Symbian Web Tools Help Developers Go Mobile

The Symbian Foundation says its Web Runtime Tools help Web developers become mobile phone application developers.

The Symbian Foundation's Web Runtime Tools help turn Web developers into mobile phone application developers.

"Symbian Foundation's open-source Web Development Toolkit IDE (integrated development environment) enables developers to develop and deploy Web applications to mobile devices," Symbian said on its Website.

On its page for the tools, Symbian said: "Using Symbian's Web Runtime Tools you can quickly and easily develop, distribute and install Web applications on Symbian devices. All of this can be done using standard Web programming skills like HTML/JavaScript/CSS, and by exploring just a few more JavaScript APIs you can directly access device-specific APIs like contacts, accelerometer and location."

Symbian Foundation Development Tools Manager Paul Beusterien initially blogged about the tools on April 6 and revisited the issue in an April 29 post describing the impact the tools appear to be having on developers.

Beusterien said Symbian's goal in issuing the new tools is "to help Web developers create applications for the Web Runtime (WRT). The main release [criterion] was to provide an IDE that had at least feature parity with the alternatives. We believed we met that, as well as providing some additional improvements," he said.

"The key difference is this IDE is developed with purely open-source components from Eclipse JSDT [JavaScript Development Tools], Chromium and Nokia," Beusterien continued. "We plan to collaborate with Eclipse, Symbian and other open-source communities to rapidly innovate and improve these tools to enable developers to create more and more compelling mobile Web apps."

In the later post, Beusterien said he ran into developers at a meet-up in San Francisco who lauded the tools. One developer in particular said he was glad he could use Web technologies and not have to "dust off his rusty C++ programming skills" to build mobile applications. Beusterien said: "Instead he could just continue using his Web programming skills [in] which he has years of expertise. And by learning just a few additional JavaScript APIs, he was able to access some of the device-specific features, like the contacts, accelerometer and location. The previewing, debugging, packaging and deployment functionality in the tools also contributed to his transition to mobile device app creation."

Beusterien added:

""So the lesson seems to be, if you can develop for the Web then you can develop applications for Symbian. The simplicity of this message hopefully makes it easy for the word to spread among the Web development community. With so many Web developers out there and so many great devices coming to market, I'm sure that conversations like the one I had recently will be repeated many times over. Convergence is happening between once distinct tribes and this makes for really interesting and exciting community interactions.It's been proven that compelling applications have the ability to fuel robust communities. In this way, Symbian Web Development Tools are an excellent entry point for Web developers to broaden their experience and seize opportunities in the mobile marketplace. And the low learning curve enables them to just start making and deploying great Web apps, [complementing] their portfolio along the way.""

Meanwhile, Beusterien said Symbian will include deep support for HTML5 in Symbian 4, the next major release of the Symbian smartphone operating system.