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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Is PyS60 really dead?

    Hi all!

    I'm attending Nokia World in London. You can see some pictures (including a few of my system, written in Python) in my Nokia World 2010 Flicker set.

    A few moments ago I heard, from a Nokia person at the hands-on lab, something that didn't quite surprise me: "PyS60 is pratically dead - they should make it official". Somehow, I agree...

    Please don't get me wrong, I like Python and PyS60 has many interesting aspects, but it's clear it doesn't attract many developers, and it is in a sorry state - with many open bugs that will probably never be fixed.

    After trying to develop a real app with it, I found so many problems and limitations that I believe it would have been better to take another path (Qt, perhaps), which could be longer but would eventually get me where I need to go, instead of forcing me to look for exits and shortcuts that just doesn't exist.

    For really quick, short and sweet apps, I think PyS60 is still worth a try, but I believe that for its own sake, its limitations should be clearly stated (in the docs) to allow developers to make a better decision about using it or not.

    Since I already invested a considerable time in PyS60 with my app, I'll probably try to finish it with auxiliary external modules or external C++ apps to circumvent the problem's I've found, but I don't think I'll ever use PyS60 for my next apps.

    Thanks for reading, and happy programming!

  2. #2
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    The writing has been on the wall for some time now. I jumped ship to Android six months ago for my main development, although I still try to stay informed on the Symbian side for the time being.

    Development wise, there is just no comparison between the two platforms. Android is just much easier and quicker to develop for. End of story.

    Raf
    http://www.bdcsoftware.com/development-blog

  3. #3
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    i kinda like python more than any other programming language
    but yeah your right pyS60 is almost dead but still it is the most spread solution for hobby devs in my eyes.

    I would like to see pyQT on symbian and not only on Maemo...

  4. #4
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    Personally I'm waiting for PySide (python bindings for Qt) + QML (for quick UI development) to be released for Mac OSX. That combination should be something special and - most importantly - it's alive Nokia sponsored project. Some releases has been made already, but it's waiting for Qt 4.7 release.

    http://www.pyside.org/

  5. #5
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    Hi, all.

    I have developed a few big applications in PyS60 in the last year.

    I personally have encountered the following bugs with PyS60:
    - the Bluetooth module is very buggy at the RFCOMM protocol
    - my application has crashed without a trace, PROBABLY because of the 3G internet connection (which is not 100% available because of the operator). Can anybody comment if they have encountered a similar issue?

    Could you please (AltoRetrato and the others) tell us what are the other bugs you have encountered of PyS60?

    However, I really appreciate PyS60, after programming as well a bit in J2ME and also in Java for Android, since it is a good framework for Rapid Application Development. Python itself is a great language and the PyS60 gives you means to quickly develop an app, as we already agree: I can really focus on the logic of the application. It doesn't have all the widgets that S60 or Qt have, but you can obtain decent results extremely fast, let's say 1 hour.
    Personally I had a less great experience with UIs for Android, where I spent more than 1 full day to create a form after another form and then returning to the first one with the result. OK, it was the first time I was doing this in Android, and also I am a poor UI developer, but it gives you the amount of effort one has to put.

    BTW, I heard that Nokia devices running Symbian^5 will not have the S60 UI, but the Qt UI directly. So there we clearly have a dead end for PyS60. Anybody knows when Symbian^5 devices will be released?

    Since I develop on S60, Android and feature phones, I have looked in the last months for a solution that can be as much as portable, but also to be able to use the "mobile extensions" and I came to the following conclusions:
    - Qt is promising, but although it's a mature technology for desktop, for the moment it only has mobile extensions for S60 and Maemo (and even there they don't support all features - for example, S60 Qt doesn't allow video recording as far as I understand).
    - the most supported languages on all phone platforms are Java (J2ME is the only option for feature phones) and Python. At the beginning I was surprised about Python as being available on many other phone platforms, but think of PythonCE on Windows CE/Mobile (ok, not great, but existing), PyObjC for iPhone, PyS60, PyMaemo. I don't know the details of all these Python frameworks/flavors, but I guess one could reasonably easy target a Python application to a different platform.

    So, I think that Nokia at this moment should continue the support (maybe they should SUPPORT FINANCIALLY even more) with the Py* languages, since programmability is a great ace to have in the portfolio. Maybe PyQt is the future, but maybe PyQt for Symbian can draw from the PyS60 source code and the 2 projects could benefit from one another.

