Marmalade SDK


Attended a Marmalade Developers’ Day to have a look at the new version. Marmalade offers a C++ development kit with libraries that will interface to a number of PC/Mac and handheld devices. It has been around for a while but I haven’t looked at it recently.

I was impressed by the how low level interfaces to phones and tablets are there now, with more to come in the future. There were a bunch of developers there who were largely positive, although a few talked about needing to be ready to handle occasional bugs. The number of platforms available now covers all the normal Android, iOS, Blackberry machines and there are options coming that will push games to the desktop for PC, Mac and to Smart TV platforms as well. There is a push for Blackberry apps at the moment and you can get a free Blackberry tablet and/or a development phone if you can upload an approved app to their app store soon.

The day’s sessions were recorded and are now at,

Addendum – Feb 2013

They have now released an even easier route into games with their Marmalade Quick package. It has a simple GUI for Rapid Application Development, uses Cocos2D graphics system and the Lua scripting language. Apps may be built with no C++ programming at all! We looked at this for some of our tablet control systems, as they only need a simple interface and Lua has some TCP socket facilities built in.

C# Application settings

Had a play around with the Click once installer the other day and it seems quite straightforward to use. Instead of being installed in a particular directory, the application is installed within the user folders. It then has none of the rights problems when writing files. When a new version is installed, the application is put in a new path with some randomly generated guid folder name. This gives a problem when trying to take across previous versions of property settings. The following code will solve the problem quite simply.
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Using the C# httpServer with raised events

I am writing some applications at the moment which require a lot of data gathering and there are a number of people at the events who want to be able to see this data while it is being collected. I have TCP socket connections for the main data collection and these pass their data to a central server. In order to avoid having to create further clients to access the collected data, I decided to run a small web server as part of the central server and just create web pages to view the data. Other people would then be able to edit and style these pages without any interference from me. As it happens there were no others available, so the users had to put up with my web design.

I made a class based around the MSDN sample and comments, but wanted to extend it in two ways; firstly, I needed to be able serve up the full gamut of binary files for any of the image types in the documents; secondly, I wanted to allow a command to be sent to the hosting application, via an http command. I added an event handler to do this. This would then decouple any application logic from being involved on the web side. I can also use it to report unknown file requests.

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I went on a two day course for Unity3D arranged by Tink at the LFPUG. I have been on a couple of these before and can recommend them; they are usually right on topic and at a price that even a freelancer can afford. This one was no different. Bartek Drozdz was over from Sweden to give the course and he took us from nothing to a small game in two days. It was a fast paced event, so I would suggest students have a go with the software and learn some 3D basics before they get here. We had excellent lunches provided at the local pub, and I can recommend the pint of Blond Witch that I washed it down with.
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Cinder – a new C++ cross platform framework

I’ve been playing with a new framework that allows building of graphics applications for Windows, Mac and iPhone. It has a similar feel to the openFrameworks framework, being aimed at graphics and animation. There are similar libraries to make it easy for the programmer to drive, 3D, sound, image processing etc. Some parts of it seem quite familiar; the event framework has the setup, update and draw stubs.

Recently added the iPhone touch handlers and so, after playing with the same thing in OpenFrameworks, I thought it would be a good idea to test out this library. A lot of the images similarly arty. They are also inspirational, with some excellent particle systems being produced. The following image shows an example.

I thought that I would try the new WordPress iPad app to add this story. Let’s see how it turns out. I hope to see the pictures at the end; you can’t put them into the page in the normal way. I couldn’t seem to delete from the list, so I had both original grab and cropped version. After publishing though the pictures were inserted and my story had HTML tags. I could simply cut the unwanted code from my post.

More detail on Cinder from The WordPress app saw that I wanted to put in a link, after typing http, and popped up a little link builder form. This still tried to put spaces into the link with it’s spell corrector, but apart from that, worked OK.

C# Web services from an Oracle database

This is another post about web services; previous one did a quick hello world app and talked more about setting up IIS on an internal web server. This one assumes a mapped drive onto the server, to which we shall upload the service apps. I’m using the F: drive in this case. The folder has been created previously. I’m using VS2008. I’m going to create a test web service to bring back XML from an Oracle database. I’ll give an example of both a SQL statement being used and a stored procedure.

The pdf of this page is OracleDBservices
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Microsoft Surface tests

I had one of these awesome boxes to play with this week. The Surface is Microsoft’s multi touch display table. It runs on Windows Vista Business OS and we can develop in a normal Visual Studio environment using C#. In our case, we wanted to look at ideas for use of the table by television presenters, so we looked at a few interactive ideas and the connectivity of the box.
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