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  1. #1
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    Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Hi all,

    I am going to start to develop a new symbian app for full range of Symbian devices starting from S60 3rd Edition devices.

    Here are the platform requirements for the app:
    1. It should run on all the versions from S60 3rd ed onwards (fp1, fp2, 5th ed, anna, belle).
    2. All the UI is going to be custom. No default ui controls.
    3. One sis file for all devices. No different executables for different devices.

    Could experts suggest how to go about this kind of application?

    Which minimum SDK shall i develop upon to achieve all this? And which carbide c++ would be best to work with?

    Thanks
    Raj

  2. #2
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Quote Originally Posted by raj8nokiaforum View Post
    Hi all,

    I am going to start to develop a new symbian app for full range of Symbian devices starting from S60 3rd Edition devices.

    Here are the platform requirements for the app:
    1. It should run on all the versions from S60 3rd ed onwards (fp1, fp2, 5th ed, anna, belle).
    2. All the UI is going to be custom. No default ui controls.
    3. One sis file for all devices. No different executables for different devices.

    Could experts suggest how to go about this kind of application?

    Which minimum SDK shall i develop upon to achieve all this? And which carbide c++ would be best to work with?

    Thanks
    Raj
    For my personal experience (background exe, no UI), and assuming you are asking Symbian C++ and not Qt, you can use SDK MR for all 3rd ed, SDK 5th for 5th ed, and SDK Symbian3 v1.0 for Symbian anna, belle, refresh etc etc...
    Carbide 2.7 for 3rd and 5th ed, and Carbide 3.x for Symbian3
    You will end up with one exe for every platform, but you can create a single .sis with conditional statements into .pkg
    Even if you use custom UI, you will have to handle devices with only keyboard, or only touch, or both of them.

    Hope it helps somehow
    regards
    pg

  3. #3
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    yes i was asking for symbian c++.

    are there any special considerations that i should keep in mind for symbian^3? i have never developed for that.

    and is touch support available for s60 3rd MR?? i think its available s60 3rd fp1 onwards is it?

  4. #4
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Sorry, If it looks that I underscore you, but there are some worries about possibility to complete the project if you ask such questions.

    Anyway, answer is simple:
    1. To write general application for whole 3rd&5th line is possible develop with 3rdMR SDK. See example: Message In Time
    2. It's much complicate task for you, because only PRO with several years of experience could complete the task successfully:
    a) anyway, in worst case, you will derive from CCoeControl
    b) you must handle as soft key events as touch (pointer) events properly
    c) a play with control alignment isn't quite easy
    d) different resolutions with rotation are going to make your life not so bored.

    3. Single SIS - possible, single EXEcutables - it depends on functionality. Some features simply require another API, e.g. in FP2 or above. So you must have many phones for testing to be sure in proper workability.

    P.S. my team would review the project and complete it successfully. We've got much experience in Symbian (more than 7 years) and in 2007 we exactly were responsible for custom UI library for one large project.
    Contact Mobile Effort or me privately.

  5. #5
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Really?

    Anyway, the S60 3rd Ed. MR (Maintenance Release) SDK would give you something that may work (theoretically) across all Symbian based devices from S60 3rd Ed. and onwards. The FP1 SDK might do it for you, too, if you only need to target devices from S60 3rd Ed. FP1 and onwards.

    Note that touch screen support appeared in S60 first in S60 5th Ed., as did support for display resolutions above QVGA, so you might have challenges with thouse, if you rely on just the S60 3rd Ed. SDKs, and try to generate only one executable with graphical UI. Using OpenGL ES v1.1 code for the UI might solve the UI issues.

    So, try one of the "universal" SDK versions which still support FP1 and a Carbide.c++ release that supports that SDK (not sure what those versions would be; I haven't been very hands-on with Symbian for a long time).

    Also, why do you require a single executable for all devices? You could pack different executables for different hardware in a single SISX file and choose which one to install/run depending on the platform version (or device/model ID, I guess).

    Note also that even if there are devices based on the same platform release, it doesn't mean that all devices behave in the same way (and especially not, if you don't use standard UI controls, but roll your own using lower level APIs or OpenGL). In other words, you won't know that such an app works on a given device, without testing it on those devices. And with the range of S60/Symbian versions you're talking about, that means something in the order of 200 different phone models, where some of them might be still in use, but would be hard to get.

    And with OpenGL ES, you need to note that many of the devices have no hardware acceleration (Nokia had a roughly 2 year break when it did not bring out any new Symbian devices with hardware acceleration until the N8) and depending on the case, you need to make sure your OpenGL app (should you choose to use OpenGL) works even without it (if it is graphics intensive, you'll need to spend a lot of time in optimizing the code, I imagine).