    For an open source project project PyS60 has done well - we all benefit from the community, the docs that give good information, the existing "mobile" extensions and good guidelines for creating new extensions - yep, this days I'm battling with creating an extension, but I consider it as time that is well invested, since I would do C++ coding if not using PyS60.

    So I hope that the issue you have raised with PyS60 not to be only a problem, but allow the community and the important players to find a good solution that makes Python support better on (Nokia) phones.

    I'm waiting your feedback.

    Best regards.

  6. #6
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    rcu, you can see the official list of bugs (some still open since the end of 2008) at https://garage.maemo.org/tracker/?at...54&func=browse

    Quote Originally Posted by rcu View Post
    BTW, I heard that Nokia devices running Symbian^5 will not have the S60 UI, but the Qt UI directly. So there we clearly have a dead end for PyS60. Anybody knows when Symbian^5 devices will be released?
    Symbian^4 is not even ready yet, so a release date for Symbian^5 devices is anybody's guess...

    Quote Originally Posted by rcu View Post
    Qt is promising, but although it's a mature technology for desktop, for the moment it only has mobile extensions for S60 and Maemo
    The mobility API is very new and incomplete, IMO (specially the Multimedia API), but I understand this is a complicated issue. You have the powerful GStreamer in Maemo, but AFAIK there's nothing like it in the S60 (yet). So what should be done: create a common API with the greatest common factors (losing functionality on more capable platforms), or choose the "best" (or "most complete") currently available framework and port it to the platforms where it is not available (spending thousands of man-hours work)?

    I believe that today your best bet is to use Qt as far as you can, then add calls to the native platform when you need something that Qt can't provide. It can be ugly, not portable, but that's the reality...

    Quote Originally Posted by rcu View Post
    So I hope that the issue you have raised with PyS60 not to be only a problem, but allow the community and the important players to find a good solution that makes Python support better on (Nokia) phones.
    I also believe that a PySide port for Symbian could be a good solution for the future of Python on Symbian devices. OTOH, I'm not sure if Nokia wants to invest in Python, or how much the Symbian development community is interested in Python anyway. A quick look at the Development Platforms forums shows that the PyS60 one is the most popular among the Web Runtime Development discussions, but is very far behind Java and C++ (if it can be measured in threads and posts in such a simple way, but I guess it can't). If Python is so easy to learn and (can be) more productive than C++ it should be much more popular anyway, but in fact it doesn't seem to be the case... There are many possible answers to this, but instead of listing theoretical ones, I'll let you know the reasons why I am abandoning PyS60 for Qt and Symbian C++:

    - better official support (in the present and in the future)
    - better performance
    - better portability
    - better stability
    - complete functionality
    - larger community
    Yes, I'll miss the rapid prototyping provided by Python, but that's not as important as the factors listed above. If new developments change this scenario, I might give Python on Symbian another try - but I'm not holding my breath.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by AltoRetrato View Post
    rcu, you can see the official list of bugs (some still open since the end of 2008) at https://garage.maemo.org/tracker/?at...54&func=browse
    [...]
    There are many possible answers to this, but instead of listing theoretical ones, I'll let you know the reasons why I am abandoning PyS60 for Qt and Symbian C++:

    - better official support (in the present and in the future)
    - better performance
    - better portability
    - better stability
    - complete functionality
    - larger community
    Yes, I'll miss the rapid prototyping provided by Python, but that's not as important as the factors listed above. If new developments change this scenario, I might give Python on Symbian another try - but I'm not holding my breath.

    AltoRetrato, I agree with your point that PyS60 cannot be targeted for developing commercial applications.
    Could you please tell us the stability problems you encountered, at least the most serious ones. I am very interested to get a second opinion from somebody who tries/tried to write a complex application in PyS60.
    In my opinion the performance should be traded with the time savings you get when programming in PyS60. For example, in my case performance is not the most important criteria. And if I plan to have a time critical component, I might implement it as a PyS60 extension.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    i dont know why you think python is not stabil enough but i'm writting a 3D engine in python for 3rd ed and 5th ed S60 hardware accelerated phones and so far i can say i am only dissapointed in one thing:
    openGL ES implementation in python isnt that bad at all but the weak point is its missing ability to load png textures with the alphachannel and thats all i am missing so far.

    i could easiliy fill up the ram with 50 mb and run more or less complex levels in 3D on my N82 ( ~14000 triangles with 10 or more textures rendered per frame).
    so i kinda ask myself why nobody in pyS60 history used openGL ES, atleast i havent seen anything in the internet till now (except my work ).

