JIL on Android: Thoughts

The Android release of the JIL Widget Manager came out a little while ago with support for Android 1.6 and 2.1. You can download the Android (or Nokia S60) runtime here, listed under “Widget Run-Times”.


Installing the widget manager and runtime is pretty straightforward. You download the .apk file to your sd card, then install it as an Android app. (Installed as the “Apps” application). From there you can open .wgt files (using a file browser like Astro) and promptly install them with the widget manager. Configuration is more flexible on this runtime as it seems able to install JIL 1.2.x and 1.0 based widgets as well as Opera based widgets.

Now you are rocking the JIL widget manager on Android, time to see what it can do.

First Thoughts

The Android version of the JIL runtime and widget manager seems to be built upon Opera Mini’s widget manager with extra support for JIL baked in. This also means it’s a presto based rendering engine (unlike LiMo’s widget manager). Webkit would of been a much better renderer to go with in my honest opinion (like on LiMo’s runtime renderer), but building upon and leveraging the Opera runtime it can provide some extra capabilities for developers such as remote debugging (with Opera 9.64) and a baked in widget manager.

All in all I’m still very giddy to get my hands on this upcoming widget manager.

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Mobile Widgets – Dynamic Layout Example

This is the third post in our on-going series on Mobile Widget development. The first two can be found here:

Mobile Widgets – Persistence Cross-Platform Wrapper
Mobile Widgets – a primer

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen many developers gravitate towards using Position: fixed in their CSS to pin their widget’s header and footer to the top and bottom of the screen respectively. Although this method does work, it’s not the best, nor do all mobile rendering engines support it. There also seems to be a performance issue with regards to rendering. Scrolling content will often make the header and the footer flicker (very visible on the Nexus One using the new Vodafone Widget Manager).

In this article, I would like to present a different approach to solving the same problem. This approach will attempt to also solve the following:

  • Allow for dynamic resizing when switching between portrait and landscape modes
  • Render properly on different screen sizes
  • Render properly on screen sizes with different PPI (Pixel Per Inch) densities (supported, but not shown here. You’ll need to use CSS media queries)

This layout should work for JIL Widgets, Opera Widgets, as well as plain old HTML5 mobile websites.

Let’s get to it!

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Beta: A walk through The Ripple Emulator’s features

The Ripple Emulator Goes Beta

Update: For a thorough tour of Ripple in it’s latest form, check out the Ripple Docs here.

Today is the day we launch the Beta version of The Ripple Emulator, a browser based mobile emulator. So we thought we’d explain the current feature set to help you get started and on your way to building and testing mobile widgets faster. Before we get started, here’s how you can get Ripple and what you’ll need to know to run it:



  • You need to have the Google Chrome browser installed on your computer. You can download it here if you don’t already have it: http://www.google.com/chrome
  • If you’re working with mobile widgets on your computer, you’ll need to run a local HTTP server. This is due to an upstream bug in WebKit and we expect this requirement to go away shortly

Getting started:

We’ve created a Demo Widget that you can load into Ripple. The demo widget will walk you through all of the features currently available in Ripple in a wizard-like format. All you have to do to get started is:

  • Point your browser to: http://ripple.tinyhippos.com/demo
  • Click on the Ripple icon at the top right of your Chrome Browser (once you’ve installed Ripple, of course)
  • Follow along, to play with all of the features available in Ripple

Stay informed:

Along with the Beta release of Ripple, we will also be adding to our online presence with some goodies and help for the widget development community. Here are the various ways you can keep up to date:

  • The Ripple Product Site (which will be launching in the next day or two): http://ripple.tinyhippos.com/, here you’ll find information on Ripple as well as a community forum where you can interact with other Ripple users as well as get advice and ask questions related to mobile widget development
  • This Blog: We will continue to post about new features, provide sample code, and resource to help the mobile widget development community
  • Twitter: follow the @RippleEmulator and @tinyHippos accounts

Features of The Ripple Emulator (Beta)

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Mobile Widgets – Persistence Cross-Platform Wrapper

This is the second post in our series on building Mobile Widgets. The first post was an introduction to Mobile Widgets.

Mobile Widgets – a primer

In this post we will build a persistence library that works across multiple platforms and abstracts away the differences of those different platforms into a common set of methods.

Seeing that we are also about to release our Ripple Emulator, we will be using it for our testing to showcase the built-in persistence view and platform switching capabilities of the Ripple Emulator.

Lets get started…

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Announcing The Ripple Emulator beta launch – 20 days to go

Wondering what the tinyHippos have been up to for the past few months??  Well – if you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a local event in the Kitchener/Waterloo region where you would have been captivated by our demo…  then you are in for a treat!  The boys are finally ready to come out of stealth mode and show the world!

When are we launching?

On April 27th, 2010 tinyHippos will be releasing the Beta version of our “Ripple Emulator”.

Please join us for our launch party at The Barley Works in Waterloo, ON. Please get a ticket here as space is limited.

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