If you really want to be impressed with a “WebWorks” style app look no further than the BlackBerry Bridge. Chris Smith from RIM confirmed for me that the BlackBerry Bridge on the BlackBerry PlayBook is rendered with the WebKit browser though obviously with access to more API’s. Other apps like Slacker for BlackBerry and the very popular Rogers Hockeycentral app are also both written using WebWorks on the PlayBook. Chris also confirmed that the BBM Social Platform API’s for WebWorks are coming in the next few weeks.
What really blew my mind is when I asked Mike Kirkup to give me an idea of the share of WebWorks apps in App World. He gave a rough estimate of almost a third of App World apps are built on the WebWorks platform. Even the traditionally Java based shop at Polar Mobile (the team that runs the BerryReview Mobile app) confirmed that they are using WebWorks for their PlayBook apps. The picture you see above is actually a running copy of their WebWorks framework for upcoming applications. It has all the animations and page flipping you would expect in a native app though it is all rendering in the WebKit engine.
I was curious what the adoption of WebWorks looked like in the enterprise market now that MDS is long gone. Chris and Mike noted that companies are using WebWorks to easily leverage existing assets into BlackBerry applications and the use case for enterprises is growing as they move past the legacy device barrier since WebWorks requires OS 5.0+. RIM had Andrew Terry from TouMetis who confirmed that they make all of their enterprise healthcare and finance apps in WebWorks and are very happy with the platform along with the direction RIM is taking it.
I also asked Chris and Mike if API’s will be coming to WebWorks at the same time as other platforms which is not currently the case. Right now the WebWorks API’s for BlackBerry Smartphones is built in Java and then they built the WebWorks API’s on top of them. For the PlayBook they are working on keeping the API’s and services separate in the native environment so that all of the platforms can access them without layering them one on top of the other.
Its exciting to see what WebWorks has in store for us in the future. I am actually almost done with a WebWorks app for BerryReview but I am trying to style it with the design guidelines RIM proposes which has proven a bit tricky. RIM is slowly embracing the different pockets of web developers out there from jQuery to Sencha to Dojo and I think we will see alot of movement here in the next few months leading up to DevCon!