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  1. #1
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    Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    I've spent the better part of today evaluating what migrating our Symbian software to WP7 would require. I'm guessing others here may be doing the same. Here are some limitations I've found for porting our Symbian app to WP7, but I've found info on WP7 to be a little inconsistent. Anyone here with WP7 experience that can elaborate or correct me on...

    Are these correct for WP7?:


    • Users may not set custom ringtones (our app exports ringtones )
    • No OpenGL-ES
    • There is no support for third-party C/C++ on WP7 (unlike either iOS or NDK on Android - Our C/C++ code base would have to be re-coded in a .NET-supported language like C# or Visual Basic) (update: possibly no C# XNA on Nokia WP7 phones.)
    • You can't deliver any sort of native code library - everything is compiled to bytecode and run through a JIT-based VM. There are no intrinsics or vector-based instructions in the bytecode dictionary.
    • WP7 does not support third-party multitasking or background tasks. (UPDATE: Next release* to support third-party multitasking)
    • Third-party apps can not open network socket connections (UPDATE 2: Rumored coming in Q4 2011)
    • No support in browser for any streaming - i.e. no HTML5, no Silverlight, no Flash. (UPDATE: Next release* to include streaming in browser) (UPDATE 2: Browser can/will launch a separate media player to play MP4 files.)
    • Publishers are limited to a maximum of 5 free apps (UPDATE: $99 to publish up to 5 free apps, $20 each afterward)
    • OBEX is not supported
    • Only languages supported are: English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish (Q3/Q4 2011 will add Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and simplified Chinese)
    • Currently Apps can only be sold in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK and United States
    • No performance profiler, no memory profiler.

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    *Update: Next Release info: According to here:

    …my sources tell me that the first mega-patch for Windows Phone has sat undeployed on Microsoft’s servers because the software giant’s wireless carrier partners–contrary to another unfulfilled promise–have refused to OK it for release.
    Hmmm....creating the most carrier-friendly smartphone OS apparently has some side effects.

    (UPDATE 2: Doug Simmons speculates this is so carriers can fix their in-house software to deal with changes caused by adding cut-and-paste features.

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-

    Here's an interesting SDA point:

    5e. The Application must not include software, documentation, or other materials that, in whole or in part, are governed by or subject to an Excluded License, or that would otherwise cause the Application to be subject to the terms of an Excluded License.

    "Excluded License" is defined as:

    “Excluded License” means any license requiring, as a condition of use, modification and/or distribution of the software subject to the license, that the software or other software combined and/or distributed with it be (i) disclosed or distributed in source code form; (ii) licensed for the purpose of making derivative works; or (iii) redistributable at no charge. Excluded Licenses include, but are not limited to the GPLv3 Licenses. For the purpose of this definition, “GPLv3 Licenses” means the GNU General Public License version 3, the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3, and any equivalents to the foregoing.

    It would be nice if there was a provided list of excluded licenses. "in part redistributable at no charge" takes out a lot of libs.
    Last edited by proberts; 2011-02-20 at 06:25. Reason: Updates from Doug Simmons forum

  2. #2
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    Mostly yes. However there is Direct X 9, and there is a .Net language called "Managed C++" or something similar.

  3. #3
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    I do not think there is a way to use Managed C++ for WP7 development. Everything is sandboxed through managed .NET.

  4. #4
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    NO C++ on WP7, unless you are called Samsung.

    C# only, and maybe VB but that is not complete so far.
    The lines above are the best I have to offer.If anyone of you is of more advanced knowledge, I ask for your patience and understanding! - unknown arab poet
    http://www.tamoggemon.com - Symbian blog - Windows Phone blog
    My other blogs:
    webOS blog iPhone blog BlackBerry blog Samsung bada blog Android blog

  5. #5
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    So, any volunteers for shoe throwing ?

  6. #6
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    I am no .Net coder, but as far as I know, .Net languages are generally equal. At the very beginning there were demonstrations showing C#, Managed C++ and VB.Net compilers producing the same MSIL code (of course that was just a demo).
    Google quickly brings a discussion from StackOverflow, which reports that the C++/CLI compiler uses "unsafe" IL instructions by default, but it can be disabled.
    It is an other thing that C# is the only supported language, thus all documentation, examples, etc. are using it. But the original question was about re-using existing code.

  7. #7
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    Post Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    Migrating to c# from c++ is quite easy.

    I don't know about WP7 limitations but its hard to imagine Microsoft will limit its "cutting edge" (supposed to be) operating system to a non multi-tasked system.

    Its main goals are to crack the well tight market which is controlled by ios and android.

