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How to start Java programming for mobile phones?

I am a desktop applications developer. I use mainly Delphi and Visual C++ to work on products.

I'd like to start writing some Java applications (midlets?) for mobile phones.

Since I use Delphi in my everyday work, I'm used to a powerful IDE, and I usually expect such a thing.

What do I need to download in order to write some apps for my mobile phone?

I'd like a good IDE, with integrated help, debugging, etc.


Thursday, March 11, 2004

IBM's websphere studio has a mobile edition.  However be prepared to sell your children.

Have a look at eclipse.  It's the foundation for Websphere studio, but free.  You'll have to do the launching of emulators etc. yourself but you'll save enough money to buy a couple of phones.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Step 1) Obtain a large mallet.
Step 2) Put your most sensitive body parts against a hard surface.
Step 3) Have a friend bang away full-tilt for 2 minutes.

After that, reading the MIDP documentation won't seem so bad.

Okay, I'm exagerating a little bit, but not much.  MIDP development is a PITA.  It's a case where you first have to understand it all before you can accomplish the slightest little thing.  Their goal was write once, run anywhere EXTREME!!!111  As such it's abstracted to hell and back.  It's nothing like Delphi.

Richard P
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Argh! Please don't!

The idea of bloated, slow, ugly applications taking over my handphone just scared me wide-awake.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I've also been thinking about playing around with Java for mobile devices.  I'm strictly a .Net developer right now, and I'm a bit perplexed by all of the different Java variants.

From what I've read, J2ME seems like the best way to develop for handhelds.  Some of the Palm devices are marketed as including J2ME, but others are not.  Is it possible to use J2ME applications on these other Palm devices as well?  (E.g., if the users install MIDP or some other VM?)  If not, is there another way to develop Palm applications using Java?

Robert Jacobson
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Nokia offers a SDK that adds to J2ME. Also, nokia will offer a python interpretor with their phones soon so you might not need to go the java route.

Tom Vu
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Development for mobile phones doesn't seem to pay well. It's low price stuff. For commercial work you have to get your games validated by the carrier and pay a fee for it.

Also, the phone companies are running lots of "competitions" to get people to write stuff for free. (Of course, they don't give their phones away. An old story.)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

JBuilder is great for J2ME.    Good visual design tools and its easy to integrate the different manufacturers toolkits.

Nokia has a lot of great documentation on their site at

Thursday, March 11, 2004


Apps written in Java for the palm pilot are all MIDP. Change the VM, and it'll most likely be a MIDP VM. ie: the new IBM VM is MIDP, as well as the old Sun provided one.

There are similar-to's, like SuperWaba, but it's not directly a Java thing. You can write in Java syntax, but it's not a Java distributable.

Arron Bates
Friday, March 12, 2004

I've developed some J2ME games for my sprint pcs phone.  I use Forte for Java with an SDK from sprint.  The SDK is free, and Forte was free when I downloaded it, I think its now part of Sun ONE studio and I'm not sure if its free anymore.
  Do a google search for your phone and 'j2me' you should come up with some stuff.  Basically you will download and install some kind of SDK for your phone.  Sprint phones are different from verizon, tmobile, etc.  The SDK will contain some libraries for your phone like how to make it play sounds and vibrate, and it should come with an emulator, some docs, and sample apps.

Friday, March 12, 2004

I've actually looked at J2ME for a class research project this term, specifically sending SMS messages.

J2ME comes with an emulator, or at least the Wireless Toolkit does.  It also comes with KToolbar to manage your projects. Simple to build and run.  Eclipse has an EclipseME plugin for J2ME.  EclipseME is pretty lame though, just launching the emulator.

I use IntelliJ and it was pretty trivial to edit the code there, then click "build/run" in J2ME's Ktoolbar project manager.

I didn't write any games, or GUI really (again, my focus was messaging), but J2ME was pretty simple to use.  It also came with a number of sample applications, so it was easy to get started.

Chris Kessel
Friday, March 12, 2004

Java apps on mobile phones are best written in a normal text editor.  I use jedit, but you might prefer notepad or what not.

Any embedded programming, including J2ME, is best done with  slowly and surely, rather than RAD.

If you want RAD, and you are doing business apps, you might prefer playing with Appforge.

i like i
Friday, March 12, 2004

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