by Derek Kessler on 3/11/2013 | Filed Under: Apps; Tags: homebrew, PreWare, webOS Internals, enyo, WebOS Ports, Josh Palmer | 21 comments
Back in December the WebOS Ports team hosted a virtual hackathon to bring a number of popular and vital webOS homebrew utilities up to modern Enyo 2 standards. Things have been pretty quiet on that front in the intervening month, but last night WebOS Ports developer Josh "@shiftyaxel" Palmer took to Twitter to share screenshots of the progress they've made since.
In short, it's Preware, but built with Enyo. It installs homebrew apps from the webOS Nation Homebrew Gallery and WebOS Internals' own feeds, just as you'd expect. The difference is that by being built with Enyo 2 the app now has a more flexible layout. Typical of the Enyo user interface is the display of multiple columns, with a list of apps on the left side and the selected app's info on the right.
Overall it looks to operate in a similar manner to the Preware we know and love, though Palmer did note that right now Preware 2 will only support Enyo apps on Open webOS installs, as Open webOS doesn't currently offer support for PDK or hybrid apps. That's not to say that Preware 2 can't support PDK-based apps, an IPK is an IPK is an IPK, after all, and older version sof webOS will support PDK and hybrid app installs just fine. Prompted by former webOS developer relations employee Donald Kirker, Palmer pondered that it would be "feasible" to move app installation to a background tasks in Preware 2, conceivably enabling a user to continue browsing apps while installing apps. Consider that more a possibility for future releases, not a promise.
Thanks to its Enyo 2-based status, installation of Preware 2 on varying webOS hardware shouldn't be an issue. Even on older webOS smartphones, the Enyo 2 framework can be packaged with the app at a size under 25KB while still giving cross-platform compatibility and speed. For his part, Palmer's screenshots were taken on a TouchPad running webOS 3.x.
Preware 2 is still in pre-alpha stages and not publicly released, though once they're far enough along the app will be released into the alpha testing feeds in Preware. When that will happen… well, WebOS Ports is very clear on their ETA policy: there are no ETAs - when it's ready, it's ready. So hold on, check out the screenshots after the break, and dream of someday going all Enyo for your homebrew fun.