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Question: Tips for Using HanDBase for Palm OS on Palm WebOS devices, Palm Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi or Pixi Plus
Product: Article Number: 354Creation Date: 07/15/2009
The Palm Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi and Pixi Plus are devices built by Palm, Inc that runs an operating system called WebOS. By nature, this device is not compatible with Palm OS applications, but thankfully there is an application available from MotionApps called Classic, http://www.motionapps.com/classic, to run PalmOS applications on it. HanDBase was tested and certified to run under Classic on the Palm Pre. The following are some common questions about running HanDBase on the Palm WebOS device:

Q: How do I install HanDBase to a WebOS device?

A: According to MotionApp's web site:

  • Make sure you have the latest WebOS and Classic update
  • Connect your WebOS device to your computer with the USB cable and activate the USB Drive mode on your WebOS device.
  • Copy the PRC file from your computer to the ClassicApps/Install folder on your WebOS device.
  • Disconnect your WebOS device from the USB port and launch Classic
Q: How do I install databases to a WebOS device?

A: There are two ways to install databases:

1. To the 'internal memory' of the Classic app. You do this by installing to the same folder: ClassicApps/Install (see previous question for more details). Downside is that once installed, you won't see it (at least in the current version of Classic) to be able to back it up or open with the HanDBase Desktop program.

2. Install to the 'memory card of the classic app'. See the next question that describes this process.

Q: How can I back up my databases from my Palm WebOS device? I don't see them on the mounted drive.

A: The current shipping version of Classic does not expose the databases that are stored in the virtual internal memory of the Classic app running on the Pre. I believe in technical terms they are all within some larger archived file, but nothing we can access at this point. So if you install a database using the steps outlined by MotionApps, you'll not likely see it in some folder on the mounted device. This is set to change, according to MotionApps who are developing a way to expose the internal memory files to the mounted folder structure. I'd expect we'd see this changed in a newer version.

However, the good news is that if a database is stored in the Classic app's virtual Memory card, it does get exposed (meaning, you can see and copy to and from the memory card). Since HanDBase 4.0 added full support for storing databases on Memory cards (even using categories and such with them) there is no reason not to store your databases there. Here's how you do it- two ways:

1. Install the database as normal using the steps outlined by MotionApps. When you run HanDBase highlight the database of interest, choose Tools and then Move. This moves the database to the memory card, in this case a 'virtual memory card'. After doing so, the database will show in this path when mounted to your computer:


2. Once you run HanDBase on your WebOS device for the first time, the above folder path should be created, which means for future database installations, you can simply copy the databases you want into this folder path and HanDBase will find and show them.

Q: How can I sync my data, or use my HanDBase sync conduit with my WebOS device?

A: The current version of Classic by MotionApps now supports Hotsync functionality for it's Classic App. Their support works with Palm Desktop 6.2 and allows for syncing over WiFi or Bluetooth. 3rd Party Conduits are supported however at this time DDH Software has not tested the HanDBase Condit with WebOS devices.

Q: Are you developing (or planning to develop) a native app for the Palm WebOS Operating System?

A: There are a few things to note before we can provide a proper answer:

1. The code used to write HanDBase for PalmOS was written in C and C++ and by nature was somewhat portable to other platforms. The database engine, encryption, calculation functions and more were all written such that we can port this to other devices as they allow.

2. The Palm WebOS SDK does not yet support compilation of C or C++ library code. All code must be written using Javascript and HTML5. These are languages familiar to many programmers as they are the basis for the web pages you run and use every day. This means while there are tons of C/C++ based applications that won't easily port over to the new platform without being completely rewritten, there is a whole mass of web programmers who now have a mobile platform they can write native applications. In some sense, they have passed the torch from veteran C and C++ developers to the next generation of web programmers. So there will be no shortage of new apps, but not likely a whole lot of existing Palm apps redone for WebOS, unless they either rewrite or Palm decides to allow for the compilation of native C libraries for use on the WebOS. There is a precedent for this as Google recently allowed this for their Android mobile operating system.

3. As of now, it's quite easy to view the source code of any application stored on the WebOS Operating System. This means that other companies can easily steal intellectual property of any application written for WebOS. This is something I'm sure Palm is working out at this time, but it's a big factor.

Based on the above, you can safely assume that we've done much research on the topic, and that we're not even able to begin development at this time. You can also safely assume that rewriting an application of such complexity and robustness as HanDBase will require many man years to develop for the Palm WebOS. It's taken us 12 years to get HanDBase for Palm OS to the level it is now in terms of functionality, and so it's not likely we'll have a native WebOS app any time soon. Based on these factors, we have decided to hold off on any decision for the time being. We'll continue to evaluate how well the current HanDBase for Palm OS works with Classic, and how many users are clamoring for a native version, and make a call to the best of our judgement.

There is a forum posting to continue tips and questions along this line of discussion: http://www.ddhsoftware.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=197

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