WebKit On Chumby Lets Developers Avoid Flash

[Huan Truong] was looking for an Internet interface for one of his projects. In this case it’s a temperature logger, but it could be just about anything. He decided to give the Chumby a try, but was turned off by its use of Flash as the app framework. He decided to open up more options by running WebKit via his custom Chumby’s firmware.

In the video after the break he shows the boot sequence and demonstrates his first app. The device runs through a screen calibration as it powers on. When the app comes up it looks and responds much more like an Android or iPhone app than the Chumby interfaces we’re accustomed to. This technique gives you pretty wide range of app development languages. That’s because all the Chumby really cares about is the index.cgi file that serves as the interface. Development and debugging can be done on a desktop (not that it couldn’t before but Flash development under Linux was always a pain).

It looks like this idea isn’t new, but we don’t recall seeing any other projects that used WebKit as an alternative Chumby interface.

2 thoughts on “WebKit On Chumby Lets Developers Avoid Flash

  1. I’m confused. Did Huan somehow get Qt applications to run on a Chumby?

    It sounds like he got WebKit to run. But I think WebKit is specifically/only an internet browser. And that there is a port of WebKit to Qt. And that is what is running. (Makes you think there must be a web page server running somewhere which is not mentioned.)

    I would be far far more interested in running Qt applications in general. Not just a web browser but any Qt application on a Chumby. Then … the possibilities would be wide open.

  2. First,… about your confusion. Webkit is a HTML rendering engine but the guys of Qt has managed to port it to Qt4 and made it an integral part of Qt4 now. So it’s something like a WebView control on iOS/Android.

    Second, yes, it’s full blown Qt4. Qt4 can run on embedded devices, where instead of needing an X server, it would just draw directly on the framebuffer.

    I could see where you’re going with writing Qt4, but I guess for most people having HTML+CSS+JS would be way simpler and easier to maintain. So the “launcher” is just a dummy app with a dominant Webkit frame.

    Youc an compile and debug your Qt4 app easily with QtCreator or whatever you do on Desktop, and then you just need to cross-compile the same app to make it run on the Chumby. You would need a cross compiler to do that, plus a properly configured Qt Creator. I have a Debian virtualbox image that is like 10GB and have all of that pre-configured. If you can’t figure out how to do it by yourself, send me an email and I’ll see how to get that image uploaded.

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