07 May 2009

JOM PyS60: 12 months, 22 apps, 45000 pageviews

What can you do with PyS60, the python programming language for Nokia S60 mobile phones? Software, of course! Lots of software, quickly, experimenting and having fun.

Last autumn I had the pleasure to be selected as Forum Nokia Champion, mostly due my engagement with PyS60. This is a report of the last amazing 12 months. If anyone objects shameless self-promotion, please skip the rest. I'm just so happy with the results of using PyS60, that I wanted to share this story.

I've done Symbian C++ for years, survived and never liked it. There was an odd addiction, have to admit that. Getting deep inside Symbian development, focusing 110% for hours and being able to solve complex issues does feel very satisfying. However it never felt very productive. But C++ coding was years ago, maybe things are different now.

Tried Java ME, but run immediately into fragmentation issues. Each line of code seemed to require few more "just in case", no pleasure at all.

Late 2006 PyS60 seemed like a toy programming language. Nice idea, but just didn't have enough anything to be taken seriously. 2008 I tried again. Didn't have much time, didn't want to use too much energy, just a quick look. Surprisingly PyS60 had developed quite nicely and it was possible to write sensor enabled software. PyS60 wasn't only "just another programming language" on par with everything else. It additionally offered access to accelerometer data with just a few simple lines of code!

March 27, 2008, I created my own website for releasing mobile software written with PyS60. From Day One I have been following Google Analytics statistics (free). Can't help it. I cannot write any software and NOT release it. Likewise I cannot create a website and NOT follow what happens with it. No big plans, it's just a way I'm internally wired. Fortunately it turned out to be interesting.

During last (about) 12 months I wrote and released (about) 22 applications written with PyS60. My website has received (about) 45000 pageviews by (about) 16000 absolute unique visitors. They look at average 2.32 average pages using 1:35 minutes on site. Says Google Analytics, can't argue with them.


Never thought PyS60 software would be able to achieve that! Additionally during last one (1) week, I got 2700 pageviews by 1200 visitors, which projects into 11000 views by 5000 visitors for on-going months. Not too bad, considering each and every user has to find, download and install PyS60 runtime before they can use any of those apps. Hope they do. Wonder what the numbers would be for standard Symbian C++ software, much bigger no doubt! But this is python.

What is the future of PyS60? Since it's absolutely beginner friendly while still powerful, one would hope there is some future.

PyS60 1.9.x project is going on and progressing nicely. There are some issues with releases, but it's acceptable for work in progress. Just happy that Nokia Python team has the courage and foresight to make public sprint releases. The much expected PyS60 2.0 will be great, I'm sure about that:

Based on python 2.5.4 core with most of the standard libraries, support for Sensor Framework, support for Touch UI, graphical application packager, support for Platform Service API, some support for development on linux and Mac etc.

Just one request: would you please try to keep same UID, not change it for each and every release unless absolutely necessary?

Does PyS60 have any commercial future? Currently it seems that Nokia Ovi Store accepts only Symbian C++, Java ME and some Flash content. No news about PyS60. Well, as long as PyS60 remains fun to use and more productive than alternatives, I'll remain a happy coder. Wouldn't mind getting serious with Nokia Ovi Store, but that's a business decision out of my reach.


--jouni nighttime and weekend coder


Want to know what those 16000 visitors came to see? Here you are:

PS. Initially released at Forum Nokia Blogs