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HTML Hierarchy, Release Plan & TeaVM

HTML Hierarchy, Release Plan & TeaVM

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When Codename One packages applications into native apps we hide a lot of details to make the process simpler.
One of the things we had an issue with is getResource/getResourceAsStream both of which
are problematic since they support hierarchies and a concept of package relativity.
That’s a concept that is problematic in iOS, generally everything about file access within the bundle in iOS
is a bit problematic to accomplish in a cross platform way because Apple tries so hard to “simplify” and ends
up creating fragmentation for us.

So we have our own getResourceAsSteam in the Display class and that works
just fine, but it requires that all files be in the src root directory and still has some issues (e.g. if a file has 2 extensions).
Unfortunately there is still one major use case that’s very difficult to adapt to this usage and that is html…
Web developers are used to constructing hierarchies to represent the various dependencies and use relative
links/references. This is pretty difficult to avoid if you use pretty much any framework out there and so it was
pretty difficult to embed HTML into a Codename One application since using relative references was downright
difficult…

We now have a solution: the html package…
Just place all of your resources in a hierarchy under the html package in the project root. Our build server will
tar the entire content of that package and add an html.tar file into your native package instead.
It will then untar it on the device when you actually need the resources and only with new builds (not on every launch).
So just place all your HTML’s, javascripts, images & CSS’s in the html package and the packages/directories below it.
Then you can use the web browser component like this:

try {
    browserComponent.setURLHierarchy("/htmlFile.html");
} catch(IOException err) {
    ...
}

Notice that the path is relative to the html directory and starts with / but inside the HTML files
you should use relative (not absolute) paths. Also notice that an IOException can be thrown due
to the process of untarring. Its unlikely to happen but is entirely possible.

Codename One 3.0

We’ve been really bad about releasing Codename One 3.0, we wanted to do that quite a few times but
things got sidetracked with the new VM and various other issues that prevented us from reaching the point
we wanted for release.

We decided that now is probably the best time to do it and we shouldn’t procrastinate further. Currently
the tentative release date is April 27th, but this might move based on issues. With that in mind we would
like to have a 2 week code freeze to improve stability and bring the docs up to date. So we expect to enter
code freeze on April 13th next week! This means some features/issues will be delayed to post 3.0 but we are also trying to cram as many fixes as possible
into this release and are working hard on the issue tracker.

When we release so rarely its a big problem and makes releases harder to produce, we are now thinking of
migrating towards a Chrome/Mozilla like release schedule and release every 3 months on a fixed freeze/release
schedule. If you have thoughts on this please feel free to chime in.

TeaVM

In a previous post I mentioned a Javascript VM port and this was misunderstood by some developers as
co-opting a separate open source project. Just to be clear, the work I posted about was based on
Tea VM and what Steve did was mostly create a Codename One
port on top of that. Steve went into details here
in his personal blog.

So why didn’t I just write TeaVM instead of making a generic Javascript VM statement?
We didn’t announce the product and I was not the technical guy involved, I’m neither familiar with the code
or the project/people involved so I preferred to just use a generic term. I assumed people would understand
that when we make the actual announcement/availability we will explain the technical details including the
role of TeaVM in this.

I apologize to Alexey, I had no intention of
minimizing or reducing the credit of your effort/achievement!

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