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Microsoft TouchStudio Uses Phone To Program Phone

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the calling-functions dept.

Microsoft 162

theodp writes "Over the weekend, Microsoft released the beta of TouchStudio, a free Windows Phone app that allows one to write programs for a phone on the very same phone, no computer required. According to the Microsoft Research project page, the work-in-progress TouchStudio aims to bring 'the excitement of the first programmable personal computers to the phone.' Among the code examples provided is a four-liner that scans a phone's music collection for songs less than three minutes long and produces a fairly slick, clickable playlist complete with track info and artwork. Easier than iPhone SDK programming, no?"

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iPhone SDK comparison (0)

wjlafrance (1974820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790798)

Haven't jailbroken iOS users had compilers / text editors on their phones for years now? I know I personally have..

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (1)

EthanV2 (1211444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790828)

But that's jailbroken, not stock iPhone, so it doesn't count. Seriously I wish people would stop comparing jailbroke iPhone to stock Android, Windows and other phones, It's a stupid, unfair comparison.

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791008)

It matters here. Windows Phone 7 hasn't been jailbroken, even if you want to (and if you think the Chevron hack is a jailbreak, you need to turn in your geek card). And the iPhone SDK is so much richer than the WP7 SDK, that any comparison is a joke (just try networking on WP7.....you will quickly start hating your life).

The summary claims it is bringing 'the excitement of the first programmable personal computers to the phone.' No, to me it looks like it is bringing the excitement of visual basic to a phone. I got much more similar excitement from Android or iPhone comparable to the first programmable personal computers that from WP7. WP7 is an exercise in frustration if you want to start hacking at the lower layers.

Caveat: I may have trouble understanding what a beginning programmer might think of this.

And last but not least (3, Interesting)

vidnet (580068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791052)

The Nokia N900 came factory default with a text editor, xterm and a python runtime with sdl bindings.

Re:And last but not least (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791084)

Rock on Nokia N900. Who knows why it didn't take off.

Re:And last but not least (5, Funny)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791134)

Probably because it came factory default with a text editor, xterm, and a python runtime.

Re:And last but not least (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791368)

Windows comes with a text-editor (albeit a crappy one), a terminal (also a crappy one) and runtimes for .NET, that doesn't seem to scare people off. It's not an either/or, you can have a user-friendly phone with advanced features, the less advanced users can just ignore the advanced features.

Carriers control which phones subscribers buy (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791504)

It's not an either/or, you can have a user-friendly phone with advanced features

Unless the carriers don't want to carry your phone. In the United States, the big three wireless carriers have only a small selection of phones, and they tend to shun anything that gives the user too much freedom. Nokia hasn't been able to get any major U.S. carrier to take the N900 (for which I'd appreciate corrections), and buying a phone and service separately is something that the vast majority of subscribers just don't do, for various reasons. Verizon and Sprint, which use CDMA2000, are reluctant to activate any phone that they didn't sell. Even AT&T, whose GSM system in theory lets subscribers bring their own phone, still forces each subscriber to take a "free" phone whose price is included in the monthly bill instead of giving a discount on the monthly bill for not providing a phone.

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791396)

It matters here.

It matters, but not in the way you think.

The biggest drawback for me (not for "the market", but for me) from iOS is you can't use it to make stuff. Until you can use an operating system to make stuff, it's a toy. That's why iOS is a top gaming platform. The iPad is not a phone, so if all it's going to be is a gaming platform, then it's in a different conversation than computers. It's fine, but it's not what I need. (again, yes I know it's the number one tablet, but the number one song right now is Katy Perry and Kanye West singing "ET" and I guarantee that's not the music I need, nor is it the best music at the moment)

This is the first time since the N900 that there will be a handheld platform you can make stuff with. For it to be Microsoft is somewhat surprising. It's not going to make Windows Phone 7 number one, but I really don't care what's number one.

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791494)

This is the first time since the N900 that there will be a handheld platform you can make stuff with. For it to be Microsoft is somewhat surprising. It's not going to make Windows Phone 7 number one, but I really don't care what's number one.

You've been able to program on an Android phone for quite a while now. Android Script Engine (ASE) is an official Google project that binds Python, Perl, JRuby, Lua, BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl, and shell to the Android API, and if you're a masochist, you can edit scripts right there on the phone.

