Previously available only to private users, the new developer site features code, bug-tracking, reference documentation, a wiki and forums.
According to a Symbian Foundation statement: “The Symbian Foundation Website is your primary resource [for] access to the technical and commercial information and resources you need to succeed in the wireless space. Once you log in to the Website, you’ll have the ability to post and respond to items on the forum, contribute content to the wiki and access the Symbian source code.”
Interested developers can go to http://developer.symbian.org to register for access to the site. The foundation also provides a video describing what the Symbian Foundation says it means to developers: freely available source code and the opportunity to innovate however developers choose to. And the foundation’s developer site features information to help developers build applications in Java ME (Java Platform, Micro Edition), Flash Lite, Web technologies, Python, Ruby, .NET, Symbian C++ and others.
The Symbian Foundation was formed in 2008 after Nokia acquired Symbian Ltd. and then announced plans to deliver an open-source mobile operating system based on the Symbian OS and other variants. Lee Williams, a former Nokia executive, was tapped to head up the foundation that the cell phone giant spun out as an independent entity.
The founding companies of the Symbian Foundation were Nokia, AT&T, NTT Docomo, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Vodafone and ST Ericsson. The foundation also features more than 40 member companies.
In a keynote at the Nokia Developer Summit in April, Williams said, “The shortest path to the developers wins.” And in a later interview with eWEEK, he said, “We’re behind today. The Apple approach has shown that paying 30 percent to Apple for the sake of a channel is acceptable to developers.”
However, Williams further explained that “today it’s worth paying 30 percent to get a short path [to the marketplace]; tomorrow it won’t be. You shouldn’t have to pay. And when the short path exists everywhere, you won’t need to pay that 30 percent.”
The 30 percent is the amount Apple and other mobile platform providers are charging or planning to charge developers to distribute applications on their existing storefronts, such as the Apple App Store, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry App World, Nokia’s Ovi Store and Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace.
Williams also said the Symbian Foundation’s effort to deliver an open-source code base from what amounts to a conglomeration of different pieces of one-time commercial or proprietary code is quite difficult and different from many open-source efforts because they are “green field” efforts.