Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Funambol Community Showcase #3: Google Android plug-inInitially, I planned to have a Funambol Showcase per month, but I do not seem to be able to keep up with the load... Anyway, here is showcase #3, which is a very cool client built by Carlo, a very smart Funambol community member.
By Carlo Codega firstname.lastname@example.org
OverviewThe Funambol Android Plug-in is an Android application which enables you to sync personal data between a Funambol server (such as myFunambol portal) and Google Android, an open source mobile phone platform, based on a Linux OS and developed by the OHA (Open Handset Alliance).
The main objective of this project is to bring sync features on this new mobile platform. This should be the first application that you have to install on your Android phone for begin using it.
The Android SDKThe Google Team provided an SDK that you can use to develop your own Android application. It includes development and debugging tools, a set of libraries, a device emulator, sample projects, documentation, and more.
Currently the Android emulator includes a simple contacts manager, no calendar managers or email clients are provided. It means that, at least for now, the plugin provides the contacts sync feature only.
Why develop a sync application for Android?The idea of the Android project was born concurrently with the announcement of this new mobile phone platform. Android is open source, Funambol is open source too. What should be first thing to do? Porting the Funambol sync software to Android using a slightly modified version of the JavaME Funambol API.
I started to develop for Funambol as a community member, with the Mozilla plugin, which became the object of my first level degree.
As soon as I saw the release of the first SDK, I’ve downloaded it and started working on it for verifying the possibility of porting the Funambol software over the Android platform. Now, since last December, I’m part of this project, that is included into the Code Sniper Program.
Interesting issuesAfter the announcement of this project, several interesting issues were born, regarding the cooperation of Funambol with Android to transform the mobile market. Funambol made available a position paper entitled: “How Google Android Stimulates the Mass Market for Mobile Email and how Funambol Mobile Open Source Monetizes It".
Some issues against Android.
I don’t like its user interface so much (I prefer the iPhone one), and I don’t see a big participation of the developers, at least not what I expected.
It still lacks an efficient bug reporting tool, a unique discussion group I think is not enough.
Using the Android PluginFew steps are needed to get the plug-in running on the Android emulator:
- Download the Android SDK.
- Download the Funambol Android Plug-in from Google Code.
- Install the Funambol Android Plug-in: run the emulator and install the application using the adb tool (run “adb install
- Run the application: go to the applications folder (All) and run Funambol.
The first step that is necessary for using the plug-in is to configure the communication settings. To do this go to Menu>Settings and set your preferences: username, password and the server url.
Now you can start to synchronize.
Future plansImprove the contacts sync in terms of efficiency and reliability. Calendar/tasks sync and push email features will be added as soon as a stable email client and calendar/tasks manager will be provided. The Google Android PIM Plug-in is a community project, as such it can be developed and/or improved by anyone who participates to the Funambol Open Source Community, so please join our community and start to develop with us.
ReferencesThe project homepage is http://code.google.com/p/funambol. Here you can download the application package and different source code snapshots. The plugin and API sources are available on the Funambol forge, you can get it via CVS.
Posted by Fabrizio at 16:36
Pretty cool! Going to try it out soon! Hoping you add features soon! Thanks.
Comment Posted at 16:00
Great job so far but it needs work! Please fix the duplicate contacts syncing and add support for calendar, but mainly the contacts thing. Also the contacts fields sync weirdly from outlook so my contact James Frost displays as Frost,James in Android so to get to him i have to type Frost and cannot type James.
Comment Posted at 20:28
I get an error message that says to check my credentials. when I go to settings, I have no idea what username and password to put in. I tried my exchange server information, but that only made Funambol crash and I had to reinstall it.
Comment Posted at 09:53
@david: you should put the credentials of the Syncml server you want to use. If you don't have your own Funambol server, you can create a demo account on http://my.funambol.com and put that combo username/password in the Funambol Client on your Android phone.
If you need more help please use the Funambol Forum on https://help.forge.funambol.org