Symbian Tools Update

Hello, I’m Paul Beusterien and I joined the Symbian Foundation in June to lead the developer tools strategy and implementation.   After three months of diving into the Symbian and the mobile world, I’d like to use this blog to share my evolving thoughts about mobile developer tools.

Symbian Developer Tools Mission

Provide good, usable tools to foster application development community
In the last few years, it has become clear that a vibrant application community dramatically enhances the value of a mobile platform.  Providing developers with good tools is key to unleashing the creativity and innovation of application developers.

In addition to platform tools for handset manufacturers, also provide compelling tools for app developers

Symbian has historically focused its tooling on helping manufacturers ship phones more efficiently.   We need to keep doing that, but we also need to insure that application developers have the necessary features and usability.

Use open source to foster community for tools development (as well as tools usage)
We have limited resources, there is excellent open source technology, and users are often familiar with open source tools.  We need to ensure that open source tooling has the necessary customization to work well for Symbian vibrant application community development.

Priorities

Cross-platform open source tooling for app developers
We’ve developed a plan to provide an open source compile/debug/simulate application environment using gcc, gdb, and QEMU.  We’ll host this environment on Mac and Linux as well as Windows.   The target for beta availability is the end of 2009.   We’ll follow up with IDE integration via Eclipse/Carbide in early 2010.

Reach out to Web developers with open source tooling
There is an order or two of magnitude more Web developers than C++ developers.  We need to provide the tooling to make it easy for them to develop for Symbian.   There are a variety of non-open source solutions today for Symbian development.  We will leverage the Eclipse Web Tools project to create a generic Eclipse plug-in available from the Symbian developer site.   Also, we will work with cross-platform mobile Web developer tooling and API providers to provide Symbian access.

Work with package owners to lead a vibrant open source tools community
There are 30 Symbian tools packages. The packages include debugging, IDE, dynamic analysis, static analysis, testing tools, and user interface tools.  We will help these package owners find additional contributors and build community around their technology.  We will also work with them to provide a unified Symbian tools vision and a well-integrated set of tools products.

Thanks for reading this far. Please send me your thoughts and feedback.   Another venue is the Symbian tools forum at http://developer.symbian.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=42 Let’s work together to create a great set of mobile development tools!

And stay tuned for my next blog entry on web development tools and why “widget” is a bad word.

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