back to article Nokia carves out Qt future

Nokia has been mapping out how Qt will take over the application layer on Symbian devices, among others, reducing Symbian development to under-the-hood core programming at best. In a presentation at the Over the Air developers meet, Nokia admitted things were not going well, with developers reporting that "developing for Nokia …


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  1. Ian Michael Gumby
    Thumb Up

    This is actually a good thing. A very good thing...

    If you can abstract the presentation layer from the underlying OS, you then have more portability across multiple platforms.

    While the reporter points to games, thing back to the phones themselves. You have a wide range of PDA, tablets, netbooks, and the phone itself.

    Considering that if you have a Garmin map device, if you add a phone, what do you have?

    A pda like the N810, even limited in performance, you add a phone and you've got a good investment. (Add in a blue tooth headset that displays caller id, (Nokia has one) and one that can do voice recognition, and you've set up a system where the bulk of the phone is in your purse(ladies), backpack (student and geek workers) or briefcase or jacket pocket.

    The reason I add in netbooks is that you have the same thing as a large PDA. Just add in a phone, GPS, and you've got a larger PDA that may be easier to write e-mails or handle spreadsheets on the go.

    You won't see a convergence of the physical hardware, but you'll see a convergence of apps and features of the hardware like GPS, Pin camera, radio and then the 3/4G kit.

    It seems Nokia is learning.

  2. James 47

    Death of Symbian???

    Death of S60 I think you mean. And rightly so.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other options on Symbian

    It should be noted that, thought they do have the worst development platform of them all: S60, they also have the best: their version of J2ME.

    Their J2ME platform is the most mature, full featured, and consistent.

    They have also started supporting Python recently.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Re: So long Symbian

    Symbian isn't going anywhere. Symbian^4 has Qt integrated as part of the platform.

    The issue was with S60 all along which *isn't* Symbian, but a platform that incorporates the old Symbian OS (which is a good *multi-tasking* OS for low power devices), plus the S60 UI layer which has been the main problem.

    Symbian Foundation's efforts unifies the various Symbian platform implementations (which go beyond just Nokia) and slaps on a unified UI layer.

    Interesting thing is how Qt apps may feed into Maemo.

  5. Andus McCoatover

    Nokia learns from Microsoft?

    Embrace, Enhance, Extinguish (shortened to eee*) Symbian. (Or maybe they were too pissed off with people missing off the "i" from Symbian in a search engine...)

    *Actually, isn't that _exactly_ what happened with Asus' "It's better with Windows" campaign. Oh, so that's really why they were called eeepc...

  6. Andus McCoatover


    Meant the "m". Obviously a word I don't google for. Often. Honest. True as I'm "riding" this bike....with the chain on the hotel door, natch...

    (Sheepish grin logo required. Closest I could find...)

  7. Peter Geoghegan

    @ Andus McCoatover - EEE tactics?

    I think it's ironic that you're comparing Nokia to Microsoft, or suggesting that they're adopting the EEE doctrine, given that Qt is a cross platform framework that compiles natively on Windows, Mac, Linux with X11, Symbian, Windows CE and embedded Linux, available under the liberal weak copyleft LGPL, using the native look and feel of each platform. Also, recall that Nokia's new N900 smart phone is totally open - there was a video on youtube of someone with a root shell on an N900.

    Frankly, Symbian developers should be delighted with this development, because Qt is brilliant. Nokia are doing the right thing here.

  8. davefb

    developing on nokia suck's

    Well one reason is that they keep changing things. So they're changing how symbian works,, again.. *yay*! Ahh, but it's yet-another-new-name , so maybe people won't notice ? But developers will still have to consider targeting the slightly less new phones so will have to work with all the other variants still.. gee ..

    As for the nokia j2me being 'great'.. 'hmm' maybe only insofar as comparing with most other phone companies implementations perhaps. But to be honest I prefered the later sony-erricsons.

    Oh hum, who cares, we're all making jesus-phone games/apps now..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    S60 rocks for none-touchscreen

    Easy, fast and intuitive for one handed use with a simple to understand UI (with plenty to explore for power users). I used to a S60 hater when Nokia was peddling low-powered hardwares like the N80. But when the right hardware inside, it is blazing fast and good enough for my needs.

