Dion Almaer is one of the best-known cutting edge developers focused on emerging Open Web technologies, like HTML5. When Almaer joined Palm just over a year ago, it was big news. Today Almaer announced that he and his long-time cohort Ben Galbraith are leaving the company to found their own startup.
Almaer spent time as the Open Web Advocate at Google and the Director of Developer Tools at Mozilla before taking a position as Director of Developer Relations at Palm. He and Galbraith co-founded the popular developer blog Ajaxian. Almaer used his announcement as an opportunity to make some strong statements about the importance of the Open Web.
From Almaer's personal blog:
We are so lucky to be in a position where a massive global platform is Open. If you look at our history with mainframes, PCs, and gaming consoles, they have all be closed proprietary systems. As developers we have been beholden to the vendors. When we are both aligned, things can work out, but as soon as the company has a change in strategy and we misalign, developers are often left by the wayside. This mirrors the world of dictatorships. If you could guarantee your dictator is fully aligned with you there is a good chance that the system will be far more efficient than a democracy. History has taught us though that 99.9% of the time this isn't the case. The Open Web gives us an escape valve. It has its own problems and complexities (just as democracy), but that is all critically worth it.
Being "open" isn't enough, and we need to have a platform that works for developers. We need to be able to make money. We need to be able to create amazing experiences for our users. The Web has a huge new challenge vis a vie the "app economies" out there, but it behooves us to all push the Web forward and make it work for us.
The Web has the opportunity to be THE unifying platform that can give us the best opportunities.
PreCentral, a leading blog covering the Palm Pre mobile platform, writes that the departure of these two leading developer advocates is just the latest of many severe blows to the WebOS world. That site also reports that the first consulting client served by Almaer and Galbraith will be HP, the new owner of Palm.
The news of their departure may be bad for Palm, but it will likely be appreciated as good news for HTML5 advocates at many other companies.
Photo from jsconf.