The value of the first contribution

Since we started the BugSquad, we had many people come and go from the mailing list, some of them show to the IRC sessions… however most of the ones that do contribute at least once (raising or fixing bugs) always seem to stick around.

It is my experience that making an extra effort to support someone’s first contribution is key to them becoming a regular member of the community. So, what are my “lessons learned” from the BugSquad so far:

  • Getting started guides – It is crucial to have detailed step-by-step guides for newbies, if you are trying to attract people from outside that might not have an in-depth knowledge of the project. For example, we realised that we didn’t have a simple guide on how to raise a bug. We had tones of detailed information on obscure Bugzilla functionality but nothing on the basics!
  • Make it simple (effort) – the more time that is needed to be spend downloading , installing and configuring stuff the less likely people are to participate. For example, we split the kits down to smaller download files, and reduce by half the amount of MBs needed to set up a running emulator. Continue reading “The value of the first contribution”

Translating the podcatcher

The Symbian Bugsquad is hosting test and fix days for the S^1 and S^3 podcast app: The podcatcher!

One type of contributions that is often overlook is localisation of applications to other languages.  So here is some simple instructions on how to translate the podcatcher:

  1. Clone and build the latest version of the podcatcher
  2. (optional) Apply my spanish translation patch for reference. You can find it attached to bug 2059
  3. Create a copy of \application\data\PodcastClient_english.rls and rename it to your chosen language.
  4. Translate the english strings into your language of choice (here is one I have did for Spanish)
  5. Next , update  language.rss with your translation. You will need to find what is the id number for your chosen language. For Spanish is 04. Continue reading “Translating the podcatcher”

PDK3.0.i: Qt and Symbian

PDK_3.0.i has now been released and contains pre-build QT4.6.2. QT is a graphical runtime that will become the main UI environment in Symbian^4. It makes writing applications for Symbian much simpler and also cross platform, as QT runs in many other OS environments.

This new Symbian^3 PDK contains a pre-integrated version of the Qt runtime environment. It also includes some Demo Application that show case easy is to build great user experience with a few lines of Qt code.

Here is a video demo of some of the things you can do with PDK_3.0.i and Qt:

Free Symbian App: Baby Countdown

I was recently reminded that it was not possible to find any apps for Symbian (Nokia, Samsung and SonyEricsson’s phones) to help pregnant woman!  This is a wrong I needed to set right 🙂

So today, I  would like to introduce you to a Free Symbian Web Runtime App that helps you countdown the arrival of your baby.  If you are pregnant in the UK and you are going into labour the hospital will ask you to monitor how frequent and long your contractions are before going in.  However, I always thought that the last thing a expecting mum (and the dad for that matter) want to do is fire up excel as the contractions are kicking in.

When you launch the Baby Countdown app,  you are presented with a simple screen with on button that says: START. Once you press it, the counter starts keeping track of time. The button changes to STOP.

As you can see from the snapshots below, the length of the current contraction is displayed under the title “This Contraction” as soon as STOP is pressed. Under the “Time Since Last:” title, the since the last contraction is displayed as soon as the next contraction has started and the START button is pressed. Continue reading “Free Symbian App: Baby Countdown”

Symbian^2 Success Story: 24 Contributions and Counting

If you have been following the Symbian world, the latest  hot news is the announcement of the first Symbian^3 phone by Nokia (the N8).

However, between Symbian^1 and Symbian^3 there is missing number –  so what is it going on with Symbian^2?  While Symbian^2 is not a revolutionary step in platform functionality, it is in terms of Open Source working practices.

Despite the fact that Symbian^2 remains SFL, and hence its source still open only to members, there are currently 24 contributions from non-Package Owner companies that have been accepted into the MCL, and another 50 still going through the review process.

So why is this important? Firstly, because it clearly signals the willingness of Symbian members to make source contributions and to improve the overall quality of the platform.

Secondly, because Symbian^2 is a foundation release and most of these quality improvements are still relevant for Symbian^3.

Kudos goes to DOCOMO as the main contributor and to all the package owners that are providing feedback and managing these contributions. To all of you: Thanks  and Keep up the good work!

My Package Dashboard – A Web Widget for Symbian about Symbian

You might have noticed how much Symbian is pushing the Web Run Time as an environment for application development, as it is thought to be really simple to do. I can confirm that it is!

After talking to some package owners, I had the realisation that we (Symbian) needed to offer an easy way for Package team members to track community activity. I do some of these tasks day to day, and it involves lots of pre-saved searches and so on…

Mix these thoughts with an ich to do some programming and what you get? “My Package” Dashboard WRT widget.

Continue reading “My Package Dashboard – A Web Widget for Symbian about Symbian”