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The Mobile Information Device Profile and MIDlets, Part 4

by Kim Topley

To illustrate the MIDlet lifecycle and how it can be controlled, we'll create a very simple MIDlet that does the following:

  • Prints a message when its constructor is called.
  • Creates a timer that fires from time to time, putting the MIDlet in the paused state if it is active and returning it to the active state if it is paused. When the timer has been through this cycle twice, it terminates the MIDlet.
  • Creates a background thread when it is started that simply prints a message every second. This thread is allowed to run only when the MIDlet is active.

Since you haven't yet seen how to create user interfaces, this example MIDlet communicates by writing messages to its standard output stream. On a real device, you can't see what is written to standard output or standard error (unless you are using debug facilities provided by the device vendor), but most device emulators provide a way to monitor the content of these streams. There are several products available that allow you to build and test MIDlets either in an emulated environment or on the real device; some of these products are described in Chapter 9. Here, we'll use the Wireless Toolkit, which is available free of charge from Sun.

Building a MIDlet with the Wireless Toolkit

The Wireless Toolkit provides an implementation of MIDP together with an emulator that can be customized to look and behave somewhat like a number of real cell phones. It can also be used in conjunction with a third-party emulator that allows you to see how your MIDlets would behave on handhelds that are based on PalmOS. It is not, however, a complete development enviroment, because it does not provide an integrated editor to allow you to create, view, and modify source code. Consequently, if you want to use the Wireless Toolkit as part of a complete development cycle, you will need a text editor or IDE to manage the source code. At the time of writing, the Wireless Toolkit can be installed to integrate with Forte for Java, which is available for download from Sun's web site, and Borland JBuilder, but any IDE will do.

J2ME in a Nutshell

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J2ME in a Nutshell
By Kim Topley

The first step when using the Wireless Toolkit is to create a project, which manages the source code, classes, and resources corresponding to a MIDlet suite. To do this, start the KToolbar and press the New Project button to open the New Project dialog, which is shown in Figure 3-5. For this example, the name of the MIDlet's main class should be ora.ch3.ExampleMIDlet, and the project name can be anything you like.

Dialog box.
Figure 3-5. Creating a new project with the Wireless Tooklit.

When you press the Create Project button in the dialog, the Wireless Toolkit opens another window, shown in Figure 3-6; it contains a set of tabs that allow you to provide the attributes used to generate the manifest for the MIDlet's JAR and the JAD file. You can edit these attributes by clicking the cell that you want to change and typing the new value. The fields on the Required tab contain the attributes shown in Table 3-2 that are marked as mandatory. Most of the values supplied by default can be used without modification. For example, the MIDlet-Name field (which is actually the name that will be used for the MIDlet suite, not for any individual MIDlet) matches the project name, and the name of the JAR that will be created is also derived from the project name. The only field you might want to change on this tab is MIDlet-Vendor, which is initially set to Sun Microsystems by default.

Settings dialog.
Figure 3-6. Setting required attributes for a MIDlet suite.

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