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Porting to the Symbian Platform: Open Mobile Development in C/C++ by Mark Wilcox

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Chapter 1. Introduction

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

This is a book about making software work on the most widely used open mobile device operating system on the planet, in other words, it is about porting to the Symbian platform. It is also a book that describes a new paradigm for the development of native applications[1] on mobile devices, creating and using code that is much more portable than has been possible historically. If that doesn't already sound like something that's worth investing your time and effort in, then hopefully this chapter will convince you.

Before discussing this new era of mobile software development we need to answer a few basic questions:

  • What is porting?

  • What is portability?

  • Why port to mobile platforms?

  • Why get interested now?

  • Why port to the Symbian platform?

All of this and more will be revealed in the following sections. Along the way, I'll introduce some of the core technologies that will enable the next generation of native mobile applications. Using these technologies is the subject of the bulk of this book. In answering these questions, I'll also look to the future to give a hint at the directions your projects could go in after you've successfully ported them to the Symbian platform.

What Is Porting?

Taking the established convention of the Internet age, and consulting Wikipedia as our starting point, we define porting as follows:

In computer science, porting is the process of adapting software ...

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