    It must be faster than symbian, must be cooler than ios and must be prettier than android, otherwise you can call it a failure right now.

    Anyway, writing a c# app is much easier, and faster than any c++ program.

  8. #8
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    Quote Originally Posted by max2005b View Post
    I don't know about WP7 limitations but its hard to imagine Microsoft will limit its "cutting edge" (supposed to be) operating system to a non multi-tasked system.
    From "Why multitasking is missing on Windows Phone 7" dated Sept 16, 2010

    ...you can’t actually RUN several applications at one time, so it’s not a true multitasking OS. Instead developers are forced to manually save the state of an application when the application is navigated away from and load the state back to give the user the illusion that the app was running all the time....


    It must be faster than symbian...
    Apps are restricted to bytecode in a JIT-based VM. They can't be faster (or more efficient) than native code on Symbian by definition.

    Migrating to c# from c++ is quite easy....Anyway, writing a c# app is much easier, and faster than any c++ program.
    When I ported our Symbian app (that was ported from Linux) to iOS, 50,000 of the 55,000 lines of C/C++ code compiled straight over. All I had to do was import them into the Xcode project. Same for Bada and nearly the same for Android with the NDK. That was pretty easy and fast.

  9. #9
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    Supported Languages

    I can't find any information to the contrary. This is from Feb 11, 2011:

    During initial availability, Windows Phone 7 will support 5 languages; English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. The Windows Phone Marketplace will support the buying and selling of applications in 17 countries; Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK and United States

    I found this announcement from Jan 10, 2011:

    According to Microsoft Senior Product Manager for Windows Phone Greg Sullivan, Windows Phone 7 will be adding 5 new languages to its current supported languages in the second half of 2011...Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and simplified Chinese.

    (I'll offer a facepalm.jpg for the lack of Finnish.) Though I suppose Nokia can offer additional language support on their WP7 phones, provided the OS supports it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    * OpenGL is not a problem, there's DirectX 9 with very similar if not identical functionality
    * C++ can be converted to .NET without much headache... and NO, C# is not the only alternative. Vb.net, A#, J# whatever # you can think of is supported. All the dev is done in VS anyways
    (the sample code in C# is for reference as most devs would be able to read it out of similarity); the packages that you distribute are already compiled into .net
    * The issue about the new code being faster than Symbian, well, the "change" license that Nokia got covers that, if you want to devel natively, I'm sure MS would supply the proper docs.
    * If you follow current events, MS announced @MWC that they got a patch ready to add support for multi-tasking, copy/paste, etc... The whole holdup is with providers...
    * IE9 is coming to WP7 within the next couple of months... It adds support for HTML5, Silverlight/Flash... Adobe would be releasing their Flash 10.1 within that time-frame.
    * Publishers are NOT limited to a max of 5 free apps... Read it carefully... 5 free apps are the limit for Homebrew developers. If you pay the Developer fee you can release whatever app you want, free, paid, and whatever the count you want.
    * The language limit is based on the markets... Support for Chinese, Russian, Portuguese/Brazil, Japanese, and Korean is expected for Q2 2011.

    As for ringtons, not sure how to reply to that...

    With this said... As a developer, you should have no problems addressing all of the "issues" you raised. I migrated code from Android to WP7 no problem, concepts the same.

    Nokia made the right decision ditching Symbian, it is a dying platform... Loosing > 20% market share over the past few years clearly shows that they need to look elsewhere.

  11. #11
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    ildo, so do I understand correctly, that with WP7, you need to code around various limitation and differences unlike almost any other platform (and actually differences are not based on standards but proprietary tech)? Also you pay for the privilege to code for that inferior platform?

    How nice! it's like coding for PCs and 75% of the time it takes to port for windows... and then for every new release of windows...

  12. #12
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ildo View Post
    * OpenGL is not a problem, there's DirectX 9 with very similar if not identical functionality
    Functionally comparable, but no source code reuse (totally different codebases to develop and maintain + the hassle with graphics assets, textures, shaders, etc.).


    Quote Originally Posted by ildo View Post
    The language limit is based on the markets... Support for Chinese, Russian, Portuguese/Brazil, Japanese, and Korean is expected for Q2 2011.
    I don't know about maemo/MeeGo, but Symbian/S60 (including Symbian^3) already support some 90-100 languages on its own (not all app/game developers support all of them, of course). Some catching up to do there for Microsoft, to satisfy Nokia who is selling phones in close to 200 countries today.