    And there is another weak point that is not so important for me: socket/btsocket and its bt connection that is one big bug.

    But if you do not need BT for your idea you can create realy great apps in a realy short time.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    rcu and AJ____92,

    I've used my system developed in Python and it's actually quite stable now - after working around many memory leaks and other bugs, that is (most of them are in the list of bugs above). And spending time finding / working around bugs took away many of the time savings provided by Python... and so does writing modules to compensate for shortcomings in the PyS60 modules - like the camera module, which is basically useless in many phone models.

    I think PyS60 might be a very good choice for small hacks and simple apps, specially if you don't plan to distribute or port them to other platforms... otherwise, the many other development platforms available seem to provide a better foundation for larger apps.

  10. #10
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    AltoRetrato, please share with us the solutions to get away from memory leaks. I encounter similar issue and I didn't figure a way to garbage collect memory.
    Also, I experience crashes of my application without any exception. I don't think all these crashes are OS panic - I have 2 old phones (6120, N95) which I use for running the scripts. Sometimes they start moving very slow (20-100 seconds slower) without any reason, around the moment where I assume they read the C: or E: drives - this is why I was thinking that the crashes are maybe triggered by I/O errors.
    So far I wasn't able to find any traces. I am documenting a bit now from http://wiki.forum.nokia.com/index.ph..._catch_a_panic to figure out how to trace panics. Do you have any idea how can I do low level PyS60 logging (a stack trace dump, or maybe even a log of the Python bytecode interpreted)?

    Thanks.
    PS: Maybe I should start also a new thread on these issues.

  11. #11
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    I tried out symbian c++ and found it far too complicated and had problems with the emulators.
    pys60 was very appealing to me because it is fairly simple, but after making some useful apps there is no way to distribute them and
    bugs/memory leaks also made me give up. Nokia can never stick at something to completion, they keep moving onto the next thing
    with out totally developing it. Open source is the only way forward as it puts the power back in people hands, if the people want
    they can make.

    Had it been possible to publish to ovi store and features added / bugs fixed, it would of been a killer way to make apps.


    I still use pys60 for my own small apps and utils, but its not worth developing for a system that is so unsupported

    I would also point out that because of different versions any the way nokia starts and stops , rebrands etc. all the info
    to get up and running with pys60 was a nightmare, old info confused how to get started. Multiple sources of different versions I remember it took a lot of searching about just to find the info
    Last edited by mikiex; 2010-09-29 at 22:39. Reason: spelling

  12. #12
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    Hello.
    mikiex, you mention it is not possible to publish PyS60 apps to Ovi store. Could you please detail.
    AltoRetrato, could you please tell us which phones had problems with the camera PyS60 module?

    Thanks.

  13. #13
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcu View Post
    please share with us the solutions to get away from memory leaks.
    The real solution would be to fix the problems in the C source of the module that causes the leak. In my case I just avoided the functions that were causing the problems. Unfortunately this is not an option for many programmers depending on what they need/want their code to do...

    Quote Originally Posted by rcu View Post
    could you please tell us which phones had problems with the camera PyS60 module?
    The Nokia N8. I had to use the fastcamera module to get the camera to focus, but I still need to find a way to record HD video (since the camera module records video in the lowest possible res., and fastcamera doesn't provide video recording capabilities).

  14. #14
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    I just discovered Py60 recently and I am blown away with the ease of access it provides to the phone functions. Sensors, Camera, GPS, MMS, Text to Speech you name it.
    So far I am developing small scripts for my personal use but I think this is the killer app that puts Symbian over anything else, at least in my eyes.
    I just wish Nokia keeps supporting the technology because the potential is there. It is only necessary that the bugs need to be addressed and the people need to be aware of what Py60 can do.

  15. #15
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    Re: Is PyS60 really dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by zouR1 View Post
    I just discovered Py60 recently and I am blown away with the ease of access it provides to the phone functions. Sensors, Camera, GPS, MMS, Text to Speech you name it.
    So far I am developing small scripts for my personal use but I think this is the killer app that puts Symbian over anything else, at least in my eyes.
    I just wish Nokia keeps supporting the technology because the potential is there. It is only necessary that the bugs need to be addressed and the people need to be aware of what Py60 can do.
    Currently we have to wait for the new version of Python (PyS60 for 5th edition devices or higher end). So that Python developers can build application for the touch devices.

    Best regards,

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