Maemo community visited Barcelona last weekend, giving us a chance to have a peek at the newest Nokia’s N900 device and also learn something about the software creation for this up and coming competitor on the mobile market.
The event lasted 3 days on 4-5-6 of December 2009. The first day was mostly dedicated to lectures and presentations Two following brought some more insight to the Maemo software creation, and even some real programming occurred.
Quim Gil – the event organizer – and Jose Luis Martinez – vice president for Nokia’s N-series – gave the first speaches presenting the N900 device to the public. Local community could definitely be pleased having these important members of the Nokia team working also for them. Many lectures were lead in Spanish. This definitely helped some of the local attendees with understanding the topic, but it didn’t end up without confusion. People coming from other countries were rather expecting the event to be covered English than in this “Espanglish” mixture, which it ended up. Finally Spanish/English speaking experts were available at the lab/hacking sessions.
The event consisted of parallel sessions for the software creation, documentation and localization. There were a few last-minute changes in the agenda, so I’m not sure if they all happened as planned, but there was a choice of the classes, and the amount of information that I managed to receive was just enough. Coming from the Symbian community, my main concern was to get introduced to the Qt programming, and start creating and deploying it also on the new Maemo devices.
Aleix Pol and Jesus Sanchez-Palencia introduced some new Qt APIs, and were then attending programmers individually at the hacking session. That was a really good experience to work with them, and even though Qt seems to be a well structured and easy-to-learn environment, their help was essential. If you want to try them yourself, it would be good to start with some examples.
Daniel Wilms from Nokia presented some new tools for cross-compilation, which will help creating software for the N900 and future Maemo devices even quicker, and easier. But the environment for the device emulation and software creation still needs a few hacks to set it up on the computer. If I started configuring the ‘scratchbox’ myself, I’d probably only get the scratchhead effect, as the installer still fails at some stages that are a mystery for the average user. At least the basic knowledge of the aptitude software management, and the batch shell in Linux comes handy then. Hopefully obstacles will disappear from the installing process, but it’s worth to give it a try anyway. If the installer from the Forum Nokia website fails, try to read some hints on the Maemo Documentation website.
Finally the best and the funniest lecture was given by Patricia Montenegro from OpenBossa. The topic of relations between graphic designers and developers seems to have a good comedic potential, and while presented attractively was a real hit on the conference. There are some videos from the previous presentations, but the one from the conference in Barcelona was way better somehow. To find more try to search for UI from a broken home: The relationship between developers and designers.
Thanks for the good time spent with the Maemo programmers and zealots at Barcelona (actually Cornella) Citilab!