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Q: WHO IS THE BOOK AIMED AT AND WHAT VALUE DOES IT BRING TO THE READERS?
A: Mainly at Series 60 Platform based application developers. We believe that the platform will become a success, and as a result independent software companies, service providers, and network operators will want to develop their own applications for the platform. The book helps developers to learn to efficiently implement their applications on top of this platform.
The book will also be of interest to device manufacturers licensing the platform. It describes the possibilities and constraints of the platform and the principles of porting it to new hardware. We also took into account readers who just want to have a high level view of the whole platform. This kind of general view can be achieved by reading the introduction chapter of each of the four parts of the book.
Q: WHAT KIND OF BACKGROUND IS REQUIRED FROM THE READER?
A: The book is appropriate for readers with various levels of background and experience. Each of the four parts of the book starts with an introduction to a specific topic including framework, user interface programming, communications programming, and Java programming. Introduction chapters do not require in-depth technical knowledge and can be read by people who are not developing software for the Series 60 Platform themselves, but who have a business interest in the subject.
Q: SO HOW EASY IS IT TO START CREATING APPLICATIONS FOR SERIES 60 PLATFORM AND SYMBIAN OS BASED DEVICES?
A: In the beginning, theory seems to be more difficult than practice. Applications are actually software libraries executed by the Symbian OS application framework. These frameworks are different between UI styles, but it is very easy to learn a new one after being familiar with one of them. In practice it is possible to use the Application Wizard, which creates classes required by the framework for you. With makefile format it is easy to build software. After creating the framework classes, it is possible to start developing your own C++ code either using Symbian OS features or just ignoring them. We start the book by describing this process and the structure of the application framework using a rock-paper-scissors game as an example in the first chapters of the book.
The Series 60 application framework has been described in Chapter 8, which is a good starting point for developers having experience with Symbian OS. The chapter explains, in addition to the framework itself, how it differs from the frameworks of other UI styles. After knowing the basics, there is no need to read all the pages in the sequence. The reader may directly jump to a specific topic, for example, to grids, Bluetooth or UI design, if development requires special knowledge of any of these areas.
Q: HOW ABOUT CODE THAT HAS BEEN DEVELOPED FOR OTHER ENVIRONMENTS? HOW CAN IT BE MADE FUNCTIONAL ON SERIES 60 PLATFORM BASED AND OTHER, SYMBIAN OS BASED DEVICES?
A: The Symbian OS application framework has been designed in such a way that the user interface and other parts (engine) of the software are separate. Between devices it should be possible to use the same engine and the only required changes are made to the user interface part. It is important that new versions of software components are backwards binary compatible to ensure that the engine also works with future device releases. A central concept of the Series 60 Platform is that all applications can be directly run on any Series 60 Platform based device.
Q: WHAT IS THE NEXT GENERATION OF MOBILE COMPUTING GOING TO LOOK LIKE? WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE TEN YEARS FROM NOW?
A: One bottleneck of current devices is the bandwidth of the HCI (Human-Computer-Interface). You have sound, colour display with some resolution, and a keypad or full keyboard. One problem is the device size, if you want more bandwidth, you may need a bigger screen, a better keyboard, and so on. Given these constraints, I believe it is the user interface which must dramatically change before it is feasible to provide totally new types of services. The phone device itself could be a small box with one or zero buttons (to switch the phone on and off) which communicates with user interface devices wirelessly using a technology such as Bluetooth. The display can be integrated into e.g. sunglasses and may be stereoscopic. The glasses also have a microphone and earphones providing 3D sound making the sensation of being inside a virtual world more real. Keyboards can be replaced by speech recognition or a virtual keyboard, where the user sees the keyboard (and can customize it of course) in the display of the sunglasses. The glasses could include a camera integrated into the glasses recognizing a pen tip or user's finger position in the virtual keyboard. There are many ways to implement this.
When it comes to the applications, using an immersed HUD display as above, the 3D used currently in PC games could be brought to business use - instead of driving to work, stay home, switch on a virtual view of your office, and start working.
Wireless high-capacity short range network connects not only the user interface peripherals of the mobile phone but provides also a ubiquitous access to the user's environment. This should enable the share of personal data with other devices in a safe and secure way. In spite of imaginary devices, the value of mobile computing will not be the device hardware but the data it includes and this data is linked to the user.
Technically many of the problems have been solved, but the price of this kind of a system remains too high for consumer products. There are many issues affecting the road to 5th and 6th generation phones, but it will be an exciting ride.
Let's face it - nobody is going to code any advanced software for the 7650 using the SDK alone. This book complements the API reference material present in the SDK very well and... Read morePublished on 8 Dec. 2002
This first book on programming for Series 60 is a very comprehensive introduction to the subject. It seems to contain all the basics needed for SW development on Series 60 (except... Read morePublished on 8 Dec. 2002