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Develop: OPL Section - Introduction to the OPL Project

A project to help change the future of Symbian programming? We hope so. Many have asked for help with simple programming on the 92x0 - and now All About Symbian mainly thanks to FreEPOC in the guise of Ewan Spence are delivering. As Ewan was heard to say... 'it's time step up to the penalty spot'. We've kept our side of the bargain - now it is your turn - a chance for you to do something for the Symbian community.

OPL is a BASIC like language that was originally created for some of the first Psion Computers. It has grown up with EPOC and Symbian and made it onto the Nokia 92x0 currently in Beta form. OPL gives a great opportunity for anyone to have a go at programming - it's simple but surprisingly powerful - a language which you can use to create real programs for your 92x0 - will you become the next Mr Vexed?

One of the greatest strength of the Psion platform was the plethora of software available from individuals who had crafted programs using OPL in their spare time. Its availability as a language that could be programmed and translated on the machine as well as in a PC Emulator resulted in 1,000's of applications. Wouldn't it be great if we could have something similar on the 92x0?

All About Symbian and FreEPOC realise that programming can be seen as difficult, but we hope to (no, will!) convince you otherwise. Ewan has been busy writing an Event Core (a template program) which is now available from the FreEPOC website. This allows anyone to take the bare bones program and build onto it their idea for a program - half the work is done for you - you are left to implement the idea. But we're not leaving you there, we are holding your hand all the way. Ewan is publishing on All About Symbian a series of tutorials to take you through the basics of OPL, the event core and finally showing you how to make your program (using a Mastermind type game as an example). These tutorials will be accompanied by other articles helping you get the emulator up and running and OPL installed on both it and your 92x0. We'll help you though the whole development process with articles of setting up a simple webpage, marketing and distributing your application, and much more. We'll also be providing full support for any problem you might have through the revamped developer forums.

Not only that, but to help you get motivated and create your own applications for the community, FreEPOC and All About Symbian have worked in conjunction with many of the existing Software Houses working with the 9210 to provide over $3,000 worth of prizes in a Developer Competition geared for you, the hobby developer. You can find out more about the competition here.

More details will be forthcoming over the next few weeks, but in the mean time maybe you should get hold of the SDK and get ready to start coding. A tutorial on getting set up will be with you very shortly and Ewan's part 1 will follow shortly after that.

The 'official' aims of this project are to:

  • Promote OPL as a language for all Symbian machines, but primarily the Nokia 92x0 series
  • To create and encourage a broad base of users and software on the internet using OPL
  • To create a community of part-time programmers, complimenting the existing professional developers.

We hope this project as something that could benefit the whole community. In a nutshell we want to help you program loads of programs in OPL and thereby show OPL as a langauge is very much alive and kicking.

We want to show that OPL is something that could be of great benefit to the Symbian community - we would like to see OPL become available in its final version for the Nokia 92x0 and be available for other Symbian devices (such as the 7650 and P800). But it's not just up to myself, or Ewan. It's up to you all, as a community. Only you can help defend Symbian against the Dark Forces of the rival Operating Systems with their myriad of applications. We've drawn a line in the sand. We'll fight back from here, side by side. And with your help, we can achieve greatness (Okay Ewan wrote that last bit, he's a bit over the top, but has he got a point? I think so... - Rafe).

Return to the OPL Project start page



Copyright (©) Rafe Blandford 2000-2002    |     Last modified: January 01 2003.