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June, 2005: The 15th Annual Software Development Jolt & Productivity Awards

Software Development

June 2005

MOBILE DEVELOPMENT TOOLS


E-ming Saung, Product Marketing Manager


J2ME Wireless Toolkit 2.2
Sun Microsystems

Java 2 Micro Edition is one of the most important application development platforms for mobile devices, because it allows you to quickly prototype an application and then optimize it for more than 200 popular mobile phones and PDA devices by making small code changes for each device model.

The wireless toolkit includes a complete set of core API libraries available on every J2ME-compatible mobile phone, as well as optional ones that are available only on some device models. With those libraries, you can compile J2ME applications using the standard Java compiler on a PC. Then, using the Java bytecode preverification utility, you can prepare your application for device deployment. A key productivity feature is the PC emulator for devices, which shows an emulated device user interface in a window on the PC offering valuable debugging information.

But the tool's real strength is its integration support from almost all popular Java IDEs, including Eclipse, NetBeans, JBuilder and others. With full IDE support, the J2MEWTK is the best mobile Java development tool available.

—Michael Yuan

Productivity Award Winners

CodeWarrior for Symbian 3.0
Nokia

If you develop applications for Symbian-based mobile devices, Symbian C++ is the most powerful development platform available. Symbian C++ applications have the native look and feel of the factory-shipped applications. They integrate tightly with the underlying device's operating system, which is also written in Symbian C++. However, developing Symbian C++ applications is notoriously complex. Finland–based Nokia's CodeWarrior for Symbian is an easy-to-use IDE that takes the pain out of manual Symbian C++ development. It manages metadata files and the build process so that you can focus on writing code. It also provides an easy-to-use UI designer for different styles of the phone UI. Then you can launch and debug it on the bundled device emulators or on a real phone connected to the PC. This product untangles Symbian application development, enabling you to quickly create-first class Symbian applications.

—Michael Yuan

Crossfire 5.5
AppForge

It's frustrating to be a mobile app developer: Even though it's time to embrace the phone as a compelling platform for delivering functionality, entrepreneurs and corporations are faced not only with disparate platforms, but platforms whose software and support are evolving at blistering paces. Keeping track of these and their idiosyncrasies is a full-time job for a dedicated team. Luckily, Atlanta, Ga.–based AppForge is that team. Crossfire allows mobile application developers to program in Visual Basic and in the Visual Studio .NET 2003 environment, as well as target a broad array of phone OSes. For me, Crossfire had the fastest "time to 'Hello World'" of this year's contenders, and while it requires a certain amount of compromise in terms of functionality and runtime licensing fees, it's my first choice for developing an application intended for broad distribution throughout a corporation.

—Larry O'Brien

Flash Lite 1.1
Macromedia

Despite the ultimate dream of creating content once and using it anywhere, it's still rare for content developed for desktop computers—particularly nontext content—to be usable on handsets. In fact, because of the broad range of mobile device capabilities, content developed for one handset may not run on another brand or even on another model from the same company.

Macromedia Flash Lite 1.1 Content Development Kit (CDK) and player bring the possibility of easily porting rich desktop content to mobile devices closer to reality by allowing developers to create Flash content for mobile phones that lack the resources to run the full Flash Player 7.

Although not as pervasive on handsets as the full-sized Flash Player is on desktops, Flash Lite is rapidly being adopted by phone manufacturers as well as by mobile developers.

The benefits to users? Richer interfaces and high-quality animation, along with greater content portability.

—Chris Minnick



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