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Advice requested

 
Mark KanjiSoft
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Hi,

I have some questions I hope someone would be kind enough to answer.

First, the situation: I market an educational shareware product, a flashcard program for learning Japanese characters ("KanjiCan" at www.kanjisoft.com). It's currently written in Microsoft Access.

I've started porting it to Java, due to the fact that I prefer Java generally speaking, and also due to the fact that Java runs on a Mac, which would give me another platform to market in.

Additionally, I would also like to develop it such that it can run on PDA OS's such as PalmTop OS, Pocket PC and others if possible. I believe there's a market there for people who want to review flashcards while on the train, waiting in line, etc.

My thought, after some very preliminary research, is to use the Java AWT as the GUI interface with mySql as the database. For the JVM on PDA, I'm thinking about IBM's J9, which implements both of the Java mobile specs: J2ME CLDC (for small devices like phones but also for Palm devices) and J2ME CDC (for PocketPC, Linux etc).

However, there is also the possibility of using .Net, which apparently supports Access and therefore would save me to market time. However, I'm strongly leaning toward Java for it's Mac compatibility and the fact that I'd like to keep the code base for various platforms as unified as possible.

So, I'd like any thoughts people might have on this approach. Also, is it worth getting SCMAD certification if I pursue the J2me path? I'm considering this as well.

Thanks in advance,
Mark

SCJP 1.1, SCJD, 1.1, SCEA
 
Theodore Casser
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(I shall have to go look at your product, once I start up again with teaching myself Japanese, when I get around to trying to learn Kanji. Hmmm....)

Well, for starters, porting from Access to MySQL shouldn't be too hard, more a matter of designing the tables and doing an ODBC transfer. (It's do-able - I've done it before.) Just fyi.

As for the other question - I for one would love to see a Java version, both SE and ME (I use, personally, a PocketPC when I roam). I think you'd probably have to think about what you'd use for the database when you move over to the J2ME platform, though, which probably would color how you plan the project out in its entirety.... though it's certainly still doable if you build it with interfaces that can be swapped in and out for the UI and database.

I think it'd be worth getting SCMAD, or at the very least studying for it in this context. But that's just me.

Hope this helps at all.
 
Mark KanjiSoft
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posted August 13, 2004 07:08 AM
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>(I shall have to go look at your product, once I start up again with >teaching myself Japanese, when I get around to trying to learn Kanji. >Hmmm....)

I'ts a fascinating language. It does take a lot of perseverence to master it - I'm still working on it.

>Well, for starters, porting from Access to MySQL shouldn't be too hard, >more a matter of designing the tables and doing an ODBC transfer. (It's >do-able - I've done it before.) Just fyi.

It was actually even easier than that - I found a free tool to do the
conversions automatically.

>As for the other question - I for one would love to see a Java version, >both SE and ME (I use, personally, a PocketPC when I roam). I think you'd >probably have to think about what you'd use for the database when you move >over to the J2ME platform, though, which probably would color how you plan >the project out in its entirety.... though it's certainly still doable if >you build it with interfaces that can be swapped in and out for the UI and >database.

I thought mySql would be a good candidate for all 3 platforms. One problem
with the run everywhere is that it may not run *well* anywhere. On
my inititial iteration of the J2SE version, the search pop-up initially
comes up far slower then the comparable function in Access. I'll probably
have to do some procedure whereby it can display while still loading.

The other problem is it's very difficult to replicate the advanced functionality of an Access combo box in Swing. Specifically having the combo box advance in its selection list to the word which matches the string being entered, as it's being entered. You'd think this would be easy, but it is far from it. All I've managed so far is a match on the
first latter.

>I think it'd be worth getting SCMAD, or at the very least studying for it >in this context. But that's just me.

?Hope this helps at all.
--------------------

Yes it does, very much. It's good to review ideas, I had a couple of thought while writing my response.

Regards,
Mark
 
Mark Spritzler
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For the Pocket PC, I highly suggest VB.Net. I created an application for the Pocket PC and for J2ME, it took me far less time to develop the Pocket PC version. I also think you will find it easier to install on Pocket PCs and you point about Access is correct.

For other PDAs or Cell Phones I highly recommend J2ME. As far as the certifiation for J2ME, it is worth it, but I don't see how it will sell more programs for you.

Mark
 
Mark KanjiSoft
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Good advice!

Two more question:

Have you worked with SWT and J2ME? My limited understanding is SWT can be used on Pocket PC and other PDA's.

Also, what is a good relational database for the pda market? I don't think mySql will do the trick for me, it's more of a client server prodcut; how about pointBase? It looks good, but unfortunately does not come for free.

Thanks in advance,
Mark
 
Mark Spritzler
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I'd say, from what I see, that pointbase is the best selection for mobile devices, their synchronization that can occur with backend databases like Oracle make it a great product for some complex applications.

Mark
 
Michael Yuan
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Originally posted by Mark KanjiSoft:
Have you worked with SWT and J2ME? My limited understanding is SWT can be used on Pocket PC and other PDA's.


SWT is supported on PocketPC but only with the IBM WebSphere Micro Environment's Personal Profile runtime.


Also, what is a good relational database for the pda market? I don't think mySql will do the trick for me, it's more of a client server prodcut; how about pointBase? It looks good, but unfortunately does not come for free.


The HSQLDB is an open source database for PDAs. It is written in Java. However, it lacks a feature from commercial databases: synchronization engine to work with backend enterprise databases. All of these are discussed in detail in my book (see signature).

cheers
Michael
 
Mark KanjiSoft
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Hi Michael,

Thanks for your reply. I will take a look at your book on Amazon. Regarding HSQLD, what I'm looking for is the ability to synchronize from a desktop PC to a PDA. Does the "enterprise" limitatation apply to this situation?

Also, what is your opinion of Super-waba? It seems to be a good option for both Pocket PC and Palm Pilot.

Best regards,
Mark
 
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