Symbian Developer Days
Interesting news on the Symbian front. I just read this PMN article about how Symbian is expanding its developer outreach by holding a series of Developer Days in various cities in the U.S. and Europe starting in October. (Symbian's development newletter also had the news, but I missed it.)
This is a good start for Symbian which, as we've written about repeatedly, needs to start taking the lead when it comes to development on their platform. The sessions for the Developer Days I think should get a pretty good response for those who are new to the platform since it is basically a series of 30-45 minute overviews throughout the day by various partners who are involved in the "Symbian ecosystem". If you are just getting interested in Symbian as many developers are now - especially in the U.S. where Symbian's profile is much lower than say Palm or Microsoft's, this type of seminar will be perfect and I think that's who Symbian is aiming for. Good stuff, really.
However, as a developer more familiar with the Symbian platform I have to say that I'd like to see much more detail in the future. Let's compare this style of seminar - the one-day overview - with the seminars that BEA for example produces on a quarterly basis. Usually these are 2 day events which drill down into the details for developers and many times will have side tracks for managers and other non-techies as well. Sponsored by partners, I'm sure the events cost little for BEA but are worth everyone's time on both sides of the podium. I've attended several of these types of sessions here in Madrid, and I always come away with a deeper knowledge of both the Java platform and of the companies involved. Half-hour sessions do little to promote deeper understanding. But like I said, Symbian is just starting down this road and comparing development on their relatively little-known platform to something like J2EE (which has a million plus developers and counting) may not be fair. However, I was at the Symbian Exposium which also had short sessions and relatively light technical content as well so to me this is the second time I'll have seen these type of seminars. I want more... More detail, more time, more depth, more American cities. (Hey, as a constant pro-Symbian rah-raher, I also get to be a bit harsher as well. :-) )
Anyways, to make sure I don't almost miss this sort of news again, I re-signed up for Symbian's Developer newsletter's as well as the newsletters from most of the partners with the links found on Symbian's Developer Network page. I'm not a big fan of newsletters - and my anti-spam software is probably going to eat half of them.
I'm sure that Symbian is working on it, but in addition to things like developer days, they need to get 1) an RSS feed of official Symbian news, software, and announcements and 2) a web-based, searchable, moderated forum up and running. I mean, come on, that stuff is *easy*. Call Rafe at All About Symbian if you need help. ;-) Symbian's still using NNTP for their forum, which just isn't how things work. This stuff needs to be Googlable. Honestly, you'll find a decent amount of info about the platform on Symbian's website, but it's just not well organized. Nokia drives me nuts with their love of PDFs, but in terms of finding developer info, it's really well organized and something to be copied. You cannot go to Nokia's website and not feel *completely* overwhelmed with info about any subject. That's a good thing. SonyEricsson just recently redid their developer forums as well and I have to say that they are much improved. Very clean and easy to find what you're looking for. Another site worth copying.
Better yet, if Symbian could somehow federalize this sort of Symbian content, that would be the best. God knows how - maybe some sort of syndication between forums and news content... Actually, yeah! That'd be great! Symbian should get the partners to syndicate their developer content using some sort of feed (RSS, RDF, or something more advanced like ICE) and then provide aggregated developer content on dev.symbian.com. That would be insanely useful.
Okay, anyways, nice to see Symbian taking forward steps in this area. Go Symbian, go!