Dianbao: A Telegram client for webOS and a judgement call

Instant messaging on webOS has just about been reduced to Google Chat (2.x and up) and SMS here in 2017. Trying to solve the “what to use for instant messaging” question, developer Gan Theng Hwee, ported an app he wrote for BlackBerry 10 to webOS.  The app is Dianbao for Telegram and (duh) is a Telegram client.

Gan actually won $5000 for his work on porting the Telegram desktop client to BlackBerry 10.

We actually talked about Dianbao for webOS when it was released in our News Crumbs but the app was updated a couple times after that and developed what can best be described as a necessity to make a judgement call.

A judgement call

The judgement call stems from the app source code.  The Telegram desktop client is based on GPL source code which is open source software.  Since Gan wrote the BlackBerry 10 app from that source code he can’t distribute it without releasing the source code upon request. Unfortunately, he also wrote a significant portion of the app in proprietary code that he does not wish to share.  The result is he pulled the app from his personal website but left it in Preware. So…if you want it, it’s there.

This dilemma was pointed out by pcworld on the forums.  pcworld went on later to divulge he had begun reverse engineering the application to convert it to open source code. But like all side projects, real life tends to get in the way so until it’s completed to a state pcworld is comfortable with, you can feel free to make the judgement call.

How well does the app work?

Pretty well actually IF you have a Pre 3 or a TouchPad with a bluetooth keyboard attached. The Veer tries its little heart out to work but you just can’t see anything on that tiny screen thanks to the app not scaling well. The app will not function at all on a Pre 2 or earlier device even with webOS 2.2.4.

I was able to setup an account using my Pre 3 and get started chatting right away. Check out the gallery below.

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You can read about it and discuss it here.