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Archived:WidSets Scripting Language

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Archived.pngArchived: This article is archived because it is not considered relevant for third-party developers creating commercial solutions today. If you think this article is still relevant, let us know by adding the template {{ReviewForRemovalFromArchive|user=~~~~|write your reason here}}.

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Article Metadata
Created: User:Copyeditor 1 (02 Jun 2008)
Last edited: hamishwillee (02 Jul 2012)



  • A strongly typed widget ”scripting” language
  • Needed due to the lack of ClassLoaders on mobile information device profile (MIPD) 2.0 platform. Without ClassLoader it is impossible to import new .class files (=functionality) into already installed application.
  • Needed to mimize the use of resources
  • Enchances the widget programming experience
  • It has a look and feel of Java programming language and should be immediately familiar to any Java developer

You can find the online WidSets API documentation here.

Design principles

  • Low memory footprint
  • Low codesize footprint
  • High performance
  • Minimum or no use of wrapper objects
  • Familiar syntax
  • Easily extendable/replaceable API
  • Applicable for other domains as well, for instance, server side

WidSets Scripting Language (WSL) concepts

800px-Helium concepts.png

See the image for the idea behind the WSL concept.


What's similar


/* comment here*/
// another comment


;             // line ends
”lorem ipsum” /* string */
’\n’          /* character, produces int */
123456        /* integer */
0777777       /* octal */
0xcafebabe    /* hexa */
0b101010101   /* binary */


if else while do for switch
case default return break continue 
foreach [Java5]


+   -   *   /   %   &   |   ^   <<   >>   
+=  -=  *=  /=  %=  &=  |=  ^=  <<=  >>=
<   <=  >   >=  ==  !=
!   &&  ||  
++  --  ~
instanceof new

What's missing

No access qualifiers

public protected private 
static synchronized 
abstract transient volatile 
native strictfp
  • Except ”final”, it can be used for both Widget- and local variables

No user defined classes

  • The whole script is like a class
  • ”Member” variables live for the duration of client run
  • Initializers are executed just before invoking first widget callback

No import

  • All API declarations are directly accessible

No exception handling

  • When needed error handling can be done with return codes
  • Any exception will terminate run and generate error

No floating points

  • Not available in MIDP 2.0

No language level support for Java-style array[] syntax

  • Operator overloading allows close enough emulation
ByteArray init_rc4(ByteArray key)
  ByteArray perm = new ByteArray(256);
  for(int i=0; i<256; i++) { 
    perm[i] = i;
  int j = 0;  
  for(int i=0; i<256; i++) {
    j = (j + perm[i] + key[i % key.length()]) & 0xff;
    perm[i], perm[j] = perm[j], perm[i];
  return perm;

What's different

Flow-control statements break and continue do not support labels

  • Rarely needed.

Limited set of primitive types:

boolean char int long

Local variables must be introduced with an assignment

  • Like Java, variables exists on the scope they are declared
void test()
  int j; /* error, missing assigment */
    int c = 0;
    int d = c; /* error, 'c' is not visible here */

Widget variables can be left unassigned.

  • Object references will default to null, numbers to 0 and boolean to false
  Object foo;

  void test()
    if (foo == null) {
      printf("It's null allright");

What's new

Shell style comments

# crazy thunk

Binary literals

int i = 0b101010101;

XOR operator: ^^

  • Oh well, it’s actually equal to !=
  • But looks l33t

Constants – with primitive and String types

const int MAX = 100;
const String PASSWORD = "n00Bh2xöR";

Typedef - type definition

  • Define your own function prototypes
  • Like a single-function interface (Java) that can be declared as function parameter or return value
  • WSL API has predefined Callback prototypes for event handling, which can be used from WSL code too
typedef int Arithmetic(int a, int b);
int add(final int a, final int b)
  return a+b;
void test()
  Arithmetic a = add;
  int c = a(10, 20); // -> not needed


boolean break 
case class const continue 
default do 
false for foreach 
if instanceof int 
new null 
struct switch 

Supported types


boolean /* true/false     */
char    /* character      */
int     /* signed 32 bit  */
long    /* signed 64 bit  */

Boolean is internally handled as int.