    Looking forward to Symbian^2 (which will be based on S60v5 FP1) and Qt integration.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good news for Symbian and open source

    Symbian Ltd had been focussing on the lower level parts of the Symbian OS for a few years now leaving the UIs to the manufacturers. Unfortunately, in IMHO the manufacturers focussed too much on cost instead of making a great UIs and APIs for developers. Probably due to poor competition until the arrival of the iPhone.

    Taking the radical step of replacing S60 with Qt is a much better strategy than trying evolve an already creaking UI. The compatibility break will be painful, but nothing like the security changes in Symbian OS 9 because Qt APIs are designed for application developers, not OS programmers. The tools and documentation are also well established because that's how TrollTech made their money.

    It also good to see that Qt is benefiting from the Symbian porting experience so Linux / KDE users should welcome this.


  11. Anonymous Coward

    Qt needs a lot of work

    Qt as it stands is a total dog's breakfast. The build structure is a turd - it can't clean itself reliably, the configure parameters are way too many and everything is documented poorly or full of contradictions. The embedded flavor of Qt is even worse. It's a typical pile of sucky OSS cobbled together into an even bigger mess than any one OSS component. The total is less than the sum of the parts.

    Hopefully, Nokia's engineers with pull their fingers out and actually work on:

    * developer documentation

    * build structure

    * the software itself

    rather than bolting more tick-list trash in there.

  12. Peter Geoghegan

    @ Anonymous Coward - Qt needs a lot of work?

    Qt is the best documented application framework I've ever encountered - their documentation is exceptionally good. qmake is the easiest to use build system/makemake I have ever encountered, with the possible exception of cmake. Your remark that "it can't clean itself reliably" is bizarre - on Linux, a simple "make clean" does it for me, or if I'm using visual studio integration on Windows, clean all from the build menu. Have you ever tried using autotools, or autohell as it's known colloquially? That's a dog's breakfast. The only configuration parameters that are generally needed by qmake are what parts of Qt you want to link to (Just the core, DB module, XML module etc), and what additional non Qt libraries you want to link to, and if you want a debug or release build. It's difficult to imagine how it could be more simple, particularly if you use the Qt creator IDE - all of these details are usually specified in a single .pro file, which creator will maintain for you if you let it. Incidentally, Qt creator is the best IDE currently available for Linux - it is superior to both KDevelop and Anjuta, even for non-Qt, non-qmake projects.

    How can the embedded version be even worse, given that it's *identical* for most practical purposes? There are a few tiny differences that most Qt embedded developers aren't even aware of, because they don't have to be. The build system is identical. You can easily build a Qt desktop application for Qt embedded - that's a major selling point of Qt.

    You say "It's a typical pile of sucky OSS cobbled together into an even bigger mess than any one OSS component". This is nonsense. Qt was maintained for years as a single, coherent project by Trolltech, a private company. They were quite conservative in accepting new code (see reg article "Nokia's Qt cuts paperwork for open sourcers"), and didn't grant any third party access to their revision control system. It isn't cobbled together by any reasonable standard.

    How you could express an opinion that is so patently inconsistent with the facts is beyond me. I think that the fact that you chose to post as an anonymous coward, and I posted my rebuttal using my real name is telling.

  13. cloudberry

    developing for SymbianOS is a pain, indeed

    I can confirm that developing for SymbianOS is a pain. I did it for a few years in Nokia, where it was made bearable by having lots of other SOS developers around to ask questions from, and by having access to all the source code to cadge solutions from.

    However, even with all that experience, being the sole Symbian/S60 developer of another company was a hellish experience. There were a couple of simple-seeming things that the SOS/S60 combination just would not bend to, despite close reading of the available documentation and header files, and searching for answers on the Nokia developer site and discussions groups. Painful and frustrating in the extreme. That was one of the main reasons (though not the only one) I quit both that company and Symbian development. I'd had enough for one lifetime.

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