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What are we going to do about mobile?
Apr 06
Joakim
Apr 07
Joakim
Apr 12
Joakim
Apr 06
kinke
[OT] Re: What are we going to do about mobile?
Apr 06
aberba
Re: What are we going to do about mobile? [OT]
Apr 06
Radu
Apr 06
aberba
May 08
Bienlein
Apr 07
aberba
Apr 09
Nick B
Apr 08
Jethro
Apr 09
Nick B
Re: What are we going to do about mobile? [OT]
Apr 13
Joakim
[OT] PC sales down
Apr 20
Joakim
May 09
Jerry
May 09
Joakim
Aug 24
Ryion
Aug 24
Joakim
Aug 24
Ryion
April 06
I have been saying for some time now that mobile is going to go after the desktop next (http://forum.dlang.org/thread/rionbqmtrwyenmhmmggx@forum.dlang.org), Samsung just announced it, for a flagship device that will ship tens of millions:

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/29/15104600/samsung-dex-galaxy-s8-dock-announced-price-release-date
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA31CaL_42A

That means this tidal wave of mobile swamping PCs is only going to get worse:

https://twitter.com/lukew/status/842397687420923904

D is currently built and optimized for that dying PC platform.  There are only two devs working on mobile, Dan and me, I don't think anybody on the core team has even tried our work.

Even Microsoft has announced that they're taking another shot at ARM, ie Windows is coming to ARM again, this time with x86 emulation for old Win32 apps:

http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/7/13866936/microsoft-windows-10-arm-desktop-apps-support-qualcomm

I would even go so far as to say it may be worthwhile to develop an ARM backend for dmd.

What needs to be done?  Same as anything else, we need people to try it out and pitch in, like this guy who's now trying ldc out on an embedded device with an old ARMv5 core:

https://github.com/ldc-developers/ldc/issues/2058

I provide Android releases of ldc here:

https://github.com/joakim-noah/android/releases

We've been fixing Android/ARM regressions in the latest D releases here:

https://github.com/ldc-developers/ldc/issues/2024

More than anything else, we need the community to try building mobile libraries and apps, because compiler support is largely done.  We need to integrate mobile into our plans, rather than it just being a sideline.

There are two main possibilities for D usage on mobile right now:

- D libraries for faster code than the native languages
- full GUI apps written in D, likely cross-platform

The latter may seem far-fetched given D has not done that well in desktop GUI apps, but mobile is still a new market and D could do well.  D is uniquely well-suited to mobile, because it's nicer than Java or Obj-C while more efficient than the former, and it could make it easier to go cross-platform.

Vadim has done some nice work building DLangUI on Android, including a Tetris app that I spent half an hour playing on my phone:

http://forum.dlang.org/thread/cdekkumjynhqoxvmgjze@forum.dlang.org

I realize D is never going to have a polished devkit for mobile unless a company steps up and charges for that work.  But we can do a lot better than the complacency from the community we have now.
April 06
IMO there is two things that need to be done to get D for mobile:

1: ldc needs to natively target and distribute binaries for Android (MIPS, ARM, at least).
2: extern(JNI) seriously, its a pain to work with Java over JNI otherwise. It would be worse then not having extern(Obj-C).

April 06
On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:
> D is currently built and optimized for that dying PC platform.

I don't think x86 is dying soon, but I agree that embedded architectures get more important every day and should get more focus.

> I would even go so far as to say it may be worthwhile to develop an ARM backend for dmd.

Wasted efforts in my view, there are so many other aspects regarding D which need to be worked on and polished, and we already have (unlike DMD, fully free!) D compilers able to target most architectures used on this planet (with varying level of support obviously, but at least the back-ends are already there). I really don't think DMD for ARM would increase D's popularity on embedded platforms in any way.

> More than anything else, we need the community to try building mobile libraries and apps, because compiler support is largely done.

