Nokia blesses mobile Python
Go forth and execute
Following on from the launch of the 3-D Snake game last week, Nokia has released another slithery serpent into the wild. A year after we broke the news, Nokia has formally announced the availability of the Python language for its Series 60 platform. The software allows developers to build portable applications using the popular language that can take advantage of the Symbian GUI and phone features such as Bluetooth.
J2ME developers have been waiting for such features for a long time, and early adopters are enthusiastic.
Nokia sees it more as a testbed. "It is well suited to the development of prototypes or for building proof of concept applications with a simple and consistent language," we learn from the developer page. Of course with features such as thread support and shared libraries, Python can be used to build industrial-strength applications too.
The software actually appeared just before Christmas, although at a new formal overview Nokia explains that it has been tested on Nokia 6600, 6630, 7610, N-Gage QD and the Windows-based development environment. However early users have reported success on Mac OS X and Linux.
The port is based on Python 2.2 and available in two versions, one each for Series 60 1st Edition and 2nd Edition. There's an excellent independent resource on mobile Python here.
Matan Gillon, a young Israeli developer, tells us that he ported Python to the 7650 for his own amusement but never released it, "because 1) I didn't think anyone would be interested. and 2) I wanted to have it do something interesting first before I released it."
Newcomers to phone scripting are recommended to check out the OPL project. This very simple language first shipped with the original Psion Organizer and was responsible for the rich range of software that graced subsequent Psion PDAs. ®
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