Over the last couple of years the KDE Mobile project has been evolving as it targeted many embedded platforms. Currently, the focus is on the shiny Nokia gadgets (N9 and N950) running the platform called Harmattan. Eleven talented developers met in person at a recent KDE Sprint, giving a boost to porting KDE Applications onto this platform, creating new working relationships, and discussing various issues around the KDE Mobile project for handsets.
The sprint was held at the Physics Institute of the Humboldt University in Berlin between the 18th and the 20th of November (almost on the anniversary of the first KDE Mobile Sprint, what a celebration!)
We began collecting the main vision and critical points in advance of the sprint. There were many things to discuss and hacking dependency tasks.
Short introductions got people familiar with what others were working on. Despite having individual applications to port, we agreed that there was a need to establish an optimal and simplified development workflow for KDE Mobile Application developers. Therefore, we started focusing on establishing the common infrastructure.
We discussed the potential development environments available—the Harmattan Platform SDK (Scratchbox) and MADDE (Maemo Application Development and Debugging Environment). It was important to discuss this thoroughly, because it is important to reduce set up time for our developers.
Set up was a hot topic—how to organize development dependencies such as kdelibs, kde-runtime, libkdeedu and others. We decided to use the Community Repository on the MeeGo Community Open Build Service. We agreed to continue this way with an additional point...a a fallback option is needed for publishing KDE packages if the Community OBS is not functioning.
We talked about the available technologies for the UI—Harmattan and Plasma. For now, the Harmattan components will provide a more native look and feel. The next topic was the packaging workflow of the development cycle. App stores such as the Nokia OVI Store accept only applications, no libraries or plugins. After a thorough discussion of the available approaches, we grabbed the idea of getting our dependencies into the same package. We also discussed testing and debugging applications on target devices efficiently after development, and tighter integration of the KDE Software Collection (especially notifications and Plasma components) with the Harmattan platform.
Getting tasks done
The participants had a good amount of discussion and hacking during the event. Importantly, we achieved our goal of creating a Knowledge Base wiki page. The sprint formed a good foundation for a KDE Android sprint in the first half of the next year. Stay tuned!
When it came time to turn to individual projects:
Social event with the KDE e.V. 2011 attendees
Sprints are not just about getting technical things done, but also about having some off-topic fun. Luckily, the KDE e.V. 2011 sprint was happening simultaneously with ours. So we had the opportunity to gather everyone for a pleasant meal at a nice cafe in Kreuzberg. Immense tastiness and good German beer helped us have an excellent evening there. The KDE folks of the two sprints made it a memorable social meeting.
On Saturday evening after working hard during the day, a few of us went out for a bit of socializing at "B-Lage" where the beer was cheap and good. The place was awesome for listening to the music and chatting about non-technical issues.