Nokia Takes Lead in Eclipse J2ME Project, Announces Eclipse-based Symbian Initiative

Nokia's announcement that it joined the Eclipse Foundation as a Strategic Developer and Board member should come as no surprise to anyone watching either the software development tools market or the embedded systems space, says Nasser Iravani, director of the developer support network, Forum Nokia.

"Developers are a fundamental link in the value chain in mobility," Iravani says. "And innovation is a cornerstone of this industry. Eclipse provides a very good value proposition from a cost-efficient R&D standpoint. It's just a great platform for innovating and bringing that innovation to market."

Nokia will be taking the lead in the Eclipse Foundation's new Mobile Java Tools Project, the purpose of which is to create a framework for mobile Java developer tools, including complete tooling support for the Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME).

The project's mission is "to deliver a sustainable mobile tools offering for all developers and companies who wish to create mobile Java applications and build commercial tools for Java."

Nokia plans to donate several components of its Java development tools to the effort, as well as develop new software to introduce tools for the creation of both Mobile Information Device Profile- and Connected Device Configuration-based mobile Java applications. Nokia also plans to use the Eclipse tools platform widely in its tools portfolio, and will contribute to several existing Eclipse projects beyond the scope of Java.

"Nokia is really looking forward to making Eclipse the platform for J2ME development, because they think it’s the right thing for industry," says Eclipse Foundation executive director Mike Milinkovich. "They’re more than happy to cooperate with some of their competitors to make sure that this project gets the adoption that it deserves."

The open-source Eclipse tooling framework is making serious inroads into the embedded systems space. It is now the basis for the tool chains of virtually every real-time operating system company in operation, Milinkovich tells JavaTrends.

Nokia's involvement/investment in Eclipse looks broad-based--in addition to the Java project, the company plans to contribute developers to the foundation's C/C++ Developer Tools project. For the past year, it has been contributing developers to the Embedded Rich Client Platform project.

Nokia this week also launched an initiative designed to expand the mobile development community working with the Symbian OS for smartphone devices. The company's newly announced Carbide.c++ tools family was developed in cooperation with Symbian and built on Eclipse.

"The IDE has rapidly become a commodity, and the community building it is an awful lot stronger than any one vendor who could build a specialized product," says Nokia’s senior product and tools partners manager D’arcy Salzmann. “All of us contributing to the improvement of the Eclipse IDE will deliver a much better product for all of us to build our own vertical solutions on that each of us trying to figure out how to do the best editor or debugger."

Nokia claims 2 million registered developers in Forum Nokia, the company's global developer program. The lion's share of those developers are Java jocks, Iravani says.

"The primary reason for Nokia’s participation is that Eclipse provides a very powerful foundation for Nokia to simplify and harmonize its tools offerings for the developers across all of Nokia platforms," Iravani adds. "We have developers that are using C++ and Java, and we want them to be able to tap into the same powerful IDE platform for developing two Nokia platforms."

Iravani expects his company to make its first announcements about the Mobile Java Tools Project in Q4 this year. The tools should be available early next year through the Eclipse Foundation and Forum Nokia, he says.

For more information, go to the Eclipse Foundation Web site or the Forum Nokia site.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].