I think I'd prefer to have a real keyboard, and a big screen, though.

No "Unknown sources" on AT&T (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791606)

You've been able to program on an Android phone for quite a while now. Android Script Engine

Not if you have AT&T. From the android-scripting page [google.com] : "you will need to enable the 'Unknown sources' option".

Re:No "Unknown sources" on AT&T (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791880)

I'm not on AT&T, so I'm going to treat this as a non-issue for everyone ;)

Oh, and if I lived in the US, I wouldn't buy my Android phone from AT&T, or any other carrier who disables the "unknown sources" option.

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (1)

qpqp (1969898) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791350)

And why is that? It's the same hardware, except that iPhone users can actually *use* their iPhone as a computer, once it's jailbroken. Why is it stupid and unfair?!

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790858)

Using the jailbroken iOS argument proves you've lost. It's always the last resort.

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (1)

wjlafrance (1974820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790866)

I admit that this can't be done on a stock iPhone, but the whole innovation is that they're writing code on a mobile device, which people have been doing for years, in fact completely set up by end users.

I agree (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790872)

I admit that this can't be done on a stock iPhone, but the whole innovation is that they're writing code on a mobile device, which people have been doing for years, in fact completely set up by end users.

This is very important because they will probably try to patent this idea with a view to stopping other people doing it. Having a ready list of prior art could prevent that

Re:iPhone SDK comparison (1)

EthanV2 (1211444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790894)

But this will provide a way for end users to write code on their phone without having to void their warranty.

Laptops and PDAs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791528)

but the whole innovation is that they're writing code on a mobile device, which people have been doing for years

They've been doing so since laptops were invented. And if you mean mobile devices that fit in a pocket, they've been doing so since Python was ported to Pocket PC. What's the big difference?

This is a clever idea (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790820)

Teaching everyone to program on an affordable platform like this is a very neat move, and undoes the damage done by companies that provide "Mothership System" based software development. It means we will have better software in the future as kids can now learn development early enough on a platform they are familiar with. I hope they put it on every device.

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791046)

A netbook is a far less expensive and far more capable development platform than any smartphone, regardless of whether you're talking about long-term mobile contracts or unsubsidized phone purchases.

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

wjlafrance (1974820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791114)

The computer I'm on right now is comprised of a keyboard + mouse I've had laying around forever, a LCD I bought on craigslist for $5 because the color is slightly off, a tower I bought for $5 at a University sale and a HD I bought for $15 at the same sale. Total value of $30 or less. That rivals the price of even a GoPhone.

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791540)

tower [...] Total value of $30 or less.

For one thing, how does one become aware of university sales? For another, you can't use your tower on the bus while commuting to and from work, unlike my netbook.

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791608)

Your buses don't have power outlets? That's too bad. There are a good number of buses in my city that do. I suppose that they're technically considered "BRT"-style buses, but that seems to have more to do with the body work than the routes that they run, which existed before we ever got any BRT-style buses. Anyway, you should petition your city to look into getting New Flyer D60LF BRTs. The ride is smooth, and the articulation tends to hide the technological antics you get up to at the back of the bus from the driver.

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791194)

Microsoft gives out free development tools for netbooks too.

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791468)

Until it can print it can't be considered a true development environment with that tiny screen because debugging usually requires a view larger than a few lines of code. Add in any palettes/widgets/etc, an error console or error messages and you don't have much real estate left. And let's face it, editing code on any smartphone has got to be much worse than editing a txt, note or email.

Any ideas how it will be able to run the code through emulators to verify it works on older or newer Windows Phone versions? It may not have to now but it will soon enough.

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791550)

Until it can print it can't be considered a true development environment with that tiny screen because debugging usually requires a view larger than a few lines of code.

Then how did applications for Apple II or Commodore 64 get written on a platform with a roughly 320x200 pixel screen?

Re:This is a clever idea (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791622)

Then how did applications for Apple II or Commodore 64 get written on a platform with a roughly 320x200 pixel screen?

Very different level of programmer. The OP stated:

Teaching everyone to program on an affordable platform like this is a very neat move, and undoes the damage done by companies that provide "Mothership System" based software development.

Any programmer of the early set of micro computers ilk is not the intended target of this 'product' nor the OP's comment.

