Palm has moved Ares, its Web-based development environment for WebOS applications, to an alpha release stage, a Palm official said in a blog earlier this month.

Demonstrated at the Open Mobile Summit conference in San Francisco in November, Ares is intended to enable developers to pull components together in JavaScript to build applications for the Palm Pre and Pixi handsets, which run webOS. A drag-and-drop interface is featured.

“We are starting with a fairly small pool and will be growing it, so I can’t guarantee that everyone who wants to will get access to it immediately but we’re now asking for volunteers willing to spend some time kicking the tires and finding (and reporting) bugs,” said Chuq Von Rospach, Palm development community manager. “At this point, Ares is in alpha, but it is fairly advanced Alpha. I’m really impressed by Ares; it is a really nice environment to program in,” Von Rospach said.

Palm had kept developers waiting on the webOS SDK. It was released to the public in July after availability had been limited to a select group of developers.