Yahoo! Mobile Blueprint

Last week Yahoo announced their new mobile platform, Blueprint. It was very gratifying to see that what they have built, is, like our platform, derived from XForms.

There are a few significant differences:

1) nothing concrete is available today but the XML schema for controls and elements.

That’s not a bad thing. I applaud Yahoo for publishing their roadmap in advance.

2) in “phase 1” of the Blueprint platform, no Model-View-Controller capabilities of XForms are present

This is a bit surprising. MVC is the source of much of XForms’ power. Clearly its coming eventually. But many developers may decide that the learning curve of another syntax is not worthwhile before they see the key benefits of the XForms approach.

3) the documentation says that XPath is not available now for data binding

Confusingly they say “the current Blueprint implementation, however, has a limitation of one model and one instance per page, so there is no need to include such details”. Even with one model, I still want to be able to use XPath to perform data binding. In other words, XPath is not only useful in a case of more complex MVC separation, where a view or controller may use multiple models. Its also useful to grab data from more complex single models, especially where the model (data) may be coming from an existing web service with a nontrivial mapping to your view.

4) unnecessary deviation from the XForms standard

Where XForms has a working syntax for controls or containers, we use it. We add plenty of proprietary controls and extensions as we need to.

5) the current set of controls is fairly simplistic.

As they put it “there are no spinning image cubes”. Well and good. They are phasing things right. We couldn’t use Blueprint today though to give the look and feel of the applications that we’ve built.

Overall I think Blueprint is a great thing for both the industry and for Yahoo. If I was a mobile developer without benefit of the Mobio platform, I would certainly start using the Yahoo platform over, for example, using a procedural Java-oriented, statically compiled approach like Android.

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2 Responses to “Yahoo! Mobile Blueprint”

  1. hi Adam… Great post. 🙂 I have almost gone through all the entries in your blog.

    What really intrigues me is, how open would be the mobile phone manufacturers be to let these mobile platforms expose really low level APIs like the ones that can let u make a call/ reject a call from your software. Would they support them when it comes to be able to control the mobile phone behavior itself via APIs. I wouldn’t want to buy libraries to do this from each mobile phone manufacturer so that my application works on all mobile phones possible. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Siddharth Khimsara

  2. Adam Blum Says:

    Siddharth,

    The appeal of our platform is indeed that we expose low level APIs from device manufacturers. But we allow developers to create XForms tags that work across all devices. This is indeed the same appeal that Yahoo Mobile Blueprint allows theoretically. We just have a much richer set of controls right now.

    – Adam

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