Never trust it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790842)

I never trust the "look at what we just did in only 100 lines or less" examples. Such examples rarely indicate a "thought of everything" programming environment, instead usually indicating a "we made assumptions about everything and you'll either like it or spend hours hacking around it" environment.

The four line example given doesn't make it clear what database it's pulling that from, what if the user has an Amazon Cloud Music service and player? Will it find those as well?

Re:Never trust it (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791492)

I never trust the "look at what we just did in only 100 lines or less" examples.

Really? How about this:
10 do while (iWantToWriteCode = true) {
20 self.goUseARealComputer = true ;
30 }

And I've got 97 lines to spare ;-)

Re:Never trust it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791574)

Ow, my eyes!!!
What language is that?
BASIC#?

Re:Never trust it (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791648)

Ow, my eyes!!!
What language is that?
BASIC#?

I think of it as 'pseudo code', but you can call it 'P#' if you'd like. BTW, if your pee feels like it's sharp then your distributable package may have an infection.

Re:Never trust it (-1, Offtopic)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791560)

I never trust a native speaker who cannot use his own language correctly. "look at what we just did in only 100 lines or fewer".

Use fewer with objects that can be counted one-by-one.

Use less with qualities or quantities that cannot be individually counted. Incorrect: There were less days below freezing last winter.

Correct: There were fewer days below freezing last winter. (Days can be counted.)

Correct: I used less flour to bake the cake than she did. (you cannot say 'one flour, two flour')

The more you know!

Re:Never trust it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791594)

I never trust a native speaker who cannot use his own language correctly. "look at what we just did in only 100 lines or fewer".

Use fewer with objects that can be counted one-by-one.

Use less with qualities or quantities that cannot be individually counted.

Incorrect: There were less days below freezing last winter.

Correct: There were fewer days below freezing last winter.
(Days can be counted.)

Correct: I used less flour to bake the cake than she did. (you cannot say 'one flour, two flour')

The more you know!

Mein Fuhrer;

That was ze most brilliant grammar correction I've seen ever!

Sieg Heil!

Re:Never trust it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791638)

The less few you know, the more you can bitch about.

Late Again? (2, Interesting)

airos4 (82561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790850)

So, it appears to be not true programming, but just script manipulation? Wouldn't that be like Tasker for Android?
http://tasker.dinglisch.net/ [dinglisch.net]

Re:Late Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790900)

I really think that the distinction is arbitrary.

Re:Late Again? (1)

Tony (765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791866)

Not really. Scripting engines are often limited. Consider the difference between an MS-DOS batch file and Java or C or LISP. Then compare Python or Perl.

If all they've done is present a scripting language that binds some common functions (which would allow a 4-line "program" that accesses your music collection), then you really don't have a fully programmable system. You have a customizable system, but not one that is fully programmable.

There is definitely a non-arbitrary distinction between scripting languages and "programming languages." It's just that many scripting languages are *also* programming languages.

Re:Late Again? (0)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790918)

Indeed - "Script Your Phone", right there on the beta flash screen.

There's a bunch of us on this board who will easily liken it to basic bash scripting. How long before MS patents scripting and then claims that *nix violates about 236 patents?

cheers,

Re:Late Again? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790936)

As I understand it, this TouchStudio has actual flow control and expressions, so it's more than simple cause-&-effect type scripts.
I don't personally know Tasker, but it looks far less flexible than what TouchStudio claims to be.

I wonder if TouchStudio has an "upgrade" path for budding new programmers who want to move from their TouchStudio-created apps to a more complete IDE. Perhaps a PC-based version of TouchStudio or C# code generating?

Re:Late Again? (3, Informative)

Sc4Freak (1479423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790986)

It's "script manipulation" in the same sense that writing Python would be "script manipulation". TouchStudio contains a turing-complete scripting language that's tailored to working with/on a touchscreen phone.

eg. A screenshot [microsoft.com] I found on Microsoft Research [microsoft.com] .

Re:Late Again? (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791080)

That is actually pretty damn cool.

I mean, I imagine that it's really only capable of creating second-class apps compared to a complete dev environment like iOS developer tools, the Android SDK, or the Visual Studio for WP7. But I do admire the premise of the product. The sheer complexity of learning an entire dev stack from scratch is pretty difficult for a non-specialist to overcome; hopefully this thing is simple enough that it can act as a good starting point for neophytes who just want to add "one little feature" to their phone.

