Nokia Developer Training

Nokia Qt and Java Training (Lagos)

The past three days have been wonderful thanks the awesome training we received from Nokia West Africa. The three day workshop was jam-packed with intense training on the J2ME platform for the Series 40 Handsets which is the most popular phone line in Nigeria and of course the Symbian Platform.

Originally I wanted to cover the event live using twitter with the hash tag #tgenius. But I had to stop as there was simply no time to tweet. What could easily be a month’s training was summarised into three days and as a result, It was information overload.

Day One – Java Mobile Edition (J2ME)

The first day, we were introduced to the J2ME Platform. This is the platform for mobile java applications especially the Nokia Series 40 handsets. So we used the Nokia series 40 as a case study. The series 40 phones includes the very popular Nokia 5130 Express Music phone. These set of devices aren’t really smart phones even though they can do many of the things that smart phones do like email, surf the web, Play music, Video and Now with Nokia’s latest iteration, They added Push Notifications, Location and Touch Gestures. Nokia’s drive to push smart phone features to the mass market is certainly commendable.

Programme

  1. Introducing the J2ME Platform
  2. Designing a simple J2ME Application using the built in UI
  3. Designing Games and  Custom UI using the Canvas APIs
  4. Getting Started with S40 APIs using (SMS  and Location APIs as case studies)

Materials

  1. Main Presentation Slides
  2. Sample Code
  3. Examples and Resources

Required Software

  1. Java JDK 7
  2. Netbeans IDE
  3. Nokia Java SDK
  4. S40 On Device Debugger

During the program the instructor designed a simple text messaging application using aforementioned APIs with the Netbeans IDE.

Personally, I’m not new to the J2ME platform so I wasn’t really attentive (Ma Bad). However, I learnt a few new tricks like using the flow editor in Netbeans rather than coding everything. And about Nokia’s New Series 40 v6 Phones that will soon hit the market with really innovative features like Location services using the Cell-ID Technology (Even though the phone doesn’t have GPS which to me is a touch of genius).

Day Two –  Ovi Browser and Nokia Web Tools

Nokia Web ToolsThe second day started with a wrap-up of Day One and then we went on to the Nokia Web Application for s40 devices. These are similar to the Web RunTime (WRT) Applications present in their big brothers i.e. the Symbian S60 and Symbian^3 devices. However unlike the Symbian Smartphones, The web application resides on Nokia’s Proxy server and served on-demand to the phone. There by optimizing the Web Application for its smaller screen and lower memory. So when the user downloads your app, He/She would typically download a small Java Application that simply points to your web application on the Nokia Proxy Server and Using the Ovi browser to launch it. Also note that the WRT Tools and SDK is not restricted to developing for s40 Devices, You can create Web Applications for Symbian devices as well. However with the S60 Devices, The Nokia proxy is not necessary as all the HTML,CSS and JavaScript files are on saved locally on the device.

Programme

  1. About Web Applications
  2. The Ovi Browser and How it Works
  3. How s40 web apps work with the Nokia Proxy and Ovi Browser

Materials

  1. Lecture Slides
  2. Getting Started Guides

Required Software

  1. Nokia Web Tools

Day Three – Qt and QML for Symbian Development

The third day of the event didn’t start with Qt Training. However, I separated it for a reason. I had high hopes about learning about Qt and what it had to offer. But I was completely blown away by this framework. I haven’t been this excited about a framework or library since I learnt about JQuery. In fact, If you think of Qt as the “JQuery” of C++, you wouldn’t miss the mark by much.

Permit me to give you some history: Being a C++ programmer, I was interested in the Symbian platform especially the s60. However, I was seriously turned off with how disorganized and complicated the framework was. Even to setup your development environment was unnecessarily cumbersome. And so after sweating to run a “Hello World” Application. I vowed never to come anywhere close to Symbian OS Development. Qt (pronounced ‘Cute’) is the complete opposite.

Qt on the other hand transcends Nokia and Mobile Development. Its an awesome framework that companies like Autodesk (Maya), Google (Google Earth), Linux (KDE), Adobe (Photoshop) e.t.c have been using to develop multi-platform applications. Unlike Java which is “write once and (hope) it runs everywhere”, with Qt you write once and build everywhere. If you design a Calculator application, you can immediately build it for your Windows 7, Mac, Linux, Symbian and now Android Phone or Tablet without touching a single line of code.

That alone was mind blowing enough but it doesn’t end there. We were introduced to QML which is essentially a framework wrapped around the C++ libraries. The craziest thing about QML is that its incredibly simple and easy to learn. It looks similar to JSON, you write your logic with JavaScript and with a “Cute” IDE, you don’t have to be a programmer to pick it up and use. During the lecture, the instructor told us how he taught some graphic artists about how to use Qt and QML. After that, they went for an application contest and won against several programmers. Its that incredible.

Programme
  1. Introduction to Qt
  2. Coding and Testing a simple Qt application
  3. Qt Quick (QML)
  4. Designing and Custom UI using QML and JavaScript
  5. Using Mobility APIs like Maps, Location
Materials
Other Documents
  1. Publishing Guide for Ovi Store
  2. Publishing Checklist

On a final note, Nokia is organizing a competition called Create 4 Millions where the winner takes home a whooping $1,000,000. So this training couldn’t have come at a better time. Like I said earlier, We moved at lightning speeds to try and cover up. So most of it still requires personal experimentation and self learning.

And so a BIG thank you to Teemu Kiijarvi (EDX Lead Nokia West Africa), Jarmo Rintamaki (Training Manager) and most of all to Tony Torp (Instructor)  for the training. It was simply Awesome.

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