What LDC would primarily need is a CI platform supporting ARM (and ideally AArch64) in order to make it a true first-class target. We don't know of a free CI platform, so ARM isn't tested automatically, and it's currently mostly up to poor you to check for regressions. ;(

Instead of working on an ARM backend for DMD, broadening the upstream runtime libraries for more architectures would make much more sense to me, as it's currently up to LDC and GDC with their severely limited manpower (and the even more limited available hardware to test on) to extend druntime/Phobos for non-x86 platforms. E.g., for AArch64, Phobos fully supporting quad-precision floating-point math would make things easier for us. And full big-endian support in Phobos would be nice for PowerPC targets.
April 06
On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:

> That means this tidal wave of mobile swamping PCs is only going to get worse:
That remains to be seen.

> Even Microsoft has announced that they're taking another shot at ARM, ie Windows is coming to ARM again, this time with x86 emulation for old Win32 apps:
>
> http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/7/13866936/microsoft-windows-10-arm-desktop-apps-support-qualcomm
ARM is *rising*, that's true. But there is no factual evidence in their decision (that you seem to know) backing your point. Microsoft, Apple, Google, ... all invest in projects they end up abandoning.

>
> I would even go so far as to say it may be worthwhile to develop an ARM backend for dmd.
LDC, GDC

> More than anything else, we need the community to try building mobile libraries and apps, because compiler support is largely done.  We need to integrate mobile into our plans, rather than it just being a sideline.
IoT, Cloud

> The latter may seem far-fetched given D has not done that well in desktop GUI apps, but mobile is still a new market and D could do well.  D is uniquely well-suited to mobile, because it's nicer than Java or Obj-C while more efficient than the former, and it could make it easier to go cross-platform.
>
> Vadim has done some nice work building DLangUI on Android, including a Tetris app that I spent half an hour playing on my phone:
Any unpolished GUI toolkit (even when polished) will not sell on android-iOS except for Games with custom drawn elements. C++ is in that same position. Google is busy pushing Java, Apple is busy pushing Swift. DlangUI could work but will not land you a big share in usage.
>

> I realize D is never going to have a polished devkit for mobile unless a company steps up and charges for that work.  But we can do a lot better than the complacency from the community we have now.

With the *rising* market for IoT and Cloud, the effort invested in ARM should be geared towards these areas with much potential. Canonical just gave up their Ubuntu Touch (Mobile OS) and Unity 8 DE to invest their resources in Cloud and IoT. Fighting for mobile apps market (except for WebGL/OpenGL/Vulkan games), which big corporates like Microsoft are also in fighting but losing doesn't seem like a good idea.

IoT and Cloud entails ML, AI, NLP, embedded programming, bots, microservices, containerization, robotics... which mir, vibe.d, mqtt, and its projects are implementing some in bits.

Thats what you can say has potential cus they are actually *rising*
April 06
On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:
> There are only two devs working on mobile, Dan and me, I don't think anybody on the core team has even tried our work.

I don't even own a mobile device and don't see that changing any time soon (they are really expensive, slow, and just generally hard to use*). I do own a raspberry pi, but never actually use anyway so I have no need to develop for it.

