Symbian S60 Expands Web Run-Time Platform with Widgets

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One of the more notable aspects of the Symbian operating system, and its S60 user interface, has been the ability for developers to use several types of programming languages to extend the platform, from Python to C++ to Flash Lite to Java.

Recently, the move to more connected devices has spawned the creation of a new type of web-based application — widgets. These are mini-programs which offer a single type of functionality, such as email notifications and stock quotes. Unlike native programs, widgets are made using JavaScript, XHTML, CSS, and can have hooks into the native operating systems API (application programing interface) for increased integration and functionality.

The S60 arm of Symbian/Nokia recently announced some extended capabilities of its Web Run-Time offering allowing creation of personal and context-aware widgets. Already a platform offering several options with widgets, the Web Run-Time expanded offering now includes support for several popular platform-independent C++ libraries.

What Does This Mean for the Mobile Developer?

By using open source components such as support for Open C++, the Standard Template Library, and access into S60’s numerous applications and services — including calendar, contacts, GPS, messaging, audio, video — developers will be able to create widgets which leverage the on-off nature of connectivity, with the local information store than users are accustomed to managing.

Innovative developers will be able to take their skills from other platforms to create meshed applications and services, to which users will be able to download as widgets that further the mobile experience.

What Does This Mean for the Mobile Consumer?

For mobile devices users, this Web Run-Time Platform expansion means that there will be more choices for mobile applications that can personalize their smartphone. From weather widgets that can access the internal GPS, to widgets that integrate with popular social networking platforms to share mobile-produced multimedia, the user is empowered to continue to use their mobile device as a major spoke in their computing life.

Current S60 Widget Options

Currently, the S60 platform can utilize widgets either using the Widsets widget platform or the Yahoo! Go widget platform. Both widget platforms offer several options towards integrating online and offline data on mobile devices.

Developers wishing to obtain more information on developing for Widsets and Yahoo! Go should consult the respective developer documentation websites.

 

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