Developer Software

Amazon: Time to start programming your e-books

The dividing line between writing books and writing programs just got a big step blurrier.

That's because Amazon has now released tools for creating books using Web technologies. Those tools include Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), used to describe Web pages, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), used for formatting.

"Through the use of HTML5 and CSS3, KF8 allows publishers to create great-looking books in all categories, particularly those that require rich formatting and design, such as technical & engineering books and cookbooks," Amazon announced. Other features are well suited to graphic novels, comics, and kids' books, Amazon said. … Read more

More than Fire can dress up in Silk

The browser Silk may be native to the Kindle Fire, but one Android developer has discovered a way to transplant it to any rooted Android device, an XDA forum post from the end of December revealed.

If you're an Amazon.com addict but don't have a Fire, Silk could become your go-to browser. Silk is unique because of its "cloud acceleration" ability, which renders Web sites extremely quickly using a combination of the SPDY protocol developed by Google and computing power provided by its own cloud-based servers. Silk is also known for the ability to learn … Read more

Microsoft shoots down Google's Dart language

Google hopes to better the Web with Dart, but Microsoft has declared itself an opponent of the programming language rather than a potentially valuable ally.

Google hopes Dart will address shortcomings in JavaScript, the programming language that endows Web sites with some brains. In a blog post yesterday, though, Microsoft said that improving JavaScript is the way to go.

Five members of Microsoft's JavaScript team said the Dart sales pitch argues "JavaScript has fundamental flaws, and to support these scenarios requires a 'clean break' from JavaScript...We disagree with this point of view."

Dart got off to a rough start, … Read more

As Facebook buys Strobe, Tilde embraces its Web tech

Facebook has acquired Strobe, a startup focused on the open-source SproutCore software--but CNET has learned that a new startup called Tilde looks to be picking up where Strobe is leaving off.

SproutCore is a package of prebuilt JavaScript code designed to ease the creation of Web sites and Web apps, including those that work on mobile devices. Charles Jolley has worked on SproutCore for years, including for a period of time at Apple where SproutCore was used in MobileMe services, before striking off on his own to form Strobe.

Several programmers left Strobe in October to begin a new start-up … Read more

Apple's lossless audio format goes open source

Apple made its lossless audio format open source this week, allowing for others to view and change the code for use in their own software and tools.

As Daring Fireball notes, the format--which goes by the name, Apple Lossless Audio Codec (or ALAC)--adopted the Apache license yesterday.

ALAC was first introduced to Apple's Mac OS X Core Audio framework in 2004, where most users saw it as part of iTunes 4.5. It let users rip a CD into smaller compressed files without reduction in quality. Still, the resulting files are considerably larger than the more ubiquitous MP3, … Read more

Adobe updates Edge tool for easier Web coding

Adobe Systems has released its first update to Edge, a tool designed to help the company capitalize on the growing array of Web standards useful for bringing publishing and applications to the Web.

Adobe released a preview version of Edge in July and promised frequent updates on the way to a full-fledged 2012 product release. "This update has been focused on fit and finish--bug fixes and many enhancements to existing features that we think will make the product feel much easier to use," Adobe said in a forum post.

The tool has the potential to bring some of … Read more

Adobe Muse: Creating sites out of thin AIR

Adobe bills its newest Web design software, codenamed Muse, as coding-free site creation for InDesign and Illustrator users. And as far as the interface goes, the development team did a good job mimicking what it could from those applications using the lighter weight, far less mature AIR programming platform. But as I see it, in a market glutted with site creation tools for all levels of sophistication and budget, Muse looks like Adobe's first real chance to wrest designers away from using tools like Photoshop for designing and prototyping sites. However you plan to use Muse, it needs a … Read more

Google building Skype-alike software into Chrome

Heads up, Skype.

Shortly after releasing software for audio and video chat as an open-source project called WebRTC as open-source software, Google is beginning to build it into its Chrome browser.

The real-time chat software originated from Google's 2010 acquisition of Global IP Solutions (GIPS), a company specializing in Internet telephony and videoconferencing.

The obvious beneficiary for the project is Gmail, whose audio and video communications ability today requires use of a proprietary plug-in. Gmail chat is getting more important as Google's VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) efforts mature and integrate with the Google Voice service.

But Google … Read more

iOS 5 could fix some slow Web apps

It looks likely that Apple's iOS 5 will will address an issue that deprived some Web apps from a speed boost that came to the mobile version of Safari.

On iOS, Web sites and Web apps can be launched from an icon that the user places on the home screen from Safari. Those apps didn't benefit from a speed-up that came with Safari in iOS 4.3, though: the Nitro engine that runs Web-based code is written in the ever-more-important JavaScript language.

It appears iOS 5 could address this issue, though.

"Did they fix the bug from … Read more

Microsoft: Port your Android apps to Windows Phone

In an effort to get more developers on board, Microsoft has unveiled a tool designed to help Android developers port their apps over to Windows Phone.

In a blog post yesterday, Microsoft cautioned that there's no "magic wand" for Android developers that can automatically port their apps to Windows Phone. But the company is hoping that a new API tool, white paper, and other technical resources can take some of the pain out of the process.

The Android to Windows Phone API mapping tool is designed to serve as a translation guide for developers, comparing different program … Read more