Thursday, 26 February 2009

Redesign Mobile Go Using New Design Pattern

While I was learning Java programming these days, I also reconsidered the design of Mobile Go. Mobile Go for PalmOS is an self-motivated project without well plan and design in advance. It luckily came out as a good work. It works because I fully understand what I'm doing, and moreover, what I want as a Go player.

Three years after Mobile Go was born, I now have a bigger picture for it. It will be running on much more diversified devices. It will be offering more features. Ultimately It will probably be offering services other than just playing and observing games, such as pushed news, IM, problem solving champion, etc.

Can Mobile Go achieve these goals? I don't know. But I know it won't be there if I'm not going to do something for it now. That's why I have to redesign Mobile Go. I have to do it from scratch. In order to make Mobile Go platform independent and functionality expandable, a new design pattern is needed. Yes, that is MVC (Model-View-Controller) design pattern.

Monday, 16 February 2009

J2ME - Mobile Go's Next Platform

I have been looking for the next platform for Mobile Go since it was released for Palm OS in 2006. Windows Mobile and Symbian used to be my considerations. Due to my not-so-good experience of using Dell X30, I quickly dropped Windows Mobile and picked Symbian. After weeks of study of Nokia's S60, which is the most shipped Symbian-based platform, I unfortunately realized that Symbian was not for me. Not only because it is so difficult to start with, but also there is no touch screen support until recently.

Later, there came iPhone. I initially thought it might be a perfect platform for Mobile Go. Large screen, hight resolution, touch screen, multi task and 3G all make senses. However, I was wrong again. There is touch screen but no stylus support, fingers only. Don't forget we have to squeeze a 19 x 19 board in to the 3.5 inch wide screen. How can you place a stone on such a "LARGE" screen with your finger? Though I have figured out how to solve this issue, I was still not convinced to write a program for iPhone. Because the worse thing is that iPhone DOES NOT allow a third party application running on the background. It means if there is an incoming call while you are playing a game using Mobile Go for iPhone, the connection with Go server will be dropped and Mobile Go has to be terminated. Definitely, you are going to loose the game .

Another year passed. I was still looking for the right platform for Mobile Go until my wife got her BlackBerry Bold and I got my Sony Ericsson W910i recently. I didn't know Java platform can be powerful enough to drive BlackBerry to success. I learned most feature phones and a large number of smart phones support J2ME. BlackBery, Nokia's S40 & S60, Sony Ericsson's Java Platform all support J2Me. I believe many phones from other makers like Samsung, LG, Motolora and Lenovo, you name it, do support J2ME somewhat.

Why not give Java a try? I said to myself. So I began to setup a development environment last week. I downloaded and installed Eclipse, EclipseMe, BlackBerry's JDE for Eclipse plug-in, SonyEricsson's J2ME SDK, Nokia's S40 and S60 Java SDK. About a week later, I'm now able to build and run my first Java MIDlet "Hello World" on Sony Ericsson's both emulator and real device, and Nokia's S40/S60 emulators as well. Good start. I'll keep working on BlackBerry and build up my J2ME programming skills. There are a lot of things to learn, but it will be fun and I will make it.