If I actually used one of these things, I'd probably join you in hacking together stuff the way I've done web and desktop libs, but I just don't use the hardware....
April 06
On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:
> I have been saying for some time now that mobile is going to go after the desktop next (http://forum.dlang.org/thread/rionbqmtrwyenmhmmggx@forum.dlang.org), Samsung just announced it, for a flagship device that will ship tens of millions:
>
> http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/29/15104600/samsung-dex-galaxy-s8-dock-announced-price-release-date
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA31CaL_42A
>
> That means this tidal wave of mobile swamping PCs is only going to get worse:
>
> https://twitter.com/lukew/status/842397687420923904
>
> D is currently built and optimized for that dying PC platform.  There are only two devs working on mobile, Dan and me, I don't think anybody on the core team has even tried our work.
>
> Even Microsoft has announced that they're taking another shot at ARM, ie Windows is coming to ARM again, this time with x86 emulation for old Win32 apps:
>
> http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/7/13866936/microsoft-windows-10-arm-desktop-apps-support-qualcomm
>
> I would even go so far as to say it may be worthwhile to develop an ARM backend for dmd.
>
> What needs to be done?  Same as anything else, we need people to try it out and pitch in, like this guy who's now trying ldc out on an embedded device with an old ARMv5 core:
>
> https://github.com/ldc-developers/ldc/issues/2058
>
> I provide Android releases of ldc here:
>
> https://github.com/joakim-noah/android/releases
>
> We've been fixing Android/ARM regressions in the latest D releases here:
>
> https://github.com/ldc-developers/ldc/issues/2024
>
> More than anything else, we need the community to try building mobile libraries and apps, because compiler support is largely done.  We need to integrate mobile into our plans, rather than it just being a sideline.
>
> There are two main possibilities for D usage on mobile right now:
>
> - D libraries for faster code than the native languages
> - full GUI apps written in D, likely cross-platform
>
> The latter may seem far-fetched given D has not done that well in desktop GUI apps, but mobile is still a new market and D could do well.  D is uniquely well-suited to mobile, because it's nicer than Java or Obj-C while more efficient than the former, and it could make it easier to go cross-platform.
>
> Vadim has done some nice work building DLangUI on Android, including a Tetris app that I spent half an hour playing on my phone:
>
> http://forum.dlang.org/thread/cdekkumjynhqoxvmgjze@forum.dlang.org
>
> I realize D is never going to have a polished devkit for mobile unless a company steps up and charges for that work.  But we can do a lot better than the complacency from the community we have now.

I think mobile would be nice, but there needs to be a good full stack (game lib, UI lib, maybe both) packaged with the compiler and runtime in order to get people attention.

What I see as something that can be targeted from day one is IoT, industrial controllers, cloud and other embedded/backend platforms (I'm basically agreeing with aberba's post).

I'm currently trying the armv5 platform, as you pointed out. The possibilities are far more appealing for me to use the D stack on Linux/Arm(Mips) as everything I know in the industrial space uses this combination.

Being able to create software with a nicer language using nicer libraries would be the "killer app" for an entire industry.

I think there is great potential and the proverbial low-hanging-fruit here for getting stuff rolling.

Would be great if we could persuade the D foundation to sponsor some Linux ARM/Mips CI infrastructure, I know I would pitch in my 2 cents for the cause.
This infrastructure could be used by LDC and GDC and be extended in the future.



April 06
On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:
> and pitch in, like this guy who's now trying ldc out on an embedded device with an old ARMv5 core:
>
> https://github.com/ldc-developers/ldc/issues/2058
>

What is currently needed for D in IoT?
April 06
On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 19:02:00 UTC, aberba wrote:
> On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:
>> and pitch in, like this guy who's now trying ldc out on an embedded device with an old ARMv5 core:
>>
>> https://github.com/ldc-developers/ldc/issues/2058
>>
>
> What is currently needed for D in IoT?

The most important catalyst for improving the support for new platforms (embedded, IoT, mobile, you name it) is good continuous integration (CI). None of the major free CI providers (TravisCI, CircleCI, SemaphoreCI, AppVeyor, etc,) provide non-x86 runners. The only option (at least AFAIK) is software emulation with QEMU, though I haven't looked much into it (yet).
April 07
On 4/6/17 7:24 AM, Joakim wrote:
> I have been saying for some time now that mobile is going to go after
> the desktop next
> (http://forum.dlang.org/thread/rionbqmtrwyenmhmmggx@forum.dlang.org),
> Samsung just announced it, for a flagship device that will ship tens of
> millions:
>
[snip]
> The latter may seem far-fetched given D has not done that well in
> desktop GUI apps, but mobile is still a new market and D could do well.
> D is uniquely well-suited to mobile, because it's nicer than Java or
> Obj-C while more efficient than the former, and it could make it easier
> to go cross-platform.
>

Let's not forget Kotlin and Swift, things we'd really be competing against - that is the other NEW stuff.

Also let's not forget the _legion_ of tools that let you do cross-platform mobile app development in languages such as JavaScript, Lua and e.g. C#.

