Thursday, January 14, 2010

Web Runtime (WRT) Tools Open Source Release for Symbian Platform

This week, we are making available a preliminary version of the Web Runtime (WRT)  Tools Package under an EPL license.  As mentioned in my earlier posting on Web 2.0 Apps on Symbian, there are several million web application developers.  In fact, according to Gartner, by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide.

According to Gartner's PC installed base forecast, the total number of PCs in use will reach 1.78 billion units in 2013. By 2013, the combined installed base of smartphones and browser-equipped enhanced phones will exceed 1.82 billion units and will be greater than the installed base for PCs thereafter.

As the proliferation of mobile devices continues to grow at an astounding pace, there is an ever-increasing need for better mobile Web development tools. We are open sourcing the Web Runtime (WRT) Tools to provide an open eco-system to foster greater collaboration within the Symbian Tools  Developers community.

The WRT Tools package  includes a set of Web Runtime Plug-ins based on the Eclipse Plug-in Development Environment (PDE), and enables the development of WRT applications utilizing Web Technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and AJAX.

The WRT plug-in(s) provide features such as enabling the creation, editing, testing and debugging of  basic WRT applications. The WRT applications require the creation, editing and saving of JavaScript, XML and HTML files. The WRT editor plug-ins are based on the Eclipse JavaScript Developer Toolkit (JSDT). JSDT is part of the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) Project.

The WRT Plug-in allows the creation of a Web Runtime (WRT) project that contains a basic widget project (i.e. an empty project with a minimal Info.plist, html, css and JavaScript files). The Info.plist is an XML template with settings of a basic widget already defined. Similarly, an index.html file is defined with an HTML template. It is also possible to import existing WRT project(s) which include a WRT Previewer for previewing a WRT widget in a conventional desktop browser.

Note that this preliminary version of the WRT Tools package uses the WRT Previewer from an Aptana WRT project due to a pending Nokia WRT license issue, but the next release will include a fully integrated WRT Previewer. An application developer can also add additional JavaScript, HTML and XML files as necessary into the existing WRT project.

The WRT Plug-in also includes a WRT Debugger component to enable debugging of  WRT applications.  The WRT Debugger component consists of a general purpose JavaScript Debugger based on the Eclipse Platform framework and the Chrome Developer Tools Project.

It should be noted that this WRT Tools package is an incremental code drop for Eclipse internal tool developers as we are planning a subsequent release in March 2010 to introduce the WRT Tools to Web Runtime (WRT) developers.

The March 2010 release will include support for a variety of WRT project templates (i.e. WRT Twitter Widget, WRTKit project, etc) as well as support for packaging, deployment, a fully integrated WRT Previewer, and more. Furthermore, there is still planning in progress for the future WRT Tools Roadmap, and among the items under discussion is a plan to integrate with other open standards, Symbian Common Web Runtime, and to support UI Designer features.

If you are interested to know more about the WRT Tools package, please see the WRT Tools Wiki Page.  For detailed instructions for installing the WRT Tools Plug-ins, and related packages or for trying out its features, please refer to the WRT Tools Developers Guide.

If you have any questions or if you are interested in engaging or collaborating with us, please feel free to leave me a comment, or contact me at tasneems at  You can also follow me on Twitter for further developments.  There is also a general Tools Developers mailing list for general comments.

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