    Note also that if you use old SDKs and tools, for newer devices, where things have been changed or fixed in newer versions, you'd be more or less totally alone in trying to find workarounds, of ten device/model specific workarunds. You really can't start with a "new" SDK - e.g., for Anna or Belle - and easily get an app that'll work reliably on older versions.

    I'm also curious why, in this time and age, do you wish to write any new Symbian apps, and why you need to target ancient versions, too? If you already do not know Symbian C++ well, but still need to target Symbian based phones, I'd just go with Qt and be happy with those models released in the last 2-3 years, and forget about older stuff.

    And unless you need to do low-level stuff, consider using J2ME, instead (that'll give you an app that might work also on Series 40 and other manufacturer's phones that support J2ME).

  6. #6
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Quote Originally Posted by raj8nokiaforum View Post
    Hi all,

    I am going to start to develop a new symbian app for full range of Symbian devices starting from S60 3rd Edition devices.

    Here are the platform requirements for the app:
    1. It should run on all the versions from S60 3rd ed onwards (fp1, fp2, 5th ed, anna, belle).
    2. All the UI is going to be custom. No default ui controls.
    3. One sis file for all devices. No different executables for different devices.
    Hi,

    What you're planning is doable, but a lot of work - I have one such application in Nokia Store:
    http://store.ovi.com/content/249885
    The app has one exe, which works on all devices from S60 3rd edition to Belle. Settings view and dialogs are the only parts of the app that use Avkon controls, the rest of the views in the application are drawn to one CCoeControl, which stays onscreen all the time, but whose internal "content view" (an instance of my own CView class) changes depending on where we are in the application. The content view may have child views, which may have child views and so on.

    When working on the app, I used S60 3rd edition FP2 SDK (which has a better emulator than the earlier ones, even touch event support can be enabled) and Carbide C++ 2.7. I haven't experienced any compatibility issues with older 3rd edition devices, but of course you have to avoid using the APIs that are not supported by them. However, you need to disable compression for SVG icons, as compressed MIFs are not supported by S60 3rd edition non-fp devices (or at least they don't seem to work). In general, I'd recommend using bitmaps instead of SVGs, as there are differences between devices and I have had a lot of issues with Inkscape icons not working correctly even after conversion to SVG Tiny.

    If you want to use APIs that are not supported by all the devices, you'll probably have to load the corresponding DLL at runtime (instead of linking to it during build) and calling the functions you want using function pointers obtained via function ordinals. I had to do this to support two different, binary-incompatible camera APIs, to use accelerometer and to enable multitouch on Symbian 3 devices.

  7. #7
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Thanks for all your suggestions and shared experiences. So, from all the comments I can see that its good to start with the following tools and sdks:

    1. Carbide C++ IDE version 2.7
    2. S60 3rd edition MR SDK

    I'm also curious why, in this time and age, do you wish to write any new Symbian apps, and why you need to target ancient versions, too? If you already do not know Symbian C++ well, but still need to target Symbian based phones, I'd just go with Qt and be happy with those models released in the last 2-3 years, and forget about older stuff.

    And unless you need to do low-level stuff, consider using J2ME, instead (that'll give you an app that might work also on Series 40 and other manufacturer's phones that support J2ME).
    petrib, even though its sinking but i would still appreciate the symbian s60 is a great platform to work with. I understand your points but actually its all about the requirement and symbian s60 still has a good penetration in the market. To reach that part, you need to develop your app on symbian s60 and that is the case with me. Its actually an on demand kinda application. I don't have too much but descent experience on s60 development but never worked on requirement like this and therefore wanted to clarify things. Previously I did work on apps but used to create different sis files for different feature packs. Anyways thanks for your nice suggestions.

    While Rostgrm almost made me feel low, Tongmuan brought me back up...just kidding!

    Thanks guys
    Raj

  8. #8
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Just sharing my experience in brief as what i did when i had exactly the same set of requirement:

    1) Used S603rdFP1 SDK & S605thEd SDK (which of course resulted in two different exe's but i kept the sis file common using conditional statements in .pkg file)

    2) Custom UI was used in the project, none of the native components were used. An important point to note while making custom UI is to provide co-ordinates of the different object you draw on screen to be relative to each other & dynamic in size( e.g draw object 2 relative to the position of object 1 & so on).

