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Handheld devices development.

Claude Moore
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 24, 2005
Posts: 475
    
    1

Several years ago, I lead a project in which my team developed some applications in Java to be run on Handheld devices.
We decided not to adopt the recentely born - at those times - Java ME (because we would have needed to learn a technology that at the times was quite an edge one)
and we preferred to use a *full* Java SE implementation, that device vendor suggested us to adopt.
Adopting that runtime allowed us to write simple applets which, in turn, were able to run seamlessly on both handheld devices and common desktop browsers.

Of course we were - and we are nowadays - bounded to use an ancient version of JRE - I think it was 1.1.8 version of the language - but
that was and still is great for the limited GUIs we needed to build. Such applications indeed were targeted to help attendants at storage
facilities during inventory, expedition of goods and so on and never needed for complex interfaces, even because underlying use cases
were - and currently are - quite simple (basically it's all about reading barcodes, send them to a central server for processing and layout processing results).

Recently we decided to search for a more recent implementation on Java SE on handheld devices, but not surprisingly, it seems that such alternatives simply don't exist
any more... and as far as I'm reading, even Java ME is not in good health.

I think that now it's about time to look forward and search for a better approach, since Java on handheld seems to me a risky road ahead. It seems to me that
developing simple web applications - even with limited css and javascript support - would be a long lasting solution.

What do you think about ? Any suggestions ?

Thank you for all your help.







Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10491
    
    9

Claude Moore wrote:and we preferred to use a *full* Java SE implementation, that device vendor suggested us to adopt.
Adopting that runtime allowed us to write simple applets which, in turn, were able to run seamlessly on both handheld devices and common desktop browsers.


Do I understand you correctly when I think you ran the applet on the hand held device? What kind of device was it? You mentioned inventory. Was it a bar code scanner? Or a "non smart" phone?





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Claude Moore
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 24, 2005
Posts: 475
    
    1

Yes, you understood very well.
That sounds strange, and maybe we were the few that followed such approach... Anyway it worked and currently works.

There's no a specific device on which we installed our product, to be honest... usually they were - and currently are - hand held devices
with Windows Pocket PC or Windows Mobile on ARM architecture, integrated Wi-Fi and barcode scanner. It's all matter of underlying SO,
not hardware...






Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10491
    
    9

As you have already noticed JME is sort of on the decline.
My last JME application was (like yours) a hand held bar code scanner. However, in my case I wanted the ability to cache the scanned data, and then batch update. At that time, we had used LWUIT for the UI and plain servlets at the back end which eventually interacted with the DB.

If the applet approach works for you, it would make sense to continue with it. Like you said not much new development is happening in the JME world.
Of course you can always go "native" and develop in whatever language is supported by your scanner OS. Of course this would also mean, different OS = different native "apps"
Claude Moore
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 24, 2005
Posts: 475
    
    1

Thanks for your reply, Maneesh.

I think that it would be impracticable to go "native", indeed in most of cases customers have got yet their own handheld with a good variety of different SO.
That was why we endorsed Java even for PDA and handhelds...the main problem is that we were forced to use AWT which, as you known, relies upon underlying SO, so that
now on recent PDA we have some components (Choice, for example) not rendered properly.

In my humble opinion it's really a pity that Java has been (practically, I mean) abandoned on handheld devices and that never took off with respect to mobile development...

Thank a lot for your suggestions !


 
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subject: Handheld devices development.