Dienstag, 25. Januar 2011

Maemo App Development - One Year Ago

I just realized that one year ago, I was giving a talk about Maemo Development at the Metalab here in Vienna. Back in January 2010, things were still very much different from today:

  • Scratchbox was the SDK - Linux only, VMs for everything else
  • No proper IDEs for Hildon development (there was Eclipse integration, but I never used it)
  • Qt still was "the new stuff that's coming up" for Maemo development
  • Mer was still something to look forward to
  • MeeGo didn't exist - Maemo 6 was the future ;)
  • MADDE was in Technology Preview state - not widely used
  • Direct UI (now MeeGo Touch) was thought to be the future toolkit
  • Qt 4.6 was just released in December - no QML in Qt yet

It turns out that we are in a much better position now, we've got a nice cross-platform IDE (Qt Creator), a proper SDK (Qt SDK) that works on Windows and OS X the same as on Linux and the "low-level" issues (optification, packaging, ...) are handled by Qt Creator mostly.

Today, the issues are different - I'm complaining about Qt Creator (from the Qt SDK 1.1 Preview) crashing a lot in QML design mode, I can deploy my apps to Symbian devices without much effort (didn't think I would ever do that) - even though there's no proper toolchain for Linux or OS X (Remote Compiler doesn't count). The Qt Quick Components are still not released, even though I'd love to create some great apps with them. And most people forget in the N9 rumor jungle that we have still got the best Linux-based mobile OS (with Linux userland) that exists in an actual product that you can buy right now (that's Maemo 5 on the N900 if you didn't get that hint..). Just like Duke Nukem Forever, a MeeGo handset will be announced and released eventually - give it some time.

Back to the "Qt Creator shouldn't crash when editing QML" developer story: We're not there yet, but comparing the current state with the state one year ago, that's some progress right there! Looking forward to those bits falling into place in the upcoming months.

Samstag, 22. Januar 2011

Ovi Store Requirements vs. Extras Testing QA

If you want to publish your applications on Ovi Store for Maemo 5, you have to fulfill certain criteria for the package to be accepted. The technical ones are listed in the document Maemo™ 5 Applications: Ovi Store Entry Requirements. Here are some problematic entries that were not clear to me in the beginning (coming from Extras QA and a Debian-based background):

  • The file must be named myapplication_1_0_1.deb (for an application that is called "myapplication"). Interesting factoid: The version number must include three digits (one can interpret that as "no less and no more"). That's different from the Debian standard naming of myapplication_X_armel.deb (where "X" can be any format version number, and "armel" specifies the target architecture). So if you have packaged your application, make sure to rename the file after upload.
  • The relation of the file size of /opt compared to the files in /usr must be greater than 1:80. Here's an example from That Rabbit Game: /usr contains two files: The icon (7kB) and the .desktop file (128b) and /opt contains one file: The binary (658kB). However, the difference between these two is not a factor of over 80 when compared with "du -sh" (depending on the filesystem settings).

With that said the structure of the testing criteria in that document is very clear and (apart from some problems with the detailed specs), everything is understandable, well thought-out and can be tested by following the instructions in the document. Some of these could be use to "formalize" the Extras-Testing QA checklist here on Maemo.org or at least provide an easy-to-follow guide for carrying out the basic tests.

Donnerstag, 13. Januar 2011

New packages in Extras-Testing: gPodder 2.12, TV out control widget

gPodder 2.12 "The Odyssey of Flight 33" has been released, which is purely a bugfix release for those of you who found an empty podcast list after skipping a gPodder version during upgrades (this release fixes both the initial problem and tries to recover databases for which migration has failed). The updated package is also available in Diablo Extras already for N8x0 users. Please test and vote for gPodder 2.12-1 in Extras-Testing!

A new desktop widget written by Ville Syrjäl has been packaged for Extras. TV out control lets you control advanced features of the N900's TV out such as aspect ratio and scaling - those settings are not accessible from the official control panel applet, which is closed source (vote for that bug if you'd like to see it open sourced and improved through the Community SSU). Please test and vote for the TV out control widget in Extras-Testing!

Samstag, 8. Januar 2011

New tutorial: PySide/QML on MeeGo

In addition to my old PySide tutorials, there is now a proper PDF guide for PySide development on MeeGo available. Except for packaging, all steps apply to Maemo as well, and this is the document that includes the first gPodder QML UI code example (the final gPodder QML UI will be totally different and "much cooler", though).

As part of the new year's cleanup, I also dug out the old MTF UI demo of gPodder and put its source online here - for third party applications, QML is now the preferred UI over MeeGo Touch, so this might not be of much use for you now, but maybe somebody can put it to good use.