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.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Will It Be Pretty? NO!

The next step has been somewhat vexing for me, because there's a big chasm between where I am and where I want to go.

You see, I'm not sure what program is my end goal. I have lots of options, but need to know more before I pick.

I could start compiling and fiddling with more of the demo programs. Or I could go through the tutorials. Or to shore up a bit more with Java, I could go back to my Beginning Java book first. What to do?

Well, while I sort that out in my mind (my schedule's been busy so haven't had any time for my hard-core learning time), I thought I'd post another thought about the look and feel.

As I pondered my end result I realized that I also have to make some decisions about what the end product is going to look like. I don't like the appearance of many of the superwaba programs I've seen. They're, well, just kind of ugly. But others seem nice, so I know it must be a matter of how you write the code.

I don't really want to write an ugly app. But when the rubber hits the road, I have to be practical. I'm not a gui designer. I've seen posts on the newsgroup that tend to give me the impression that fancy gui stuff (like underlining certain elements) is pretty complicated. And I find it's generally true for all software tools that you find the going much easier if you use it the way it was designed to be used and for the mainstream features only. If you start to push the envelope it can be exciting if you know what you are doing, but pretty darned annoying if you are a novice without much time to problem solve.

So there it is.... the answer to "Will it be pretty" is NO! I've reconciled myself to the fact that I have limited time and limited knowledge, so for now I'm going to make any apps I write pretty barebone, both in style and probably in functionality. If I decide to publish a program to the world later, I'll worry about pretty at that point.

Sort of as a corollary, I seem to get the impression that one of the great challenges of programming for Palm is making it work on the wide range of devices available. SuperWaba should help a bit with that, but I'm sure it's still an issue. For now I will be content to just program for my T|E simulator and/or my SJ33.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........... I feel much better. It was hard for me to settle for bare bones like this, but now that I've faced the facts, I think it's lifted a great burden off my back, and I'm excited about moving forward again.


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