Symbian Dev continues towards OSS

It's taken me a few days to get to it, but the Symbian developer newsletter got sent out last week and had this bit in it this week which is pretty cool:

Opening up the tool chain: bmconv, petran and rcomp

The Symbian Developer Network has just released the source for the Symbian OS build tools bmconv, petran and rcomp together with test code that exercises some of their functionality. These tools enable developers to pre-process and post-process their apps, images and resources to object formats ready for runtime loading in Symbian OS phones. (These tools are found only as executables in all Symbian OS SDKs in the \Epoc32\tools directory.)

* bmconv handles the conversion of bitmaps as part of the application build process (abld). It can also be used in its own right to convert .mbms back into .bmps.

* petran is the PE object format translator that processes the final object files to the format that the Symbian OS loader expects.

* rcomp is the Symbian OS resource compiler which builds the binary resource files used most commonly from application controls (localization, etc.) at runtime. RSC files are compiled using rcomp.

The publication of the source of bmconv, petran and rcomp complements the earlier publication of makesis, the tool used to package apps up in .SIS files.

The book 'Symbian OS C++ for Mobile Phones' includes a complete description of these tools (chapters 7 and 14).

You can now download the source code for these tools, with instructions for recompilation on a PC running Microsoft Visual C++, under the Symbian's example code license. You can use this source code to better understand the tools, modify them for some specialized uses or port them to operating systems other than Windows. There have been several requests to make the code available to allow the tools to be bundled with other products and be ported to developer platforms other than Microsoft Windows, such as Linux and Mac OSX - this has already been demonstrated successfully with Makesis.

Get the tools at:

This is fantastic stuff! I mean, well, I don't actually use or know how to use these tools, but what it means is that Symbian is giving the real hackers out there a way to start porting Symbian development away from Windows. I think with the limited resources that Symbian has, this is a really wise move of them and as a critic of Symbian's developer programs sometimes, I wanted to give credit where it's due.

They still need to get more behind OPL and other scripting languages (convincing Sun it's a good idea to promote Java would be a good idea, for one). But this is a great step.

Nice job Symbian!


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