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Introducing Carbide for Nokia Series 60 Development

With a free (albeit poorly integrated) tool chain from Nokia and more capable IDEs from the likes of Borland and Metrowerks, and various initiative announcements over the last twenty-four months, choosing a tool chain for the new developer has been a Byzantine affair. With the announcement of Carbide.j and Carbide.c++, Nokia has just made the decision-making process much easier.

o me, half the battle of starting development on a new mobile platform is fighting issues with new tool chains. Sometimes, it's maturity issues: the tools just aren't ready. Other times it's documentation issues: the tools just aren't well documented. Regardless, the simple process of moving to a new mobile platform fills me with a mixture of excitement and dread as I contemplate selecting a tool chain, grappling with the various unknowns, and discovering what isn't documented or functional while simultaneously executing against whatever project deadline that's already been set.

Part of the problem is the cost of providing the SDK for a new platform; manufacturers typically cobble together an SDK consisting of GUI and command-line tools around a well-known product like Microsoft Visual Studio, and the result is as uncomfortable to use as it probably was to build. The remainder of the problem is a confluence of factors: platform vendors seldom have the resources and abilities of tool vendors, lack of experience with a new platform makes it harder to determine what developers actually need, and the rapid changes inherent in the early part of a platform's life cycle leads to a lot of special cases and awkward-to-use tools. The Nokia SDK for Series 60 was an excellent example of all of this; while it did the job for software developers well, it had legacy bits that dated back to Symbian's Psion history, and was, to put it mildly, clunky at best. Not so with its replacement, Carbide, from Nokia. Carbide comes in two flavors: Carbide.c++ for doing Series 60 development in C++, and Carbide.j, the follow on to Nokia's J2ME developer kits for Series 40 and Series 60.

This article takes a closer look at Carbide.c++, the SDK for doing Series 60 development in C++. J2ME developers should be sure to check out Carbide.J, their environment for J2ME developers.

Getting Started
To use Carbide.c++, you must have a PC with a recent version of Microsoft Windows installed, along with ActiveState Perl 5.6. You don’t need to have Eclipse installed; Carbide.c++ includes Eclipse in its installer. Simply download the Carbide.c++ installer from Nokia and follow the instructions. When you're done you will also need to download and install at least one S60 or UIQ SDK; the Carbide.c++ installer presents a Web page with links to these, so that's easy. Be prepared to wait a while during the downloads and installation, though—you're going to be downloading a lot (hundreds of megabytes) of data.

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