> Vadim has done some nice work building DLangUI on Android, including a
> Tetris app that I spent half an hour playing on my phone:
>
> http://forum.dlang.org/thread/cdekkumjynhqoxvmgjze@forum.dlang.org
>
> I realize D is never going to have a polished devkit for mobile unless a
> company steps up and charges for that work.  But we can do a lot better
> than the complacency from the community we have now.

Much as I like D I would admit that even Desktop/Server developer experience is far from stellar. Now switching to mobile the expectations of mobile developers are much higher - they want a ready made development environment, full support of platform APIs, thousands of examples, ready made GUI components, tons of documentation, perfect support for all manner of proprietary tools such as code signing, emulators, you name it. Anything short of completely polished devkit is not going to succeed.

Most importantly though we would need to change the perception: trying to be a D mobile app developer is doubly niche - first because of D, second being an alien in mobile development.

---
Dmitry Olshansky
April 07
On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:32:41 UTC, rikki cattermole wrote:
> IMO there is two things that need to be done to get D for mobile:
>
> 1: ldc needs to natively target and distribute binaries for Android (MIPS, ARM, at least).

I'm not sure what you mean by "natively target."  Do you mean that the shipping ldc compiler should come with Android/ARM target support built in?  That can be done, but it's useless without a stdlib cross-compiled for the target and ldc doesn't provide the cross-compiler scripts/toolchain with its releases that would allow you to easily start cross-compiling, even though the compiler itself is capable.  Instead, I provide a cross-compiler for linux/x64 that comes with a cross-compiled stdlib for Android/ARM, and link to instructions on how to use it with the Android NDK toolchain.

If you mean a native ldc compiler, that's already been done and provided in the link above, ie a native ldc that you can run _on_ your Android device.  That's what I use, since my development hardware is an Android/ARM tablet (I have not used an x86 or x64 device in more than a year, instead renting out an x64 vps recently to build the cross-compiler).

As for Android/MIPS, nobody uses it, just like Android/x86 now that Intel has pulled out of the mobile market.  No point.

> 2: extern(JNI) seriously, its a pain to work with Java over JNI otherwise. It would be worse then not having extern(Obj-C).

I don't think it's that bad, but sure, we could always make it easier.

On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 09:39:05 UTC, kinke wrote:
>> More than anything else, we need the community to try building mobile libraries and apps, because compiler support is largely done.
>
> What LDC would primarily need is a CI platform supporting ARM (and ideally AArch64) in order to make it a true first-class target. We don't know of a free CI platform, so ARM isn't tested automatically, and it's currently mostly up to poor you to check for regressions. ;(

Circle seems to have some Android support, though I don't know if it's free, as Petar says:

https://circleci.com/docs/1.0/android/

I haven't been too inclined to look at this, as I've never messed with these CI services and it's not a big deal to run the tests myself occasionally.  We should add CI for Android at some point though, just one of the handful of tasks that it'd be nice if the community would chip in with.

On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 11:59:42 UTC, aberba wrote:
> On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:
>
>> That means this tidal wave of mobile swamping PCs is only going to get worse:
> That remains to be seen.

Notice the decline in PC sales since mobile took off on its hockey stick curve?  Now that they're even offering desktop-style multiwindow on mobile, what makes you think it doesn't get worse? 
 I've predicted a collapse.  Even Microsoft is selling the S8, a flagship Android device (!), because they want to get their office suite on Android:

https://www.thurrott.com/mobile/android/108140/microsoft-offering-customized-samsung-galaxy-s8-preorder

>> Even Microsoft has announced that they're taking another shot at ARM, ie Windows is coming to ARM again, this time with x86 emulation for old Win32 apps:
>>
>> http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/7/13866936/microsoft-windows-10-arm-desktop-apps-support-qualcomm
> ARM is *rising*, that's true. But there is no factual evidence in their decision (that you seem to know) backing your point.

