Journey into SuperWaba

Ever wonder what it takes to write programs for your PDA? I did, and so now I am beginning a journey to try my hand at writing something for the PalmOS. SuperWaba, a variation of Java for the PDA, is my language of choice. And I'm a novice, which makes it all the more unpredictable. Hope you'll come along for the ride! Note: You can read multiple posts on one page if you click on an archive link.

Monday, July 12, 2004

ED: Success! (There's Always A Workaround)

YIPEE! While I may have hit a couple roadblocks due to Sony and a lack of response from the SuperWaba community, I think I'm going to be okay with a workaround. And tomorrow night I'll sleep, sleep, sleep because I sure didn't leave much time to do that tonight! It feels a little like I'm in college again.

Quick Recap of the Situation
I was having troubles making things work with my Sony Clie and SuperWaba. I could run code on my SJ33 directly, but couldn't test it in an alternate location (applet viewer or emulator). That's important to me because I can't be making backups every time I want to try my code. But the PDA is my only PDA so I don't dare running "novice" code without backing up first.

The better solution is to test the code on the PC. So I tried to upload my ROM using the emulator. It didn't work and I couldn't figure out a remedy. Next I tried to download the SJ33 ROM from Sony and found that new registrations are no longer accepted, so I can't get the ROM there. (BTW, I was pleased to see that quite a few of the top Palm news sites picked up on the story really quickly. There was information on Palm Addict, OneSource, and Palm Infocenter already at last check.)

So I'm left with the Applet viewer, but I couldn't run SuperWaba code using the Applet viewer and make it look like the SJ33. The problem was that there was no way to use the font I needed to make it look "pretty." I posted a question to the SuperWaba newsgroup and was basically given the 'ole "talk to the hand" response. By this time I had another plan of attack.

Alternate Plan
I figured I could switch to the Palm Simulator (for OS5+) and code for the Tungsten E, rather than trying use the POSE emulator (for <=OS4). Actually, that is now looking like a good choice. I looked at some T|E sales on Ebay, but they were all around $150 and up. I was hoping for $100 and down, but that was not in the cards. But I think coding for the T|E simulator in support of my SJ33 may work out about the same as having a Clie emulator because of SuperWabas portability, and the screen similarities. Can't really tell yet, but so far so good.

I did install the T|E Simulator. And after some fiddling (the trick turned out to be that I had to tweak the simulator .ini file to use the last saved settings/configuration. Once I did that things worked like a charm and I could write the code in MobileCreator and push a single button to compile, create the Palm install files and run in the simulator. Pretty slick. Daniel Tauschke, the creator of MobileCreator, is my hero today. Thanks Daniel!

Some Thoughts And Next Up
I'm actually rather pleased so far with SuperWaba despite being snubbed by the SuperWaba community at large. And that's certainly much better than what I think about Sony right now!

This may become a theme... "Oh No!" followed by "There's gotta be a workaround" followed by "Aha!" followed by "So far so good!" and another "Oh No!"

Details about this step (getting a trivial SuperWaba program to work on the simulator and my SJ33) will come next as soon as I have time to gather my thoughts and write down what I did.

Hopefully, by suffering through this learning process, I can make it a bit easier for other novices to get past the "getting started" difficulties that we all face. Better to let me struggle and pass on the information than have thousands (well, maybe hundreds?, er.. maybe dozens?, okay maybe one more!) of us suffer the same problems independently. At least that's my theory. If anyone is getting anything out of this, whether information or simply amusement, I'd love to hear your comments!

Thanks for reading!


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