Feeds

Nokia to release Perl for smartphones

Larry Wall's barmy army rejoices

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Nokia will make an internal version of the Perl scripting language for Series 60 smartphones available to its developer community, Lee Epting, Nokia's VP of Developer Relations, tells us. Nokia acknowledges a demand for more developer options as Nokia's Symbian-based Series 60 platform reaches mass market volumes.

Right now developers have two choices if they want to be sure an application will run on a Series 60 device. There's the native Symbian C++ APIs, which offer lots of power but a steep learning curve, and Java. But even Java is overkill for simple forms-based applications that are typically knocked up by business managers, rather than developers; and Java doesn't always offer access to native resources such as vibrating alert or SMS.

There's no timescale set, but Epting hinted that it shouldn't take too long. She also had positive things to say about the venerable BASIC-like language OPL, which is the cheapest and easiest way for novices to write Series 60 applications. Symbian open sourced the language - which can trace its lineage back to the Psion Organizer in the mid-1980s - a year ago. Compared with AppForge's Booster, which allows Visual Basic 6.0 applications to run on SymbianOS (and Palm and Pocket PC), OPL doesn't require an expensive developer add-in and the runtime footprint is much smaller, which handset manufacturers value. It's potentially a killer app, and the project, and developer Ewan Spence who freed it from Psion's cold dead grip, could certainly use some TLC.

"It requires some funding to complete it," Epting told us, "and it needs some buy-in from the rest of Nokia." Ensuring that OPL and Perl developers get the same level of support is a consideration, she added. Although the community has done a fine job with the Wiki.

Coins in, software out

Lee Epting joined Nokia a year ago from Handpring and she's a breath of fresh air for a company that has had to learn about nurturing an open development platform for the first time. (She was Handspring's 15th employee, she tells us, and joined from Palm). Forum Nokia, the developer community, is part of her group and in the recent reorganization was given a horizontal role that feeds into the four vertical business groups at Nokia: mobile phones, multimedia, networks and enterprise.

Amongst her priorities, she told us, was documenting APIs - a constant demand from developers - optimizing porting, and better integration. She also pointed to models such as superdistribution, an umbrella buzzword that covers a few different things: smart downloading and billing, as well as DRM forward lock. (That's when you own the full copy of an application or game, but can beam a demo or trial version to a friend).

Nokia also wants to get the word out that development makes money. Nokia has an intriguing distribution vehicle in Asia in the form of kiosks: distribution points similar to the Wide Ray familiar to many tech conference attendees - and an idea which we've noted before, has a lot of potential. Nokia's kiosks allow phone users to drop in coins, and receive software by Bluetooth or Infra Red. Epting cited the Puzzle Bubble game, which has sold 22,000 out of 240,000 from kiosks. Even in its early stages, Series 60 has spawned an impressive amount of software. Nokia says six figure sales are not uncommon, although developers earn more for premium Series 60 smartphone applications than for cheaper Java games. For example, MobiMate sells 15,000 of its WorldMate a week - at $25 a pop - across three OSes including UIQ and Series 60.

That's a tidy sum. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.