With this article I want to provide some basic insights on Nokia WRT widgets, how they work and how to implement and deploy them to handsets.
Widget files are then packaged into a .wgz file which really is just a renamed ZIP file. If you then send this .wgz file to a compatible device, it will detect that this is a widget and ask you to install it as an application.
The basic work flow to develop such a widget would be like this:
- create the XML widget description file, namely Info.plist
- test your widget in a web browser
- ZIP it all into a package and rename it to .wgz
- send it to the device via bluetooth or upload it to a web server and download it via the device’s web browser
- now your widget installs in the device’s applications menu and can be used
While this is feasible you might have noticed that this work flow has its flaws, especially when it comes to testing and deploying your widget.
Therefore we were happy that Nokia joined forces with Aptana and created a WRT plugin for Aptana Studio that helps you to speed up this work flow and actually enables you to write and deploy a widget in such a short time that on-device testing becomes possible.
Additional to code completion, syntax highlighting and all the other nice features Aptana Studio has to offer, you can very easily create, preview, package and even deploy your widget right out of the IDE to your device.
We were using the windows version of Aptana Studio during the hackathon, but are usually working on Macs - it works there just as easily: You can switch to the preview pane while editing the widget’s HTML file and choose from a collection of compatible Nokia phones defined by screen sizes. This gives you a more or less rough idea how the widget will look like on the device. Then you can right-click on the widget project and choose to package the whole thing into a .wgz file. Another right-click option is to deploy the widget to a device via bluetooth. This is the best feature because you can directly test your work on a real device this way. You can also deploy to Nokia’s device emulator which however only runs on windows.
Bottom line is if you have some experience with web development and want to get into developing widgets for Nokia, we can only recommend to read some documentation, get Aptana Studio and the WRT plugin and get going in no time. Oh and don’t forget to publish your widget on Nokia’s brand new OVI store to make it accessible to millions of users and maybe even make a buck or two by selling it there.