Orange Code Camp Overview

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Every 6 months Orange run a developer event which is a mixture of technical sessions, networking and fun. Rafe reports back from the most recent event at Opio, France.

Orange has just concluded Code Camp Opio, the third such event run by the Orange Partner program. Code Camp, now a biannual event, is aimed at developers looking to get the most out of Orange devices (including all the smartphone platforms – Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm and Linux) and Orange Services.

The event, lasting three days, consisted of technical and commercial sessions, aimed at helping give developers a deeper understanding of a whole spectrum of issues, and was bookended by the opening and closing Pow Wows. There were plenty of opportunities for informal socialising and networking, outside the sessions, and the Welcome Fair kept delegates busy with fairground games and food on the first night, and the Fun Fest entertained attendees on the second night.

Everyone was at Code CampIn the Opening Pow Wow, which set the scene for the biggest Code Camp yet, Steve Glago (Director of the Orange Partner program) introduced the Orange Partner program and the ways Orange and developers could work together to bring the best of breed solutions to customers. The opportunities presented to developers by the Orange brand, Orange devices and Orange business solutions were summarised, which acted as previews for later sessions. The gold sponsors of the event (Symbian, Sony Ericsson, UIQ and Forum Nokia) summarised their recent announcements and trailed the sessions they would be running over the next two days.

With more than 80 sessions, spread over three days, there was a lot of variety on offer. For the first time Orange offered a dedicated commercial sessions track which aimed to explore the commercialising of applications and services, both in a general context and specifically opportunities within the various Orange networks. Technical sessions aimed to advise developers of emerging trends and give details on recent announcements, tools, technologies and opportunities.

Sessions ranged from 'Engineering with Business Plan' (John Pagonis, Symbian) which offered advice to ISV start ups in the mobile software world, to 'Programming with the P990' (Mark Donohoe, Sony Ericsson and Ed Kay, UIQ) which introduced the P990 and UIQ 3 to developers and explained UIQ 3's 'single code base for multiple UI form factors' concept, and 'Orange's Routes to Market', which explored how developers could use various channels to reach Orange's customers.

During the evening entertainment and meal times attendees had a chance to exchange ideas and opinions with their peers and industry experts. Topics ranged from the strategic overview, such as how the trend for Entertainment on Mobiles (music, video and games) could be best exploited and what mobile specific factors had to be accounted for, to the technical, such as the impact and implications of the security model and signing process in Symbian OS 9. There was also a sense of anticipation and expectation for the forthcoming year with many predicting 2006 to be a breakout year for the mobile developer industry with the wider tech industry waking up the possibilities of the mobile arena.

The Venue
In the Closing Pow Wow, Glago summarised the message of the Code Camp and the Orange ethos, 'it is not about the technology, but rather it is about what the technology enables people to do', before going on to announce the results of the competitions.

Cannac (IconDirect) won the '3 minute - a day in the life video' for their entry exploring the frustration news users sometimes have with their seemingly incomprehensible phones and one possible solution. In the Orange Series 60 Challenge, which attracted more than 100 entries, Virtual Radio (Ninj Ltd), Vista Management Software (Flextronics), and Phlogger (Alan Bradburner and Paul Bentley) walked away with the honours. In the Orange Code Camp competition, run during the event which had more than 70 entries and which encouraged developers to code or complete projects during the event itself, Incident Manager (Modaco), Razz (Phonebites), and Transclick (Transclick) won various categories and an unlocked Orange device of their choice before Sudoku from Astraware glided away into the rain on their prize – a Segway HT.

All that was left before the event ended was to announce that Code Camp USA (May 2006) would once again be held in Sarasota, Florida.