Future Developments For Symbian

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By Miro Stoichev

Symbian see Java as the primary development language for Symbian platform applications. C++ will be limited to specialist applications requiring very tight integration with core platform services and/or optimal performance.
Whether OPL (a Basic type language that allowed application development on EPOC devices) continues to be supported is under question. If it remains available it is likely to be use by individual developers, freeware and shareware houses, who are happy for their applications to be restricted to the Crystal DFRD.

Symbian’s Java Roadmap

Symbian are proposing that the Pearl Smartphone DFRD will feature MIDP and CLDC with a KVM. While the Communicators DFRDs (Crystal and Quartz) will provide for the use of PersonalJava and JavaPhone. In addition, the Communicators will also support MIDP allowing MIDlets to be run on these devices. So effectively all new Symbian based devices will be delivered with Java. (However it remains to be seen whether the Jazelle licensing effects this.)

The improvements Symbian have signaled for their Java implementation include:

  • Personal Profile,
  • JavaPhone 1.1,
  • CDC compatibility,
  • Bluetooth support
  • synchronization
  • messaging, and
  • support for Java’s fine-grained security model.

As part of their commitment to Java Symbian are actively involved in the expert groups defining J2ME in both it’s extensive and restrictive implementations.

Java Databases

Symbian are also actively working with developers of Java ‘lite’ database applications, notably Pointbase and Sybase who are Symbian Enterprise Technology Partners. This means that Symbian is working with these companies to ensure optimal support and stability of their products on the Symbian platform.

Development Tools

At present there are no IDE specifically designed for Symbian Java development. However Metrowerk are planning to release a version of their well respected CodeWarrior(r) software development tools for the Symbian Java technology platform in August 2001. We hope to be able to bring you a review of this tool shortly on the WirelessDevNet.

Symbian Press

Symbian have recently announced the creation of the Symbian Press (in association with Wiley), which promises to deliver timely and authoritative information on the platform. The first title, due for publication in September 2001, is “Wireless Java for Symbian Devices”. We hope to be able to bring you a review of this book shortly on the WirelessDevNet.

The only other significant publication is the Wrox press book Professional Symbian Programming which is a useful references, but provides limited coverage of Java concentrating as it does on C++. It would however be essential reading for JNI development.


Symbian have clearly signaled a commitment to supporting Java on the Symbian platform. Any developer who is currently working with Java or one who selects Java as their platform for wireless applications can be assured that Symbian will be at the forefront of wireless Java implementation. While several aspects of developing for the Symbian platform will be unfamiliar they are supported by easy to use utilities. So what are you waiting for?

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