Modern mobile phones provide number of advanced functions, among which possibility of running mobile applications seems to be the most interesting feature. It changes a standard mobile phone into a mini-size yet still powerful computer able to run various applications. Available mobile applications range from games or and organizer type of applications to advanced business applications designed for company’s portable employees. Moreover, the number of mobile application developers is rapidly growing and year by year the developed applications are better, faster and more innovative. However in difference to international trend, the technology of Symbian OS and J2ME development is very far from being popular in Indonesian. It is extremely difficult to find local application developers experienced in J2ME and unfortunately mobile application development industry is almost unexisting here. In a hope of creating more interest in the area of mobile application development within Indonesian application developer community, I prepared a series of articles on J2ME development articles. In this first part of the series of articles, I introduce the very basis of mobile application development, which is setting-up mobile application development environment on your workstation.Mobile applications for Symbian OS based mobile phones can be developed in various programming languages. The most popular programming language on mobile phones is definitely Java. This programming language named after a cup of Javanese coffee, provides simple but truly powerful mean of building portable applications. The great popularity of Java on mobile phones comes mostly from the wide support of major mobile phone manufacturers for the J2ME (Java 2 Mobile Edition) applications and great support by major corporations such as Sun Microsystems and Nokia. Furthermor, the overall idea of Java multi-platform compatibility makes it a perfect choice for portable devices such as mobile phones. One of the leading Java development tools on the market is NetBeans product. In June 2000 NetBeans was generously made open source by Sun Microsystems, which still remains the project sponsor. NetBeans is an open-source project that liberated mobile application development and provided strong alternative to commercial mobile application development enviroments. It allowed to replace a complicated process of configuring development environment that discouraged number of users from trying development of J2ME applications, into a simple, trivial to install and powerful mobile application development tool. What previously took hours now takes minutes and provides excellent comfort for developers. The NetBeans project is also a community where people from just about any country, have the ability to make a wide variety of contributions and exchange their knowledge. The two base NetBeans products are NetBeans IDE and NetBeans Platform. Thanks to Sun Microsystems, both products are free for commercial and noncommercial use, which makes it an excellent tool for beginners in a mobile application development. For this reason I decided to focus my article on the use of NetBeans IDE application. Since NetBeans is free, you can start developing applications from now without any adiditonal cost, and if you are commited you can even make profit out of it! Let’s start The first stage of mobile application development is getting all the necessary applications. As previously mentioned everything we need can be freely downloaded from the Internet. The list of basic elements of our application development enviroment goes as follow:
- J2SE(TM) Development Kit,
- NetBeans IDE,
- NetBeans Mobility Pack Installer.