Michael Hasselmann

Into the Wild

We kicked off the new 0.81 release series together with a nice announcement: We have our own bugtracker now!

This means that Maliit has a near complete project infrastructure, all available under *.maliit.org, and all that thanks to Karsten, the always professional and very experienced hostmaster here at Openismus.

There is one more thing that we need (as demonstrated by me when I made my first broken release), and that's a simple build bot setup for continuous integration. Right now, we still rely on Nokia's infrastructure. I am confident that buildbot will fit all of our requirements, as long as it is trivial to maintain.

I am also happy that we improved our documentation significantly, thanks to Dave. He translated the important documentation bits into proper English and made it more accessible, demonstrating his doxygen skills. As a bonus, he also updated the project's README files, something we had neglected for a long time.

Future development

Regarding the Maliit development, I think we have simplified things a lot. D-Bus activation for the Maliit server (which finally means one server instance per user session) and the new support for plain QML plugins makes it almost trivial to get started with Maliit. We also let go of the critically acclaimed MeeGo Keyboard in Maliit upstream, which made me a bit sad of course.

Still, it probably was the right decision: MeeGo Keyboard is heavily fine-tuned for Nokia's N9 and it has some dependencies that are hard to satisfy outside of Harmattan. Over time, with ever changing requirements, the code has naturally evolved into a rather complex design. The result, however, is a very polished product, and ultimately, that's the only thing that matters (even though many opensource developers will disagree, strangely enough). Everyone in the team is proud of what we have achieved.

At the same time, I can understand how new contributors will be put off by all the complexity. So Maliit upstream will instead focus on the very basic but almost trivial to build Maliit Keyboard. For new contributors, that's a good thing. For us, it means the possibility to fix shortcomings in the plugin API. This is important, as one of our main goals has always been to enable others to write great input method plugins for Maliit, which will then run on any platform that Maliit supports. The Swype VKB plugin and the Japanese VKB plugin for example both demonstrate that we are on a good way, but I think we can do better.

Maliit itself still needs a good reference plugin, of course, even if only as a showcase (though I want it to be more). All this doesn't mean that MeeGo Keyboard goes away; its development will continue in the MeeGo Touch repositories, just as before (effectively degraded as just another Maliit plugin). But what we can take over, hopefully, is our experience when it comes to creating one of the best virtual keyboards currently available.

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