Tutorial :PyS60 vs Symbian C++


I'm planning some Symbian related development on S60 3.1 platform. It seems like generally available language options are Python and C++. However Nokia's official forum seems very much tilted towards C++.

I want to know what are the advantages and disadvantages of using Python for S60 over Symbian C++? And is it even possible to do Python programming for S60 3.1 platform?


PyS60 is good when you need to prototype something simple fast. If you try to develop a full application with it though, you'll most likely find yourself sooner or later wanting to use features that are available in Symbian C++ but not in PyS60 without writing bindings (in C++) for it. Also you'll need to deal with the right version of PyS60 runtime being available, and some of them aren't backwards compatible.

If you go for the Symbian C++ route, you can embed a python interpreter in it too.


C++ is very, very fast, and the Qt library is for C++. If you're programming on a mobile phone, Python will be very slow and you'll have to spend ages writing bindings for it.


I answer this as a user.

PyS60 is slow and not so much app and sample to start with.

C++ is good, native, fast, but if you mind deevelop app for most device (current N-series), you will not want to go with Qt, I have a N78 and tested Qt in N82 too, it's slow (more than Python, sadly but true)


PyS60 has a very limited API. Applications written using it are slow, hard to deploy (since you have to install the runtime first) and cannot be posted on the Ovi store. If you're looking for an easy way to write simple Symbian apps take a look at Nokia WRT.

If you don't mind C++ try the recently released Qt SDK 1.0. It's really powerful, future proof and will soon be supported by the Ovi store.


What is the purpose of your programming? Are you planning distribute your app through Ovi Store? If so, you should use a tool that could be tested and signed by Symbian Signed.

What does it mean? As far as I know, they don't provide such functionality for Python. So you have to choose native Symbian C++ or Qt.

By the way, Qt signing procedure is not quite clear for now. It seems Ovi Store and Symbian Signed are only allow Qt apps for a certain devices (Nokia X6, Nokia N97 mini, maybe some other). I suppose it is a subject for a change, and quite fast change, but you should consider this too.


When 3rd edition Feature Pack 1 ran the latest phones on the market, the main runtime people were using to program them was J2ME (http://www.forum.nokia.com/Develop/Java/). I know the title pits C++ against Python, but have you considered Java? It was much easier than native Symbian C++. The performance is good.


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