Did you bother to read the article?  The head of Windows, Terry Myerson, specifically says, "Customers are asking for devices with better battery life, with cellular connectivity. That's why we've invested in this, and we're pretty excited to be announcing it this week.”  I'm not sure what other "factual evidence" you're looking for.

> Microsoft, Apple, Google, ... all invest in projects they end up abandoning.

Are you suggesting that they will abandon Android or the iPhone or just their desktop-on-mobile efforts?  It is true that multiwindow UIs on mobile is a nascent effort, and like anything new may not go anywhere, but I wouldn't bet against it.  In fact, this entire thread argues that D should bet on it.

>> More than anything else, we need the community to try building mobile libraries and apps, because compiler support is largely done.  We need to integrate mobile into our plans, rather than it just being a sideline.
> IoT, Cloud

IoT has not gone anywhere, while D already supports cloud.

>> The latter may seem far-fetched given D has not done that well in desktop GUI apps, but mobile is still a new market and D could do well.  D is uniquely well-suited to mobile, because it's nicer than Java or Obj-C while more efficient than the former, and it could make it easier to go cross-platform.
>>
>> Vadim has done some nice work building DLangUI on Android, including a Tetris app that I spent half an hour playing on my phone:
> Any unpolished GUI toolkit (even when polished) will not sell on android-iOS except for Games with custom drawn elements. C++ is in that same position. Google is busy pushing Java, Apple is busy pushing Swift. DlangUI could work but will not land you a big share in usage.

I'm not looking for big share, just a first step.  Small share on mobile is a lot bigger than big share on IoT/cloud.

>> I realize D is never going to have a polished devkit for mobile unless a company steps up and charges for that work.  But we can do a lot better than the complacency from the community we have now.
>
> With the *rising* market for IoT and Cloud, the effort invested in ARM should be geared towards these areas with much potential. Canonical just gave up their Ubuntu Touch (Mobile OS) and Unity 8 DE to invest their resources in Cloud and IoT. Fighting for mobile apps market (except for WebGL/OpenGL/Vulkan games), which big corporates like Microsoft are also in fighting but losing doesn't seem like a good idea.

Irrelevant, as they were pushing entirely different mobile OS platforms, while we're just talking about getting a language on the currently dominant mobile platforms.  The latter is much easier.

> IoT and Cloud entails ML, AI, NLP, embedded programming, bots, microservices, containerization, robotics... which mir, vibe.d, mqtt, and its projects are implementing some in bits.

The latter fields are mostly orthogonal to the first two platforms you list, ie you can run any of those on most any platform.

> Thats what you can say has potential cus they are actually *rising*

I am skeptical of IoT taking off anytime soon- witness the recent DDoS from IoT devices- while we're already focused on cloud.

I think mobile needs focus because it dwarfs all those other platforms in size, so even some small chunk of that moving to D could be huge.

On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 12:52:01 UTC, Adam D. Ruppe wrote:
> On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 05:24:07 UTC, Joakim wrote:
>> There are only two devs working on mobile, Dan and me, I don't think anybody on the core team has even tried our work.
>
> I don't even own a mobile device and don't see that changing any time soon (they are really expensive, slow, and just generally hard to use*). I do own a raspberry pi, but never actually use anyway so I have no need to develop for it.
>
> If I actually used one of these things, I'd probably join you in hacking together stuff the way I've done web and desktop libs, but I just don't use the hardware....

You're probably fairly unique in this even in this forum, but unfortunately your comment does paint a picture of D devs being disconnected from major current tech trends.

On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 16:06:55 UTC, Radu wrote:
> I think mobile would be nice, but there needs to be a good full stack (game lib, UI lib, maybe both) packaged with the compiler and runtime in order to get people attention.

We could probably put together a mobile devkit with DlangUI and our other gamedev libraries.  It's just going to take more than just me doing it.

> What I see as something that can be targeted from day one is IoT, industrial controllers, cloud and other embedded/backend platforms (I'm basically agreeing with aberba's post).

