App battles: Google hires Javascript community leader to push for Web apps

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Addy Osmani, an author who helped popularize Backbone.js, the javascript framework used for fast-growing mobile apps by Foursquare, Soundcloud, 37Signals and others, has been recruited away from AOL and will join the Google Chrome team, Osmani announced tonight on his personal blog. Osmani will join the Chrome team, will evangelize HTML5, Chrome and Chrome OS, and will continue his technical writing, just on a larger stage. A well-known figure in the software development world, Osmani’s hire is the latest in a series of high-profile developer hires by Google aimed at bolstering its mobile and web app ecosystem position.

Will Web, mobile Web or native apps on platforms like iOS dominate the future of the app ecosystem? Google is betting on the Web, of course, and hires like Osmani’s are an important part of that strategy.

Backbone.js in particular has evolved over time as developers have built bigger and more complex apps using it, Osmani says. Some developers say they’ve been hesitant to use it without a more sophisticated architectural understanding – thus the interest in accessible technical writing like Osmani’s. Commenters on his announcement blog post urged Osmani to continue writing.

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