Palm’s Free Pre IDE

    Craig Buckler

    Palm PreThe Palm Pre may have been overshadowed by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android OS, but Palm has developed some interesting projects during the past year.

    The Pre and Pixi both use webOS which allows developers to create applications using standard HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. Palm has also released their Mojo SDK which is available for free on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. The SDK includes a VirtualBox-based Palm emulator and Eclipse plugins for rapid development.

    However, perhaps one of the most interesting projects is Ares — a full online integrated development environment that features:

    • a drag-and-drop interface builder
    • a code editor (which I suspect is Mozilla’s Bespin or very similar)
    • a visual debugger and log viewer, and
    • source control integration.

    The IDE works in Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

    My first impressions? It’s stunning. Even if you have no intention of writing webOS applications, I’d recommend you try Ares. You’ll need to sign up for a developer account at then log in to Ares.

    Palm AresClick for larger view…

    I’ve had my doubts about cloud-based development, but Ares demonstrates the possibilities. You’ll still require the VirtualBox emulator or a Palm Pre to run and test your webOS application, but the rest of the system looks and feels like a solid IDE. It’s attractive, fast, portable, usable and a lightweight alternative to Eclipse.

    Palm have gone to great lengths to attract developers to the Pre and webOS. Tools such as Ares will certainly help their cause. Apple — I hope you’re taking note!


    Have you tried Ares? Would it tempt you to attempt webOS development? Is it a viable alternative to desktop IDEs?