  13. #13
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ildo View Post
    * OpenGL is not a problem, there's DirectX 9 with very similar if not identical functionality
    * C++ can be converted to .NET without much headache... and NO, C# is not the only alternative. Vb.net, A#, J# whatever # you can think of is supported. All the dev is done in VS anyways
    (the sample code in C# is for reference as most devs would be able to read it out of similarity); the packages that you distribute are already compiled into .net
    * The issue about the new code being faster than Symbian, well, the "change" license that Nokia got covers that, if you want to devel natively, I'm sure MS would supply the proper docs.
    * If you follow current events, MS announced @MWC that they got a patch ready to add support for multi-tasking, copy/paste, etc... The whole holdup is with providers...
    * IE9 is coming to WP7 within the next couple of months... It adds support for HTML5, Silverlight/Flash... Adobe would be releasing their Flash 10.1 within that time-frame.
    * Publishers are NOT limited to a max of 5 free apps... Read it carefully... 5 free apps are the limit for Homebrew developers. If you pay the Developer fee you can release whatever app you want, free, paid, and whatever the count you want.
    * The language limit is based on the markets... Support for Chinese, Russian, Portuguese/Brazil, Japanese, and Korean is expected for Q2 2011.

    As for ringtons, not sure how to reply to that...

    With this said... As a developer, you should have no problems addressing all of the "issues" you raised. I migrated code from Android to WP7 no problem, concepts the same.

    Nokia made the right decision ditching Symbian, it is a dying platform... Loosing > 20% market share over the past few years clearly shows that they need to look elsewhere.
    Boy, are you optimistic...

    Also, what we keep hearing is how WP7 will catch up with Symbian features some time in 2012. What's the point of going over to WP7 if its so far behind?

  14. #14
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    Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Nujabrn View Post
    ildo, so do I understand correctly, that with WP7, you need to code around various limitation and differences unlike almost any other platform (and actually differences are not based on standards but proprietary tech)? Also you pay for the privilege to code for that inferior platform?

    How nice! it's like coding for PCs and 75% of the time it takes to port for windows... and then for every new release of windows...
    It depends on how you look at it. The entire confusion about 5 apps comes down to the Marketplace. you are allowed 5 free apps to exist in Marketplace before you have to pay the "developer" fee, which is a 1 time fee. I do not recall what google charges to put apps in the app store, and I got no clue what crapple does.

    About inferior platform, look at iphone, it is inferior (ALOT) to android, and it is proprietary. No one has a fuss about that. When you migrate code from iphone to android and back, you do have to, as you put it,
    code around various limitation and differences, proprietary tech
    ... That's the whole beauty of different platforms, you learn things, you adapt

    As for windows desktop os... look around! Linux didn't move anywhere, windows is still the monopoly. If you want to make $$$ you code for it. There's no $ in developing for Linux unless it's for academia or something similar to that. OSX is a niche market. There's a reason why most corporate IT put windows on their employee's desktops/laptops, it just works (now this is an energizer commercial )
    When was the last time you've seen a Linux only release? or a Mac only release? even cApple released their tools for windows. The $ is with windows, and it looks like it's there to stay.

    Ok, so enough about desktops... WP7 has potential, lets see what changes come with the NoDo and Mango updates. In the mean time, the API, though not perfect, looks adequate. Remember, this OS has been around for less than 4 months, it bound to have limitations, which in time would be addressed.
    Play with the API, look at the free versions of Visual Studio (C#, VB.net), download the free SDK... and well, use the WP7 emulator. You really don't need to invest in the hardware itself.

    It all comes down to preference. Either you like it, or you don't. don't dis something blindly without trying it first.
    I, for example, hate Solaris, but love AIX. Both are UNIX based, and used both.

  15. #15
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    Smile Re: Symbian C++ to WP7 migration questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MWillits View Post
    Boy, are you optimistic...

    Also, what we keep hearing is how WP7 will catch up with Symbian features some time in 2012. What's the point of going over to WP7 if its so far behind?
    I sure am optimistic. I'd really love to see how this plays out for Nokia... Symbian won't die, no way Nokia will ditch it like that, they still going to put it in low cost phones (something for 10-20bux).
    The 2012 that you keep hearing is the date when Nokia expects to release their 1st WP7 phone. I'm sure by then, they would implement everything they need to match features with Symbian. 1 yr is plenty of time.

    Android, not to talk about iphone, don't really match Symbian features either. iphone got no multitasking as I'm concerned. Android done a poor job as well. WinMo had full multitasking, but well, running 100apps at the same time slowed it down.

    So yep, a ton of catching up to do. It won't happen overnight, but then Nokia dumping Symbian won't happen overnight either

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