Any classes declared on API

  • Handling of non-primitive types is similar to Java
  • == and != operators compare the identity of objects
  • Method boolean Object.equals(Object) compares the actual object contents


Implicit casting occurs if possible.

Any primitive converts to any other primitive

  • Even if it would be narrowing (e.g. long  int)

Explicit casting is different

Object f = ...;
Gizmo g = Gizmo(f); /* whoa, looks like an function call */
boolean b = ...;
int zeroOrOne = int(b);

Benefit of this syntax is reduced noise and chaining:

Object f = ...;
int length = String(f).length();
/* ugly java style: ((String)f).length(); */

On assignments, super type is promoted to sub type automatically

Object a = ...;
String b = a; /* yep, that’s right ! */

Contrary to Java, the casting is purely a compile time feature

  • For performance reasons, it is not reflected on byte code.
  • All casts always succeed but the problems may raise later:
List a = new List();
Object b = a;
String c = String(b);
int i = c.length(); /* Croak! ClassCastException */

NullPointerException has similar sematics as well.

On the previous example, this is what happens

/* byte code */
aload $1 /* b */
astore $2 /* c */
aload $2 /* c */
invoke_native1 #40 /* int String.length() */

/* jump to Java */
public int invoke(int sp, int[] istack, Object[] astack, long[] lstack, int method) {
  switch(method) {
  case 40: 
     /* int String.length() */
     istack[sp] = ((String)astack[sp]).length(); /* Croak! ClassCastException */
     return 0;

Method resolution

When selecting target method for invocation, all arguments are checked.

There are four match categories:

  • Exact match
    • Source and target are equal.
  • Close match
    • Source and target are primitives.
    • Target is super type of source.
  • Loose match
    • Source is null and target is class.
    • Source is any and target is a String.
    • Source is string and target is primitive.
    • There exists cast operator from source to target.
  • No match

Result of argument list is equal to the ”worst” match. If there are multiple matches on same category, ambiguity is presented as to user. However, the resolution is quite natural - only some rare situations require explicit casts


  • Functions may return multiple values - tuples.
  • Returned tuples may be embedded to function call arguments and return values.
  • Opportunity to use stack instead of heap for temporary containers.
  • Tuples can be used on both sides of assigment, for example, to swap values.
String, int getNameAndAge() {
  return "John", 27;

int, int sort(int a, int b) {
  if (a<b) {
    return a, b;
  } else {
    return b, a;

void test() {
  int age, String name = getNameAndAge();
  printf("name=%s, name=%i", getNameAndAge());
  int x, int y = sort(random(100), random(100));
  printf("x=%i, y=%i", x, y);
  x, y = y, x; 


  • Behave like the Java-classes with public fields and no methods.
  • instanceof does not work due to lack of RTTI
struct Celestial
  String name;
  int diameter;
  List satellites;

Celestial newBody(String name, int diameter)
  return newBody(nane, diameter, new List());

Celestial newBody(String name, int diameter, List satellites)
  Celestial c = new Celestial() = name;
  c.diameter = diameter;
  c.satellites = satellites;
  return c;

void test()
  Celestial solarSystem = newBody("Sun", 696000, 
    new List().add(newBody("Mercury", 2439))
              .add(newBody("Venus", 6051))
              .add(newBody("Earth", 6371)));

Widget functions

Widget functions can be divided into several categories based on their functionality.

Interfaces to handle the widget’s lifecycle

 void startWidget();
 void stopWidget();

When the WidSets mobile client is opened, the startWidget() function is called for all widgets installed on the client’s dashboard. In most cases, you should implement this function to create the widget’s minimized view to be displayed on the WidSets dashboard.

The stopWidget() function is called whenever a widget is reloaded or removed from the dashboard or when the WidSets client is terminated. You should implement this function to release system resources (if any) before the client is terminated.

 Shell openWidget();
 void closeWidget();

The openWidget() function is called when the user selects a widget from dashboard. This is when the widget is also opened to the maximized mode. Most widgets implement the maximized mode. Within this function a Shell for using the views is typically created. The views can be either defined in the widget.xml file or created dynamically.

The closeWidget() function is launched when the maximized mode is exited by either with popShell() or slideOut(), the last widget-created shell, or when the widget is stopped for any reason. Here you might usually want to, for example, cancel a timer or set it to "tick" less frequently.