Re:Late Again? (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791434)

Like someone commented, "I like the part where he says developers [youtube.com] .

Re:Late Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791722)

The coolest part to me is that this has the potential to be to a new generation of kids what QBasic and TI calculator programming were for kids like me-- a simple, non-intimidating way to get into programming by writing short scripts that are immediately useful. Who knows, but in 20 years we might have the next wave of great programmers who got their start with this.

Re:Late Again? (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791104)

Like, n900 having gcc and perl that's tailored to working with a keyboard, which that phone has? Makes sense.

(Nokia screwed the pooch with the default keybinding -- no basics like Esc, PgUp, PgDn, [, ], <, >, {, } and the like, but if you use a better one [angband.pl] , it's just a notch worse than a laptop. Which sucks compared to a real computer, but is usable.)

Neat, actually (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791428)

It's been a long time since that was my first raction to a Microsoft product, but this thing looks neat in every sense of the word -- a fine UI to throw some code together on a small display; and it reminds me of ChipWits, Lego Mindstorm and other such easily graspable perspectives on what is undeniably a very complicated topic.

The thing is, of course, how much integration this app has with the rest of the system. It can evidently hook into the file system, and I wonder if it can know, ask, or be told what other applications are installed and what they're up to (that is more or less what the HackMaster app did on PalmOS, which was exceedingly powerful yet relatively simple given that it was an event-driven (as opposed to multitasking) OS).

I say godspeed to this project, and I hope they'll allow others to follow in their footsteps.

Re:Late Again? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791044)

'the excitement of the first programmable personal computers to the phone.'

now a question: who invented basic and for what? that's what they're referencing there.

but they're late because there's already phone where you can run a full gcc on. been for years, too.

that it's an interpreted thing that they got going is no surprise here though, it makes it so much more possible to do it on xna..

Re:Late Again? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791116)

"The original Dartmouth BASIC was designed in 1964 by John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA to provide computer access to non-science students." -- Wikipedia

Why do you ask?

Re:Late Again? (1)

cpct0 (558171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791290)

For me, it strangely reminds me of Hypercard ... and thus of current Mac OS X Automator. If you want even easier, I'd even go to Quartz Composer. Yet again things pioneered by Apple. I wouldn't create a full 3D game using that scripting system, it's totally different and not meant for the same thing.

People simply don't understand high-level versus low-level; both has merits.

Re:Late Again? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791516)

So, it appears to be not true programming, but just script manipulation?

Looks like Apple Script for a phone, or for those of us with old memories it could even be HyperCard.

Re:Late Again? (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791840)

So, it appears to be not true programming, but just script manipulation?

But what is programming? It's just giving the computer instructions to perform later... Script manipulation certainly qualifies for that.

Old Nokia Symbian smartphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790878)

I had Python on my Nokia N80...

Re:Old Nokia Symbian smartphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790984)

I had python on my N95, so i could install Dosbox, so i could use Qbasic.

Slow as a dog, but it worked beautifull.

Nowadays, I SSH into my linux box and write som perl. too bad my SU-8W doesn't work with Connectbot

Re:Old Nokia Symbian smartphones (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791032)

Programming for Symbian in Python is pretty neat, but judging by the "TouchStudio" name I would guess this differs by being oriented toward editing on a touchscreen.

I think the question of how to effectively edit code on the go on a small portable device is an interesting question. Typing typically is pretty slow even on the few devices with a dedicated keyboard, and special characters tend to be hard to type.

I personally believe there is promise in a language with a simple structure, maybe something LISPy, intended for a more effective use of the the touch screen than letter-by-letter input. Possibly something similar to Lego's RCX code, where you drag and connect statement, control and value blocks in a pretty intuitive way.

Another possibility would be to have an adaptive keyboard with buttons for keywords and variable names that depend on context. Or program in APL, so commands are just one letter long anyway.

I'd have appreciated if they had provided a video of the editing interface.

apt-get install gcc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790908)

whats the big deal?

Re:apt-get install gcc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791010)

Actually, more like apt-get install bash, since this is just scripting.

(and yeah, theoretically one can do pretty much any scripting desired with busybox sh, but my N900 will break if I throw it across the room too often.)

