I usually package my mobile projects into SIS files for deployment onto S60 devices. However, Nokia in their infinite wisdom have made the whole packaging and signing process as difficult and as expensive as possible for small independent developers or those wishing to simply create some freeware. You can skip the signing process and kindly ask users to change their phone’s permission settings to allow unsigned software, but as you can appreciate not many people are willing to take the risk.

So for the touch-screen version of my russian roulette game I thought I might try Nokia’s Web Runtime (WRT) mobile widget development platform. The nice thing about WRT widgets is that, unlike native applications, they don’t need to be signed since they run within the web browser sandbox. Widgets are also installed and launched the same as native S60 applications so from a users perspective it’s all good.

So basically all I needed to do was create an HTML page to house my Flash Lite SWF, bash together a simple CSS file, sprinkle a few lines of JavaScript on top and then archive everything into a WGZ file. Pretty damn easy eh? Well the creation of the widget was indeed trivial but the final result was far from what I had hoped.

After launching it from the Applications menu I tried touching one of the game’s menu options only for a horrible border to appear around my SWF. The touch also forced the native Symbian softkeys (which I’d disabled with JavaScript) to re-appear on screen too. But the final nail in the coffin has to be the delay between user interaction with the widget and the SWF actually receiving the event. It must be somewhere close to a second before my game picks-up the events from the touch screen compared to the instantaneous response when it’s packaged as a SIS file.

Now I’m new to WRT Widgets so I’m more than open to the possibility that I’m being a silly sausage and have accidentally omitting a few lines of JavaScript, but I did stumble upon some posts from other individuals with similar problems. Perhaps it’s a bug with my Nokia 5800’s firmware, I should check that I have the latest version. If I get some time I’ll jump onto the Nokia Remote Device Access site and spend some time trying it on a few other touch screen devices, just in case the problem is specific to the 5800.

In the meantime I’ll get back to the actual development of my game. Plenty of things to iron out before it’ll be in a fit state for users to play anyway.