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Tizen, Oh Boy

Son. Tizen. Samsung, what did you do?

:pencil: by Jacky Alciné Jacky Alciné :book: an reviews post :bookmark: software , phone :clock7: written - revised :eyeglasses: about 4 minutes, 856 words :link: Comments - 0 Mention(s) - Permalink

Tizen. It’s an operating system currently targeting the mobile landscape but with (insanely huge) ambitions to move to the desktop and embedded devices. First off, I think that the ability to have HTML5 applications as first class apps is awesome. Ubuntu has the same thing going with them and (I think) further ahead with this since most of the applications that run under Unity flex well under Ubuntu Touch. I’m obviously a bit split here as well since KDE’s Plasma Active initiative is something I should be obviously more interesting in since I’m a KDE user. Alas, when it comes to mobile devices, at the moment, I’m a heavy Android user. But this is all about Tizen!

First Try

I got a developer preview device from a hackathon I attended the other day dedicated to building applications for the Tizen operating system. The issues and problems my team and I ran into were insane. I, for one, was the only pure Linux developer there that I could find. Others were running in a virtual machine but none really had the issue (that I was aware) that I had. Off the back, the [“Tizen IDE”][tizen_ide] was a prepackaged solution of [Eclipse]1. I wanted to so badly run out of the place yelling “The British are Coming!” but my team was too cool for me to leave.

I broke in and started playing with the SDK after a few failed attempts to manually install plug ins into a local installation of [Eclipse]2. Writing the application was quite straightforward; we used the jQuery mobile boilerplate that they provided. Then we wanted to use our own JavaScript files hosted remotely from a CDN. Just getting the device on line was a struggle that lasted nearly two to three hours, but a small sliver of the issue was due to the captive portal that our host site had set up in their guest network; so a drop of slack is given.

Our app needed to speak with a Web service since we needed to get information from yet another website and it required some evil logic. There was probably a way to get in the browser; but it’s a hackathon and ain’t nobody got time for that. We hacked and we hacked and we barely got the app looking presently by the time the sixth team went up. Tizen core developers, make life easier!

About the SDK

So the Tizen SDK is not as [open]3 as the Android SDK, but it comes with a few binaries that you need to use to play with Tizen. sdb is definitely the equivalent of Android’s adb; it even has TCP debugging (less cables!) but it’s a bit of black magic to set up. When it comes to things like device logging and what not, sdb dlog is your goto man. However, the filtering is a bit novel (to me) in the sense that grep doesn’t work as I intended with it. Nonetheless, it’s nice to see how it works with NFC when I share files and what not over the logging output.

I’m personally going out of my way to not use Eclipse as my IDE and instead attempt to use other solutions like perhaps Qt for [Tizen]4 or just building and installing from the command line. I’m too used to using Vim for web application (READ: not web design) development so this would (hopefully) be received openly.

Next Steps

From there, I’ll plan to do a lot more research and toying around with Tizen’s source code and determine not only what parts of it are hidden away and what kinks it has compared to Android or native application development.

One thing is a fact about Tizen. It has the utmost potential to shift how mobile application development is done. If we provide websites with mobile interfaces that can be easily packaged into a Tizen HTML5 application; that’s one less language you might have to learn or hire for (that being Objective-C or Java). That alone is an interesting prospect. Think of it seriously, web designers and developers would be more than encouraged to develop web applications “mobile first” so that the application works as necessary across the view ports it happens to appear on.

  1. I reacted as any sane person would

  2. Seriously, though. If you guys are using Eclipse, why not just provide a update site that I can just drop in? I’d love to know what was so impossible about doing that. I’ll be looking into this. 

  3. Like Android’s SDK is released under the OSI-approved Apache 2 license whereas (I think) the Tizen SDK is opened under the Flora license. It’s a new one to me too. 

  4. I’m way more familiar to C++ than to what black magic Tizen’s SDK works with (haven’t checked it yet).