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PreCentral: Patch scrollbars into practically every webOS smartphone app

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Patch scrollbars into practically every webOS smartphone app

One of the things we've been waiting so long for in webOS is something relatively simple, at least conceptually: scrollbars. They've marked your progress down a page in practically every graphical user interface since the dawn of the GUI with Xerox PARC back in the 1970's. But when webOS was introduced in 2009, there wasn't a progress bar in sight. Some third party apps, like the Enyo-based Paper Mache have added in their own scrollbars, and with webOS 3.0.5 the TouchPad browser also picked up its own scrollbar, but by and large webOS has been scrollbar-free.

Homebrew developer Isaac Garzon (isagar2004 in our forums) decided to do something about that shortcoming, and the result is a patch oh-so-aptly titled "webOS Scrollbars". Garzon had previously built a patch to add scrollbars to the browser, but with the new patch he's managed to add the scrollbar to most of the built-in webOS apps and practically every third party app.

The only exceptions to the built-in apps are five Mojo 2-based apps: Accounts, Contacts, Email, Exhibition and Photos. Everything else we tested, from Calendar to Memos to Web to Music to the other Preferences apps worked exactly as expected. Every third party app we tried out also picked up the scrollbars with no problem, including Music Player (Remix), Carbon, Preware, Feeder, JogStats, and Project Macaw.

The patch adds iOS-style scrollbars to Mojo smartphone apps, in that they're round-capped narrow bars that appear as soon as you start scrolling and go away when you stop. The scrollbars also adjust their size to be relative to the ratio of what's currently displayed versus the entire scrollable space. Both vertical and horizontal scrolling are supported, with vertical on the right edge and horizontal at the bottom (but somewhat distractingly floating over bottom-aligned onscreen buttons such as the back and refresh controls in the browser). The bars themselves are colored so that they'll appear equally well in almost all apps, with a transulcent dark gray body rimmed by a one-pixel white border.

webOS Scrollbars isn't currently designed to add scrollbars to Enyo apps, though Garzon plans to work on that after finishing up the Mojo implementation. Additionally there's still work to be done as far as getting the scrollbars to be supported in those remaining five apps (if you have any insights to offer, Isaac is listening). But for a work-in-progress we're still plenty impressed and looking forward to what comes next for this patch. Go ahead and check it out in the webOS Nation Forums (patches for webOS 2.1.c and 2.2.x) or in Preware and webOS Quick Install (just webOS 2.2.x)

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