On a number of occasions this weekend, while I was at the BIL Conference, I was asked the question: “Why are you doing the preDevCamp?” I thought it would be useful to provide an answer here.

With the ever increasing complexity of mobile telephones, we’re now carrying powerful computers around with us every. Unlike modern computers, the mobile phone has remained an arcane platform for programming. iPhone development requires a knowledge of Objective C. If you want to write for the Android, you’re stuck with Java. While these languages are hardly esoteric, they’re hardly an easy environment to use for creating simple applications.

I’m a firm believer that the greatest barrier to innovation should be imagination and not technology. The opening of the iPhone App Store presented the fruits of many a fertile mind; minds that had a good idea and coupled that with a sufficient understanding of Java to turn that idea into an app.

With the release of the Palm Pre, will come a new environment for developers. This environment is the webOS and applications will be based on HTML, CSS and Javascript. The number of developers who are comfortable with this development environment is vast, much greater than the number of Objective C developers. In addition to this, HTML and CSS are inherently visual languages, making te development of graphical interfaces well within the reach of the average coder.

I’m excited at the prospect of preDevCamps, because it’ll be an opportunity to see what developers can do when they are given the chance to spend their mental efforts on innovating instead of creating; the DevCamps will be run all around the world, bringing ideas together from cities ranging from Atlanta to Zagreb. Together, we’ll be able to demonstrate that the Palm Pre is a serious platform for developers and has a real place in market. Already, ideas are flowing on the discussion forums and we’ve only been going a week.

I urge anyone who is event the slightest bit interested in web development to take a serious look at the Palm Pre and joining a local preDevCamp. It’s a real opportunity to take the skills that you honed on the web and learn a brand new way to exercise them!