To open its platform to a wider pool of developers, particularly Web developers, Symbian announced in late April the availability of its new Web application development tools.

The open-source tools are built on top of the Eclipse JavaScript Debug Toolkit project and add mobile-specific capabilities to enable the transition from desktop development to mobile development. The capabilities include mobile application previewing, debugging, project creation and mobile API support.

With these new tools, any Web developer can apply existing skills in CSS, HTML and JavaScript to create an application for the open-source mobile platform, Symbian 3.

The non-profit organization took this approach to ease the creation of apps and widen the pool of developers for them, said Larry Berkin, head of global alliances at Symbian. He also noted that there are a lot more Web developers out there than native developers.

Despite still being the most widely used operating system in terms of the sheer numbers of phones using it, Symbian has fallen behind in popularity since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android operating systems, said Theresa Lanowitz, CEO of technology analyst firm Voke.

Lanowitz added, however, that she thought “[Symbian] always had a good road map” as far as development, but it lacks a connection with customers.

Another way Symbian is trying to tap into the reservoir of Web developers is by offering JavaScript APIs as a way to create more-robust applications. This will give developers a means to create more-capable applications with access to contacts, an accelerometer, a GPS and a camera, among other features.

The tools can be used on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows operating systems, and will supplement the Nokia-owned Qt framework that already supports application development for the Symbian 3 platform.

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