Software reuse: Faster development time – Cross Foundation Classes (XFC) for handset...

Software reuse: Faster development time – Cross Foundation Classes (XFC) for handset MMI application development

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RTX has developed a software framework that makes it possible to use the same Man Machine Interface (MMI) in various technologies and with various technological limitations. This shortens development time and gives a faster return on investment.

The software framework gives a competitive advantage to a handset manufacturer because it is then able to use the same MMI in all its phones, from cordless to 3G to smart phones. To accomplish this versatility, we use a traditional Three Tier solution; thus the user applications are shielded against technology changes.

RTX is using the framework in customer projects, and this gives the customers an advantage in terms of shorter development time and thus a faster return on investment.

The MMI framework is based on a separation of the graphical user interface code and the application code. RTX also used a true component-based and extensible software framework to enable more reuse across various projects. An object-oriented programming language gave us the direct support for this.

The framework is based on well-known standards.

Extremely versatile
The platforms range from GSM, GPRS, UMTS, CDMA W-CDMA and TD-SCDMA cellular phones, as well as DECT and 2.4GHz cordless phones. DECT phones typically have CPUs that are four times less powerful than cellular handset CPUs. The applications range from simple black-and-white display DECT phones with a phonebook to sophisticated large-screen, color-display cellular phones with Phonebooks, Calendar, Camera, WAP, Java and MMS applications.

Under these conditions, it is essential that the software can be reused to a high degree and that the needed scalability, productivity goals and quality can be obtained at the same time.

Hardware constraints
Developing reusable applications for handset devices can be quite challenging due to the various hardware and customer MMI look-and-feel requirements. Hardware CPUs differ widely in respect to performance and thus put constraints on the kind of advanced user interface features that can be implemented. Another hardware issue is the various displays. They vary from black-and-white displays with a resolution of 110*64 pixels, for example, to large color TFT displays with 65000 colors and a resolution of 128*160 pixels or larger.

The software application is the differentiating module – hardware is becoming more and more alike
Customers usually have differing requirements for the user interface look and feel. One of the major keys for success for any product is to differentiate itself from other similar products. As hardware components get more and more standardized, similar and easier to use, it becomes more important that the software applications act as the differentiating factor. However, applications are also becoming more complex; it takes larger teams to implement and test them, and all this has to be accomplished within a shorter time to market. These are some of the challenges that we face when developing software for the wireless and cellular market.

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