Re:apt-get install gcc (2)

dovgr (935487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791030)

Or python, perl, lua, tcl, with Qt, Gtk or Tk on the N900. I'm always amazed how companies like Microsoft and Apple manages to first push the paradigm that "less is more" (no scripting, no inventive GUI concepts, no access to phone applications, but "magic") and then they throw you breadcrumbs of what they took away and people get all excited and the news even makes it into slashdot...

Re:apt-get install gcc (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791176)

Or python, perl, lua, tcl, with Qt, Gtk or Tk on the N900. I'm always amazed how companies like Microsoft and Apple manages to first push the paradigm that "less is more"...

How many times more iPhones ship than N900s? It makes far more commercial sense for companies to spend their finite time creating products that are easy and pleasurable for ordinary people to use than ones that have everything slashdot geeks wish for.

mShell and Symbian (2)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790910)

Not a new concept, mShell for Symbian [m-shell.net]

Re:mShell and Symbian (1)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790924)

Apparently the website is having issues.

Re:mShell and Symbian (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791106)

no wonder, it's written in .net

they should have hosted it on a symbian phone, http://sourceforge.net/projects/raccoon/ [sourceforge.net] (the project seems sort of dead now, but it was a pretty far taken proof of concept that you could run apache on symbian and even have python scripts serving up the content. mobile use too. also a proxy system because most of these mobile connections are behind a firewall.

Re:mShell and Symbian (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791318)

Not a new concept, mShell for Symbian

... or just N900's Maemo, for that matter. Not only can you write shell scripts, but also C or Java programs, and compile them on the phone itself.

IT IS A TRICK !! BEWARE OF DOG !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790926)

It's a trick and I know a lot of slashdotters are falling for it RIGHT NOW !!

Super awesome (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790934)

It is a very cool tool.

I don't know if mshell or other mobile programming languages have any real system integration this thing does. Sort of reminds me of hacking in AppleScript.

Psion OPL (1)

mrrazz (492588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790942)

Reminds me of OPL (Open Programming Language) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Programming_Language [wikipedia.org] that was embedded by default on the Psion Series 5mx.
I had great fun making stupid applications on that thing back in high school.

bad example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790950)

Among the code examples provided is a four-liner that scans a phone's music collection for songs less than three minutes long and produces a fairly slick, clickable playlist complete with track info and artwork. Easier than iPhone SDK programming, no?

Easier than writing an Objective C program to do the same, very likely. Most people would find it easier to create a smart playlist in iTunes to do the same though.

On the bright side: there is now an app in the Microsoft app store.

Imagine this! (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790954)

And here I am, reprogramming my phone with pliers, soldering iron, some wires, a(n) USB connector and a resistor. I must be doing something wrong.

Re:Imagine this! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791768)

a(n) USB

The use of a/an is one of those annoying special cases in English. If the following word starts with a vowel sound it is "an", otherwise it is "a". The U in USB, although a vowel, does not make a vowel sound in this case. If it did it would be pronounced "uh" rather than like the word "you".

I feel for those trying to learn English. Native speaker children have enough trouble with this kind of thing.

Big deal... (1)

Retron (577778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790960)

Wow, we're catching up with what Symbian could do in 1998 (Symbian devices came with OPL, a BASIC-like language which you could code with on the device itself. Indeed, there was a booming Shareware market as people wrote their own games and utilities etc). OPL made it onto phones with the Nokia Communicator running SymbianOS 6.

Maybe next we'll have a story about being able to embed objects in the build-in word processor and spreadsheet, for example embedding a chart which can be edited OLE-like in situ just by double-tapping it...

It's depressing to see how Nokia threw all that away and dumbed-down Symbian. One step forwards and five steps backwards....

Re:Big deal... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791250)

Wow, we're catching up with what Symbian could do in 1998

Palm in 1996?

http://www.hotpaw.com/rhn/files/CBASPAD.TXT [hotpaw.com]

If there's one truth of IT / CS / gadgets its that everything old, is eventually new again.

Re:Big deal... (1)

Retron (577778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791310)

Well, the Palm Pilots couldn't do object embedding and weren't phones. If you're going to go that route, then Psion Series 3 in 1991 had OPL (with a PDA form-factor) and before that the Organiser II from 1986 was the first Psion device to have OPL available - long before Palm was even thought of.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Organiser [wikipedia.org]

Re:Big deal... (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791562)

Palm had OnBoardC as well, a full C compiler and editor. . I wrote the prototype for a PalmOS text editor in it.