Others have tried D on embedded and reported problems with stripping the runtiem down to perhaps even more constrained hardware:

https://forum.dlang.org/post/ktqntaoewubgtbdgrxxf@forum.dlang.org

There is probably a niche of higher-powered embedded hardware that D would do well on right now, maybe including your situation, and as I noted in that thread, I don't know that it'd take that much effort to strip D down more.

Given the many issues in the embedded market generally and how C still dominates, I believe mobile is actually an easier sell, though I'd like to see both happen some day.

> I'm currently trying the armv5 platform, as you pointed out. The possibilities are far more appealing for me to use the D stack on Linux/Arm(Mips) as everything I know in the industrial space uses this combination.
>
> Being able to create software with a nicer language using nicer libraries would be the "killer app" for an entire industry.
>
> I think there is great potential and the proverbial low-hanging-fruit here for getting stuff rolling.

I agree with you about D's potential in industrial use, though I'd separate out IoT as not having gone anywhere yet.

> Would be great if we could persuade the D foundation to sponsor some Linux ARM/Mips CI infrastructure, I know I would pitch in my 2 cents for the cause.
> This infrastructure could be used by LDC and GDC and be extended in the future.

As I noted above, there may be free services for open-source projects that we're overlooking.

On Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 22:28:20 UTC, Dmitry Olshansky wrote:
> On 4/6/17 7:24 AM, Joakim wrote:
>> I have been saying for some time now that mobile is going to go after
>> the desktop next
>> (http://forum.dlang.org/thread/rionbqmtrwyenmhmmggx@forum.dlang.org),
>> Samsung just announced it, for a flagship device that will ship tens of
>> millions:
>>
> [snip]
>> The latter may seem far-fetched given D has not done that well in
>> desktop GUI apps, but mobile is still a new market and D could do well.
>> D is uniquely well-suited to mobile, because it's nicer than Java or
>> Obj-C while more efficient than the former, and it could make it easier
>> to go cross-platform.
>>
>
> Let's not forget Kotlin and Swift, things we'd really be competing against - that is the other NEW stuff.

Kotlin runs on the JVM, so it's not going to be as efficient, while Swift has not been ported to Android.

> Also let's not forget the _legion_ of tools that let you do cross-platform mobile app development in languages such as JavaScript, Lua and e.g. C#.

Except for C# to some extent, only because they are now investing much more on mobile tooling, I would not call any of those as nice to use or as efficient as D.  Mobile is a big market with a lot of dev options, but I believe D could make a unique pitch.

>> Vadim has done some nice work building DLangUI on Android, including a
>> Tetris app that I spent half an hour playing on my phone:
>>
>> http://forum.dlang.org/thread/cdekkumjynhqoxvmgjze@forum.dlang.org
>>
>> I realize D is never going to have a polished devkit for mobile unless a
>> company steps up and charges for that work.  But we can do a lot better
>> than the complacency from the community we have now.
>
> Much as I like D I would admit that even Desktop/Server developer experience is far from stellar. Now switching to mobile the expectations of mobile developers are much higher - they want a ready made development environment, full support of platform APIs, thousands of examples, ready made GUI components, tons of documentation, perfect support for all manner of proprietary tools such as code signing, emulators, you name it. Anything short of completely polished devkit is not going to succeed.

In that case, even Apple and google's efforts have not succeeded, as I've heard lots of bitching on all those fronts for the official mobile devkits. ;) Take the Android NDK, which has long been neglected for everything you list, though that may be partially because they want to discourage its use, in favor of Java.

D is never going to attract the crowd that wants everything "ready made," but we can make a much better effort at attracting the mobile niches that want D's advantages.

> Most importantly though we would need to change the perception: trying to be a D mobile app developer is doubly niche - first because of D, second being an alien in mobile development.

Yes, D is niche, but niche efforts have to focus on small markets where they're uniquely suited or giant markets where they can attract some small share by being different, small share that is still worthwhile because it's a much larger market.  I'm suggesting mobile is the latter opportunity for D.

As for "being an alien," eh, we can make it fit.  As you yourself said, there are many other languages jockeying for position on mobile, it's not all just Java and Obj-C.
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