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November 2008

29 November 2008

Adding Simplified Chinese locale - Expense Report (2)

Half a year had passed since the first release of Expense Report. I resumed development work from the beginning of summer 2008.

The trigger was Sony Ericsson W890i that I bought then. The one I chose was Hong Kong version so it could display Japanese letters. It unexpectedly supported Simplified Chinese locale as well as Traditional Chinese whereas Hong Kong version of K600i, which I bought in 2005, did only Traditional. I felt that time flew.

Anyway, since the mobile phone supported Simplified Chinese, I wanted to have my application fit it. Thus, I decided to add Simplified Chinese resources to Expense Report. In addition, I imported some portion of Korean resources such as soft key labels from another project that intensively supported Korean language.

I have published Expense Report version 0.4.2 at the beginning of September 2008. It also had a MIDlet icon and expanded record store usage up to 20 kilobytes.

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27 November 2008

Expense Report application

Expense Report is a Java ME application that tracks daily expenses on your mobile phone. I published this application in October 2007, and I have been updating it.

Couples of years ago, I had many business trips around the world. At that time, I had a Pocket PC as my digital companion, with which I kept track of trip expenses. Nowadays I no longer use PDAs but mobile phones. I need to have an application for mobile phones in order to track expenses instead of Pocket PC.

This demand led me to start development of the Expense Report application in September 2007. But why Java ME? The answer is quite natural. I use several mobile phones whose platforms vary and switch them depending on the activity plan of the day. I have no time to develop an application for several platforms one by one such as Symbian, Windows Mobile, and so on. Especially, there is no choice other than Java ME to deploy user-developed applications on to feature phones.

Because of my motivation, requirements to this application are:

  • Multiple currency support – I travelled across currency regions.
  • Multiple language support – My primary language is Japanese but some mobile phones cannot display Japanese letters.
  • P2P synchronisation among mobile phones – I switch mobile phones day by day. I must be able to transfer data from one to another.
  • Exporting data to PC – Looking back to Pocket PC days, I input expenses with Pocket PC during business trips and imported the data to financial software for PC afterwards.

Because data will be finally transferred to PC, Expense Report application need not have functionality for statistical analysis. I achieved the first two requirements in a month and I made the first release at the beginning of October 2007.

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23 November 2008

Dialer - Dial utility to convert the plus sign to an international call prefix

Softbank Mobile is one of Japanese mobile phone operators who succeeded the network and services from Vodafone K.K.   Thanks to the predecessor, its subscribers can receive the worldwide standard services such as W-CDMA, MMS and so on.   Softbank Mobile network, however, does not accept a phone number led by plus sign such as “+44XXXXXXXX” but an international call prefix must lead the number.   This means that you must edit a phone number before making a call, which is very annoying.

My Dialer application, a Java ME application, converts the plus sign to an appropriate international call prefix and makes a call.

On the main screen, Dialer has text boxes named “Number” and “Actual dial number”, and some more.   In the “Number” text box, you put an original phone number led by a plus sign.  (Some handset may provide away to look up your phone book in this text box.)   Dialer automatically converts the plus sign to the international call prefix if the country code of the phone number is different from your home country code, or converts the plus sign and subsequent country code to a zero.   Finally, you press “Make a call” command and Dialer makes a call to the telephone number in the “Actual dial number” text box.
In order to fulfil this requirement by MIDP, the handset needs to support the following functionalities:

  • Looking up phone book from a TextField whose constraints have the PHONENUMBER bit set.
  • MIDlet.platformRequest() with "tel:" scheme for making a phone call.
Most of Java enabled handset supports these functionalities.  In contrast, typical MIDP implementations for Windows Mobile seem not to support.  This is not a problem at all because a different source publishes a Windows Mobile utility, which is more powerful.

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This is the first post of K's ICT Library Blog.
K's ICT Library is a web site where I am publishing some software for mobile phones.

- ksil

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