This should be done for android... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35790964)

Looks kinda cool, sort of like android-scripting done right! :) I guess SL4A is a bit more flexbile in that you can choose between several languages, but the user-friendliness is not very high imo.

I'm surprised this hasn't caught on. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35790972)

I'm actually somewhat surprised that Apple hasn't been supportive of a native scripting platform or programming tool. I can understand that there would be more work involved in developing the SDK, but the utility of having this feature would be tremendous. At the very least, it would inflate the number of apps in the App Store.

I know Android has this capability [google.com] from third-party support; has anyone played around with this?

Re:I'm surprised this hasn't caught on. (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791050)

As there are > 300,000 apps already on the App Store, and continually growing, they don't really need to do anything to inflate numbers.

The reasons Apple limits programming to developing using the standard SDK and delivering through the App Store include:

1) It's a one stop shop for users. If they want an app to do something, then they know exactly where to find it. If it's not there it doesn't exist. For users, that's really nice and easy.

2) It means that if developers charge for their apps, Apple gets a cut.

3) It means that developers have to keep to the guidelines for what an app can do. The functionality has to pass by a reviewer.

4) There's only a single platform to keep secure.

To understand and accept these reasons, you have to understand that the iPhone is a phone for ordinary people. Not hackers.

I used to enjoy and get benefit from programming my Psion 5 in OPL on the device. But I can't say I'm too bothered about programming a touch screen phone. I wouldn't want to program on a touch keyboard that small. However it'd be quite nice to be able to do it on an iPad. But it's less important than that list of reasons above.

Re:I'm surprised this hasn't caught on. (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791078)

Why would apple want to do such a thing?

You're suggesting giving users more freedom to program what they want. This is blasphemy. Burn the Heretic!

Re:I'm surprised this hasn't caught on. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791124)

look, if apple just _allowed_.. you would have all kinds of computer emulators on the store, complete with native basic, c compiler and so on support. but that doesn't fit in their business plan where they sell you the small apps you used to download from bbs's for free.

Re:I'm surprised this hasn't caught on. (1)

rveldpau (1765928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791744)

The problem here is that if you can write a full application in four lines, what are you giving up for that amount of efficiency. You're giving up the ability to really write an application. For doing simple tasks that the phone already does, just in a different way, this would be fine, but for writing an application that actually does something unique, you're likely giving that up. The best apps on iPhone are written in Objective C, the best apps are written using the Android SDK (which is Java like), the best apps for the iPhone are still likely to be written in .Net. If Windows intends to allow people to sell these applications in their "market," the market will be flooded by sub-par applications, and although they'll be quickly able to claim that they have the same number of apps as the iPhone, the difference in the apps will come down to the types of graphics people used in them.

Re:I'm surprised this hasn't caught on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791886)

well there's iluabox http://www.mobileappsystems.com/products/iluabox

UP? (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791162)

So, when can be have an ultra-portable device with on-the-go programming in mind? I'd find it very amusing/interesting to pound out a program while waiting at the bus stop.

Re:UP? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791660)

So, when can be have an ultra-portable device with on-the-go programming in mind?

That's what a netbook is for. I routinely whip a 10" Atom laptop out of my bag and fire up IDLE (Python editor) while riding the city bus to and from work.

Nice, but I am sure the /. crowd... (2)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791216)

would be so much happier with a N900 running vi & gcc.

Novelty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791254)

I survived my CS modules in junior college with vim and gcc on a 3.7 inch N800. Painful? Yes. Worth it? no.

Can't think why (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791510)

I was doing cross-platform development in 1981. So long as I have proper emulation of the target machine, why should I care? The only thing I want to be able to do on the target as regards development is rapid and efficient debug.

Re:Nice, but I am sure the /. crowd... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791578)

Vi.. on a smartphone??

Vi is a good text editor for a keyboard & monitor combo, but it's hardly ideal for a smartphone interface. Labview probably comes closest to the ideal type of programming environment for a smartphone...

Re:Nice, but I am sure the /. crowd... (2)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791670)

Forgive me, but I work fine with vi on my N900. In fact one of the basic reasons I got it was because it is the only possible way I can work while riding the subway (in the common situation when I don't have a seat), and whatever the developments of touch screen keyboards I find them unusable for serious text entry, while the N900's hardware keyboard is decent.