    3) Used mainly the system colors(& graphics like rectangles) for drawing on screen(specifically plain background etc), no images were used i.e. try minimizing the use of images wherever possible.

    4) Used SVG's , easily scalable with different screen resolution, of course depending upon how it was made(you can stretch/compress SVG's up to an extent after which distortion starts)

    5) Defined different fonts in Appui's constructL() & used those only everywhere in the app, instead of specifying again & again in each container.

    Rest i can continue to write more & more, but hoping the above points would surely help you while developing the app.

  9. #9
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Thank you vineet. Your suggestions are always helpful. You did made some good points. I will keep those in mind.

    There is another app that i am working right now and the /gfx directory size has already gone upto 14MB because of the images and the images are such that i cannot use system drawings for those.
    But i will do take care of that in future developments.

    Thanks

  10. #10
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    14MB is too much, all SVG's are there or what? ask the UI designer to decrease the size of images, they surely can do.

  11. #11
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    They are all BMPs and i know they are bigger then SVGs. How can i use svgs? I have used SVG as application icon by converting them into .mif. But i don't know how and where to add the SVGs and get .mbg enumeration for them. I guess we cannot use .mif in application drawing can we?

    Any suggestion from you?

  12. #12
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Quote Originally Posted by raj8nokiaforum View Post
    How can i use svgs? I have used SVG as application icon by converting them into .mif. But i don't know how and where to add the SVGs and get .mbg enumeration for them.
    If you used mifconv already, it generates the enumeration into the file you specify with the -h argument (h as header). You can do it in the makefile way (see scalable_icons.mk -or similar .mk file- accompanying many examples, including the ones in the SDK), or just manually (see an example for S60 3rd MR in http://www.developer.nokia.com/Commu...draw-svg-Image).
    Then load the images (and their masks - which is implicitly exists) with AknIconUtils::CreateIconL (prefer the image+mask variant), and use SetSize to set the size (when they are loaded together as suggested, setting the size for one will also set it for the other). Then BitBlt/Masked as with any other image (DrawBitmap works too, just it is preferable to do the resizing with SetSize as it really redraws the image instead of resampling the bitmap)
    I guess we cannot use .mif in application drawing can we?
    If you mean creating new mif files in runtime, that is not really feasible.
    Last edited by wizard_hu_; 2013-04-11 at 17:54. Reason: missing ] for QUOTE tag

  13. #13
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Quote Originally Posted by petrib View Post
    I'm also curious why, in this time and age, do you wish to write any new Symbian apps, and why you need to target ancient versions, too? If you already do not know Symbian C++ well, but still need to target Symbian based phones, I'd just go with Qt and be happy with those models released in the last 2-3 years, and forget about older stuff.
    Symbian still numerically the third biggest ecosystem based on installed user based.Symbian still have more users than those window,so it still make more sense to develop for symbian rather than window which only as usual,a popular product in american only.

  14. #14
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Quote Originally Posted by babylongreece View Post
    Symbian still numerically the third biggest ecosystem based on installed user based.Symbian still have more users than those window,so it still make more sense to develop for symbian rather than window which only as usual,a popular product in american only.
    Yes, there are a lot of Symbian based devices still in use. Question is, how many of those in use are still old S60 3rd Ed. devices (might not be that many)? And how many of those device users are still buying something from the Nokia Store? So is it really worthwhile to spend time develping for them? I suspect that most of the devices accessing Nokia Store these days are S60 5th Ed., and Symbian^3/Anna/Belle, and it is not worth the effort worrying about S60 3rd Ed. (any version), and easier to target the majority using Qt, rather than wasting time learning Symbian C++ intricacies now. (I'm not really sure how much money there's to be made in developing using Qt, either, but at least the app can be ported to the latest Blackberry devices, too, and those still using the Nokia N9.)

    It'd be much easier to decide which devices to target, if Nokia published data for each device model (which model's get downloads, whether the downloads are free or paid, what's the break-out per country, etc.). However, Nokia keeps such details for themselves.

  15. #15
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    Re: Need suggestions on a new symbian app

    Quote Originally Posted by petrib View Post
    It'd be much easier to decide which devices to target, if Nokia published data for each device model (which model's get downloads, whether the downloads are free or paid, what's the break-out per country, etc.). However, Nokia keeps such details for themselves.
    Actually some time back such data existed here in the Distribute section, a glimpse of that is here: http://mynokiablog.com/2012/07/03/no...e-120000-apps/

    If I remember correctly, it included the list of most popular Symbian devices(by app download number), most popular device being Nokia 5233, list of successful publishers was also there.

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