Topic: widget selection / channel config on iPhone

I'm showing off chumby at a conference where I only brought my iPhone. The channel configuration doesn't seem to work on safari on the iPhone. Picking the dropdown items doesn't result in the multiseleftion channel boxes showing up. I'm not sure if the drag and drop would work, either.

I don't suppose there's a mobile or other simple version, is there? I'd like to show off widgets configured specifically for people here.

On the other hand, the forums are working fine.


Re: widget selection / channel config on iPhone

Currently mobile Safari and other mobile browsers are not supported for widget playing and configuration. The reason being the lack of Flash support on most of these devices. All widgets are Flash files and require the Flash player to be viewed. As for manging a channel, i.e. moving widgets order, the IPhone multitouch screen is to blame. The screen doesn't allow you to drag an object because it infers that you are dragging the screen around.



Re: widget selection / channel config on iPhone

I guess my thought here is a) I don't need to see the widgets on my iPhone, just select them to show up on chumby and b) it seems like it would be fairly trivial to have a non-drag/drop interface.

I may be wrong, but given that both problems are pretty solvable, it doesn't seem that absurd to think there'd be several useful instances where configuration via iPhone would be handy (say, the bedroom, where I'm more likely to have my iPhone but my computer is on another floor.

Of course, this becomes far less important when/if the chumby can be configured via its own control panel. I have to assume this is just a matter of time.

Re: widget selection / channel config on iPhone

Maybe a simple (yet optional)  html interface for adding/deleting widgets on the web site for those using mobile devices that don't support flash. I know I would love to be able to edit my widgets using Opera Mini on my Treo as opposed to breaking out my laptop, or going into my office to edit it on my tower.

Options are always a good thing.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Re: widget selection / channel config on iPhone

Here's the problem with using an HTML solution.

The configuration API uses XML to fetch and store parameters, and a typical configuration interface uses a collection of controls and images, although, since one has the full power of Flash available, they could have sound and animation as well.

Replacing this with an HTML-based interface would mean that the author would have to submit a collection of files, probably a mix of HTML, Javascript, and images.  The Javascript would be required mainly to provide the necessary pack/unpack code to support the XML-based API, but also to manage the UI entirely on the client.

To show this on our site, we'd need to mix this HTML into our page, and the Javascript would be running from our security domain.  Those of you that are familiar with web site security can immediately see the profound danger in this - allowing arbitrary Javascript code from an untrusted third party to run on our site.

One approach that Facebook has adopted is to require the author to use a controlled markup dialect (which they call FBML) and severely restrict the capabilities of the widget.  This is a possibility - at one point we were looking at adopting a high-level XML-based configuration dialog description which could be transcoded to HTML, Flash, whatever.  However, it was found that the bulk of what a configuration widget does is *functional*, which meant that we were going to have to have support for *some* programming language that could be executed entirely on the client.

So - what client-side programming system could we pick that would maximize the availability on the user's platform?  Well - the choices come to Flash or Java applets.  Well, our widget authors are already using Flash, it's a much richer media environment, and the use of Flash means that there's a strong possibility that the configuration widgets can eventually run on the device itself.

This does, however, put some devices that don't have Flash at a disadvantage - however, there's simply no solution that works for everyone. Even an HTML-based solution would require capabilities beyond the browsers included in many phones - a full DOM with Javascript, XmlHTTPRequest, etc.

When this decision was made, the iPhone did not exist, but even if it did, I'm not sure we would have made a different choice.  We're disappointed that Apple has not chosen to make Flash available on their device - hopefully that will change.

As far as Linux is concerned, as you probably know, we're pretty big Linux fans around here.  We expect this missing cut/paste functionality will be addressed, as many such inconveniences eventually are.

Re: widget selection / channel config on iPhone

Ok, now I understand ! Thank you very much for your answer !