Re:Nice, but I am sure the /. crowd... (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791586)

exactly

After zillion clicks I got to actual demo:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Peli/TouchStudio-Script-Your-Phone-ON-Your-Phone [msdn.com]

Basically the SDK allows you write code text using menu of text choices. So if you want to feel like Stephen Hawking doing some scripting, knock yourself out.

What I see as a decent environment for programming for ANY device that does not have a decent keyboard and screen is an SDK running on conventional laptop, desktop seemlessly connected to the device. You hit Run on your laptop, your app is executed on your device.

The notion of programming while the only thing you have is 3x5 micron touchscreen is idiotic and juvenile.

So... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791272)

"TouchStudio aims to bring 'the excitement of the first programmable personal computers to the phone.' "

So Integer BASIC and assembler? Pinch me.

SDK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791354)

Of course it's easier than iPhone SDK - Apple users are idiots and Microsoft's entire business is founded on catering to developer tools thereby outsourcing much of the development that goes into the value of their platforms. What would be really cool though, is object oriented image recognition built into the SDK.

day of departure delayed? tumultuous tues.? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791376)

agreed, it takes more than one day to uncreate us, again, or to even stop doing that, which as yet was never planned. that it's not your job/you suck has taken precedence now. goodbye

so good intentions will divert meteorite strike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791672)

could. but it's (terrifying death star) bigger than a toaster, & smaller than a toyota (looks like the sun because it's on fire), so what size rounds to use is the first question? or is the first question how scared are we supposed to be today...? or, could a flying toyota ever do as much damage all told as we're doing every day now? or, where is the best place to hide (near uncle sam & god)?

so, the answer is yes, any size object(s) can be redirected/vaporized. just look at us.

sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791386)

This looks cool. Regardless of what everyone is saying about this kind of thing being done before. who cares about that really? The fact is its now available on WP7, and some of you need to grow up already. I'm about furthest you can get from a Microsoft fanboy, but MS continues to bring features like this to their users on a great platform and thats why they continue to make money; lots of it. I hope that WP7 continues to do better and better so android and ios have more competition, no clear winner in the industry means the users are the winner and that I'm a fan of.

You guys are funny (3, Insightful)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791486)

I constantly see comments on here about how phones and tablets are crippled devices that could never be real tools because you can't do things like programming on them. Then MS (the great and scary evil thing) makes something you can program on and now it's "lame, late, not good enough". Just come to grips with your biases please.

Re:You guys are funny (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791596)

lol you must be new here.(j/k)

Seriously thought, its not gonna matter. Hating Microsoft is the svelte thing to do on /. (Along with argue about hate / love with Apple, RMS, Free vs Open vs Proprietary).

Re:You guys are funny (2)

rveldpau (1765928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791812)

The problem is not that Microsoft is coming out with something that you can "program" with on your phone. The problem is that you can't really program with it, and the slashdotters have realized this. When you have a "language" that is so efficient that you can create an application in four lines of code, you're giving something up.

What are you giving up?
Likely, you're giving up the ability to actually make something. It seems that TouchStudio will allow you to do the things that the phone already does, but in different ways. But what if you want to do something that the phone can not do. How are you going to do that? And that's where the problem lies.

Applescript (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791488)

It can also be done in four lines of applescript:

tell application "iTunes"
    set foolist to make new playlist with properties {name:"foo"}
    duplicate (every track whose (time contains "0:" or time contains "1:" or time contains "2:" or time is "3:")) to foolist
end tell

So.. get on it apple. make applescript and smart playlists available in iPods and iPhones already...

Re:Applescript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791590)

Isn't that going to pick up some 13 minute long Dylan songs?

Bug/Feature?

Oh yeah, I know where I'm going. (1)

Chardansearavitriol (1946886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791566)

Microsoft better make very certain it doesnt license TouchStudio to the catholic church. Thats the last thing they need right now.

yo dawg (2)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35791776)

we heard you like to program, so we put the program in your phone so you can program while you phone

Yo Dawg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35791786)

Yo dawg, we heard you like to program and fuck around on your phone, so we put a development environment in your phone so you can program while you fuck around on your phone.

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