Interfaces that are associated with the widget's menu control

 MenuItem getSoftKey(Shell shell, Component focused, int key);
 Menu getMenu(Shell shell, Component focused);

When the user presses a softkey of a mobile device (normally a softkey is associated to the widget's menu), WidSets will call the getSoftkey()to inform the widget which softkey was just clicked. You must implement this function to detect the softkey and tell WidSets what to do with the event. The getMenu() function is called when a softkey is designed to associate with an open menu.

Interfaces responding to user actions

 void actionPerformed(Shell shell, Component source, int action);
 boolean keyAction(Component source, int op, int code);

The actionPerformed() function is called when a key-pressed action on a softkey is detected, and the keyAction() function is called when the user clicks on an alphanumeric key (including the navigation key). These functions can be implemented to detect any actions done by the user and to process them accordingly. Remember that both actionPerformed() and keyAction() are system callback functions, and they should never be called directly.

View elements construction interface

 Flow createView(String name, Object context)
 Component createElement(String viewId, String elementId,
 Style style, Object context);

The createView() function is used for creating a view for the widget. A view can be a minimized view or a maximized view depending on the widget's status.

Widget's UI components can be constructed within the createElement() function. This is a callback function and it gets called as a result every time the createView() function is called.

Callback function on timer events

 void timerEvent(Timer timer);

You can set up timers that notify your widget after a specified time or continuously. Timers are created using schedule(...) functions. These timers will then call the timerEvent(i.e. Timer timer) function of your script, or a separate TimerCallback function, if defined.

To release the timer resource, you need to call the cancel() function for any Timer objects created. This should be done when the timer is not needed anymore, or when a widget is terminated via the stopWidget() function.

Callback functions on server communication events

 void onSuccess(Object state, Value returnValue);
 void onFailure(Object state, String errorMessage);

Server-side services can be invoked by using the call(Object state, String service, Value argument) function. Responses from a server (as the result of the call() function) are dispatched via onSuccess() or onFailure() callback function indicating that the server call was successful or failed, respectively.

In case of multiple server-side service calls, the state parameter in these callback functions can be used to identify which call the response belongs to.

If you are familiar with Java programming language or any other programming language, working with the WidSets Scripting Language is not a difficult task at all. Consider how to implement a simple function which calculates and return the sum of two numbers in WSL:

 int calculateSum(int number1, int number2) {
   return (number1 + number2);

Inner functions & closures

Inner functions are useful when implementing callbacks (like anonymous classes in java).

  • You have access to enclosing function's variables, even to null references (you can set them from inner function).
  • Inner functions cannot contain inner functions. However one function can contain multiple inner functions.

Typical example is calling server-side service and provide success- and failure-callbacks.

void getPhoneNumber(String name)
  Value arg = [
    "url" => "",
    "params" => ["name" => name]

  call(null, "myService", "get", arg, ok, nok);

  void ok(Object state, Value ret)
    setBubble(null, name+"'s number is "+String(ret));

  void nok(Object state, String error)
    setBubble(null, "Could not find number for "+name);

Language rules

This section describes the fundamental rules of WidSets Scripting Language.

All script functions and variables MUST be implemented within the ONLY class of a widget:

   int globalVar = 100;
   void firstFunction()
     int localVar = 0;

However, there can be inner functions which can make things easy to do while keeping code elegant:

 Flow createAddressView(String name, String addr, String city)
   Flow flow = new Flow(getStyle("address.view"));
   add("Name", name);
   add("Address", addr);
   add("City", city);
   void add(String name, String value)
     String text = format(“%s: %s”, name, value);
     Label label = new Label(“address.field”), text);
   return flow;

Inner functions can access variables defined in the enclosing function and also invoke other inner functions. Unlike in Java, you don't have to mark variables as final in order to access them from inner functions.

All variables must be initialized and they exist within the scope where they are declared.

 void firstFunction()
   int j; /* error, missing assigment */
     int c = 0;
     int d = c; /* error, ’c’ is not visible here */

Explicit typecasting

 boolean flag = false;
 Text displayText;
 void someFunction()
   int zeroOrOne = int(flag); /* casting boolean to int type */
   String str = String(zeroOrOne); /* casting int to string type */

See also

This page was last modified on 2 July 2012, at 04:27.
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