McNits: Mike’s Palm Programming Nitpicks, Part 4


Do you remember your teenage years, the time of your life that “awkward” was more than a word, it was a way of life? If you can program a computer, chances are you understand perfectly. This is where Palm OS is right now. It has just started its adolescence, the time that it is trying new things, vying for acceptance, getting into trouble, and trying to find out what it wants to do in the future. It was once a cute, darling little operating system that everyone liked (who ever saw an ugly baby or at least admitted that to the mother?) but it is now growing up.

Palm OS 5 is a transition operating system. On the surface it looks like any other Palm OS device, but the internals have changed drastically. Included is support for a whole new class of ARM processors, a high-resolution API, sampled sound and many other features too numerous to list here. While these are all well and good, there are still some drawbacks to OS 5 such as lack of multi-tasking and the same old user interface just to name a few. The next major release of Palm OS (rumored to be named Palm OS 6) promises to improve upon these issues.

During this transition period, your programs will have to adapt. In most cases you will need to do nothing, and it will be simple to verify that your program works with Palm OS 5 and future versions. However, bad programming practices will most likely come back to haunt you and cause you and your user’s great pain. As the Palm OS and its developer community learns and then graduates from adolescence, a better system awaits the Palm OS user community. These nitpicks will help you realize what is awkward and what is acceptable.

User Interface Nitpicks

Compatibility Nitpicks

Bug Nitpicks

Support Nitpicks

Extension (Hack) Nitpicks

Audio Nitpicks

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