[OpenAjaxMobile] Minutes from today's phone call 2008-02-27

Jon Ferraiolo jferrai at us.ibm.com
Wed Feb 27 11:59:47 PST 2008

Mobile Minutes 2008-02-27

URL: http://www.openajax.org/member/wiki/Mobile_Minutes_2008-02-27

      David Boloker, IBM (co-chair)
      Andrew Sledd, Ikivo (co-chair)
      Rick Saletta, Wavemaker
      David Pollington, Vodafone
      Paddy Byers, Aplix
      Rich Thompson, IBM
      Paulo Neves, Present Technologies


Device APIs

Jon: Vodafone hosted a meeting in Barcelona at 3GSM/MWC with about 20
companies to talk about Mobile Ajax. It was the second such meeting. The
year earlier, we decided that the industry needed to have a workshop on
Mobile Ajax, and that happened in September, hosted by W3C and OpenAjax
Alliance. At the September meeting, one of the critical areas that was
identified was to open up device APIs to the Web Runtime. Since then, at
OpenAjax, in this committee, we did a bunch of due diligence on what exists
today and captured it on a long wiki page. Now, the meeting two weeks ago.
At the meeting we discussed next steps. There were people who felt that we
needed to move aggressively on an industry basis to develop standards and
there were people who were on the other extreme and felt that we should let
things shake out in the industry and then look to codify what exists. I
proposed a middle ground approach where the industry gets together in an
intense, short-term exploratory effort to articulate use cases and
requirements and describe the key security issues. I suggested an arbitrary
date of April 30, 2008, as the end point for the exploratory efforts. At
the meeting and in subsequent discussion after the meeting, a good number
of people felt this was a good approach.

Andy: What would be the nature of the use cases?

Jon: I was thinking we would describe a set of use cases at a high-level.
One example would be a search web page that might leverage the current
location API of your phone to create a more personalized, location-aware
set of results. Another example might be a search web page that returns a
phone number, and if it has access to the phone dialer API, then an icon
might appear next to the phone number that would allow one-click dialing to
the number. Also, use cases for widgets and installed desktop applications.
But quick descriptions of scenarios.

Jon: At the meeting, I also proposed a strawman technical approach for how
the industry might pursue a unified technical approach. Before I describe
this strawman, let me first say that our thinking is that this strawman
will be put aside for a couple months as we articulate our use cases and
requirements, and then brought back and looked at again after April 30, to
see if the strawman is a good match for the use cases, requirements, and
security issues that we develop. OK, here is the strawman. I proposed that
OpenAjax launch an open source effort to develop a simple shim JavaScript
APIs for things like access to location, access to contact list, access to
email, access to phone dialer, etc.. Our JavaScript shim doesn't do
anything, but underneath the shim, other JavaScript would plug in to map
our shim APIs to other APIs that hook up to resident services. There might
be a provider plugin that maps our shim APIs to other JavaScript that
integrates with J2ME MSA. There might be another provider plugin that maps
our shim APIs to other JavaScript that integrates with Windows Mobile.

(some other discussion)

Jon: Any objectives to the proposed intense effort between now and April

Paddy: From our point of view, this is a good way forward. On the open
source area, we would be happy to work on the shim or work on
implementations that go to the device area. Are you aware of Rococo? I have
talked with them about joining OpenAjax Alliance. They helped to lead the
Java Bluetooth spec. They are an example of a company that might help the
open source effort focused on one particular API area.

Jon: Great to hear.

Andy: This proposal is along the lines of what Ikivo would like to see
happen. Ikivo volunteered me to be co-chair largely due to our interest in
seeing this effort move forward.

Jon: I created 3 new wiki pages to capture our work on use cases,
requirements, and security concerns. Right now those wiki pages are just
shells. I would like to have a call-to-action for people to fill out those
wiki pages between now and April 30.

Jon: Is everyone OK with weekly phone calls between now and April 30 to
work on the device APIs? I talked with some other companies, and they said
they would be willing to call in each week.

(general agreement with weekly phone calls)

Rick: What impact will this have on the white paper?

Jon: We will be doing two things at once. I am hoping that after today's
phone call, we will be able to make progress on lots of white paper issues
via email, but we shall see.

(discussion about phone times)

Resolution: Weekly phone calls at 9amPT, noonET, 6pm Paris each Thursday,
starting March 6.

White paper


Jon: It looks like only DavidP and I have made contributions lately. Anyone
else? (silence) My contributions have been to go through some of the
sections and propose new text that attempts to address the feedback
comments. Can we start with the title?

(various opinions about the title. most people are flexible. question about
whether we have enough meat to call it a developer's guide. jon thinks yes,
but only if people agree with some of the meat he has written for other

Resolution: Title = "Introduction to Mobile Ajax for Developers"

Tips for developers

Jon: I think it would be good to jump to the meat. In trying to figure out
a good way to organize this section, I thought it would be good to have
subsections based on the challenge area, such as small screen size, and
then propose techniques that are available for addressing the challenge.

DavidP: Exactly the kind of content that we would like to see

Paddy: This approach is better than the previous approach, which was more
intense and pessimistic. Better to describe things to think about.

Jon: I am only about half-done with finishing a strawman initial writeup
for this section. If this is a reasonable approach, I can finish the other

Rick: What is there is essentially an outline for filling out the rest of
the paper.

Andy: What can others do to help?

Jon: I might have left out one, two or three major challenges. If so, add a
new subsection. I might have left out an important technique within a
particular subsection. If so, add that technique. And there is always
improvements with wordsmithing.

Paddy: To be devil's advocate, there are a bunch of considerations, and yes
already know that. My problem is finding more detailed information. For
example, WURFL would help me understand device issues.

Jon: Yes, I agree, and we should provide some additional detail and links
to important resources, such as WURFL.

(question about whether we need to provide complete and comprehensive info)

Rick: OK if the 1.0 release provides good value but doesn't provide
complete answer. We can always update the document.

Jon: One additional detail I thought made sense was to talk about the
iPhone viewport. Everyone know what that is? (no one does, so jon explains)

DavidP: One emerging industry standard is quarter VGA, 320x240. Half of the
devices coming up support that profile. iPhone doubles one dimension to

Paddy: But people need to know. W3C says if you target a particular
low-res, something like 220x???, you get 95% of the devices. Good to
provide some sort of measure.

DavidP: Good point.

Paddy: If I'm targeting an iphone, go here. If I'm targeting more devices,
go here. Let developers choose their target, but help them with links
relative to that target. But if you want to discuss the iPhone as the state
of the art today, then explicit information about the iPhone would have a

Jon: Agree. iPhone should be a small part of the document, but worth
pointing out at particular points.

Paddy: Agree.


DavidP: I think the proposed text is good.

Andrew: Brief, which is good.


(no proposed text, no comments, so skip to next section)

In practice

Jon: I think the train example is good, but we need more. It talks about
the widget case. We also need browser case.

DavidP: Can we use the Google/iPhone example that Dave Burke showed in

Jon: Yes, that's a great example of Ajax.

Jon: I can take a crack at writing up Google as an example.

Andrew: Remove train example or augment?

Jon: I'm thinking the train example shows the use of the Web Runtime as a

Andrew: Sounds good.

DavidP: Is the objective to show how it exists today or how cool it's going
to be?

Jon: I think we want to reflect both evidence that it already exists today
but make sure users understand how cool it's going to be

Andrew: iPhone shows both evidence and examples of how cool it's going to

Next steps

Jon: I'll work on the WP between now and next Thursday to finish up more
sections. I'll send email as I make progress so people can review. Please
everyone else contribute also, particularly on the tips for developers
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