Palm Woos Ex-Mozilla JavaScript Gurus to Boost WebOS

The crackerjack Web development duo of Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith leave the helm of the Mozilla Developer Tools Lab to join Palm to help advance the Palm WebOS and enhance its developer community.

The crackerjack Web development duo of Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith have left the helm of the Mozilla Developer Tools Lab to join Palm to help advance the Palm WebOS and enhance its developer community.

Almaer and Galbraith are known as visionary JavaScript and Web development experts. Together they launched the Website and then-in October of 2008, just about a year ago-teamed to head Mozilla's Developer Tools Lab where they created Bespin, a coding environment for Web developers. The duo joined Palm on Sept. 25 as directors of the Palm Developer Relations team.

Despite some criticism over sales of the Palm Pre, which runs WebOS, as well as minor complaints by handset owners, WebOS is regarded as a significant technological advancement. The hiring of Almaer and Galbraith is expected to enrich the WebOS platform and community, and help foster more and better applications for the platform.

In a Sept. 25 blog post, Andrew Mager, a Web developer at Ning, said, "This is huge news because the Palm WebOS framework is not easy to work with. Building applications for the Palm Pre is a challenge because the documentation is bad, the code is ugly and the actual emulator is a nightmare to work with. I am confident that it will improve now because Dion and Ben are the pioneers of Ajax, and WebOS is build on JavaScript. These guys worked on Bespin together at Mozilla, which is basically a code editor in a Web browser."

In his own blog post about the move, Almaer said, "There is a massive opportunity with Palm WebOS to give Web developers the ability to deploy outside of the browser, and onto the device."

Moreover, Almaer added:

""This feels like a pivotal time for the Web. We have a convergence of:??Ç The personal Web (some are calling this the you-centric Web)??Ç Mobile is truly here. With smart phones that are full computing powerhouses, we are seeing amazing experiences thanks to hardware and software working together??Ç The Web browser has become a rich platform and powerful runtime""

In a separate blog post, Galbraith said, "Dion and I believe in the Web platform-an open platform that no single vendor controls-and we believe in empowering and enabling developers. We have been honored to work with so many who feel the same way at Mozilla, we will continue to advocate those values as members of the Mozilla community and we can't wait to put these ideals into practice in our work at Palm."

Katie Mitic, Palm's senior vice president of product marketing, said:

""Now that our exciting Web-based platform, Palm WebOS, is ready for developers, the time was right to ramp up our Developer Relations team, to ensure the best possible developer experience. When we sat down to think about the type of person that needed to lead this team, two things were clear: we needed real developers at the helm, and they needed to be developers with a deep understanding of the Web environment.""

It seems Palm chose well. Almaer said a developer's innate curiosity and passion for tinkering is what drives him to keep his finger on the pulse of the Web development community.

"I have long been frustrated with the status quo with certain platforms, and as I thought about what makes me happy as a developer; it is freedom, choice and information flow," Almaer said in his blog. "I feel passionately about bringing these values to mobile, and carry my Web DNA with me. When Palm came to Ben and [me], we were curious to see how much they understood what it really meant to have a 'WebOS.' The management team impressed us, and persuaded us that they understand how important the principles of the Web are, as well as the crucial role of developers. By giving us the honor of this responsibility, they signal their intent."