView, people realize that it doesn’t have gears. However, once you look at the source code of the Browser in Google Android (You can actually do this), you realize very quickly that it’s not an issue with the browser, it’s an issue with the Shared Library not being loaded.

Now, currently I don’t know if the current SDK would support the NDK-style JNI required for PhoneGap to do this, but it should be coming in Donut. However, I want to know when HTML 5 is coming to Android. If you take this page and try to run it on the Android browser, it will fail, but it should work on the iPhone, Safari and it works on my version of Midori that I’m running on Ubuntu.

I don’t have a copy of the source code to the Palm Pre, although I hope that one day in the future I can see their version of WebKit and see how they managed to get HTML 5 on the phone. I hope that Google follows suit and gets proper HTML 5 support on their browser instead of using gears in a shared library linked in the Browser APK. This is important since Gears is not HTML 5. I honestly enjoy going through the Android Source Code for the most part and seeing how the Java fits with the rest of the embedded system. It’d be great if I could do this with the Pre as well.

Open Web Vancouver

Open Web Vancouver was pretty awesome this year. The Pirate Party keynote by Rickard Falvange was awesome, and really was a solid follow up to Zak Greant’s talk on “The Age of Literate Machines”. Given the current climate with people fighting against more oppressive copyright, I really liked how relevant it was, and how it tied to the Civil Rights movement.

The second keyonote talk was also really well put together. I saw Angela Byron’s “Women in Open Source”, and it was interesting to see how many other people were shocked as to how few women were in Open Source. The talk was interesting, and depressing at times, but it was a good talk, and it showed a need for everyone in the Open Source community to wake up to this reality and do something about it.

The thing that irritated me the most about the conference was actually not the fault of the organizers of the conference, and is entirely the fault of Bell Canada, and the convention center. Jake Appelbaum of the Tor Project (and of Noisebridge) was giving a talk on Tor. Tor is an anonymizing router that allows for people in places such as Iran and China to access roughly the same internet as someone living in a country such as Canada or the United States, getting around government restrictions such as the Great Firewall of China. The problem is that unfortunately, the Vancouver Convention Center is more oppressive than the Chinese Government, because they blocked the following sites:

Now, I can understand blocking something like 4chan (the Anime convention had a talk on it, BTW), but blocking Tor and UNICEF is crossing a line. The site in question had information on a project that I was looking to promote during my Android talk, which allowed for formatted SMS messages to indicate where things like Mosquito Nets to prevent Malaria should go, and where buckets for distributing clean drinking water should go. This project actually does a LOT of good. Too bad Bell Canada disagrees with me.

The other talks at the conference were pretty awesome. The big complaint that I had this year was
that the PhoneGap presentation by Brock and Rob was at the same time as Franklin Lopez’s presentation about Documenting Dissent. The Open Data talks by David Eaves were pretty interesting as well, since the City wanted to know what data it should open first.

In short, the conference was great, despite the fact that Bell censored the Wireless. I find that this will be the one thing that sticks in my mind this year, since the organizers did their best to position Open Source, Free Speech and Fair Copyright in the forefront.

Released: Open Web Vancouver 2009 Schedule for Android

I’m going to be speaking at the Open Web Vancouver 2009 conference, and after visiting Google IO and seeing their app, I decided that I would try out something similar with PhoneGap. Now, the purpose of PhoneGap is to produce applications that work like Native Applications fast. This means that the app has to not have the tell-tale signs that it’s running in the browser, and be just as fast, if not faster than it’s Browser-based counterpart. It also should have access to everything the HTML5 Spec has access to.

Since a schedule doesn’t need Geolocation, or Accelerometer, I decided to make this a static app for the most part. The reason I did that, was because I don’t know whether the Wifi this year will be stable enough in the Conf. Center, or the Waterfront Center Food Court, and I didn’t want to take the chance on it.

I made an ugly prototype in a couple of hours on Monday, and polished it up using xui. I then took it to Yohei to make look hot. Yohei does a lot of iPhone Dev, but hasn’t done any Android dev as of yet. The results are pretty awesome. You can download the application on the Google Android market now, which is pretty good as far as getting your app out to devices. While the search is rather poor (WTF Google!!!), it’s pretty cool. You can also download it onto your phone here, or by scanning the QR Code below:


Rogers Revolution Released

Rogers just released the Android Phone in Canada. The phone is a special version that works on Rogers 850/1900 MHz frequencies, but other than that it looks like the other phones.

Early Adopters get burnt until Gloabalive comes out with their new Android Phones, which are rumoured to be on the AWS spectrum that T-Mobile uses. It’s rather frustrating, since Edge consumes more battery than any other connectivity method, and is the slowest of the three.

However, this means that the Android Market should be opening up to Canadians, and more people should be able to buy, and use open phones. It’s interesting, since Rogers is even advertising it as Open in their marketing. The question of how open Rogers is going to let the phone be will be the issue as people try to get root on their devices.

But today, Wireless in Canada still got more interesting. Too bad the phone comes with a weak plan, making Wireless Pricing in Canada still suck.