A Glimpse at J on a WinCE Palmtop

Dick Bowman

Contents

Introduction

It's quite some time now since Eric Iverson was proudly waving around one of the earlier WinCE machines and offering J in the palm of your hand, but a few weeks ago ISI/Strand announced that J (4.02a) was now available for the palmtop (no keyboard) WinCE machines, and that the usual two-week evaluation key arrangement would apply.

Time to take a look...

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Installation

Download from the J Software site is painless and over in a few minutes; you need to know what processor drives your palmtop (just to emphasise - WinCE machines, not Palm devices).  Follow the instructions and transfer files over to your palmtop.

It looks as though J is effectively the same for both the P/PC (no keyboard, such as the HP 430) and H/PC (with a keyboard, like the HP 680) and the same file describes installation for both.  Either way, the usual application of common sense to the usual ISI/J terseness should pretty soon get you to a state where there's a J you can start on the palmtop.  I wonder whether the complete novice will give up at this point (other WinCE software relies less on the intelligence of the user).

I installed onto an HP430 (SH3 processor and 16Mb RAM.

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What's in the Box?

Click on the J menu item and up comes a recognisable J execution session; less menu items than on the bigger boxes, but you'll recognise it...

Various demos, samples and examples are supplied (specifically the "citydemo" and "plot" examples, along with various labs).  Unlike the "bigger" versions these don't run from the session menu (unless it's possible to reconfigure this, which I haven't tried).  There's a big weakness here in so far as while these scripts run, somebody forgot just how small the P/PC screen is - so a lot of the display is out there in virtual space and you can't see it.  This is not going to impress anyone new to J.

J itself is there - no comment needed - it's J.  It'll run slower than your desktop iron because these little boxes are slow.  But there don't seem to be major language restrictions (you'll run out of memory, but not out of ideas).

Either use the on-screen keyboard that WinCE supplies or Jot character recognition.

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Roll Your Own?

It's J right, so let's grab a script and run it...

LODICK=: 0 : 0
pc lodick;
xywh 8 8 34 11;cc pressme button;cn "Press me";
xywh 4 24 50 10;cc lo static;cn "";
pas 6 6;pcenter;
rem form end;
)

lodick_run=: 3 : 0
wd LODICK
NB. initialize form here
wd 'pshow;'
)

lodick_close=: 3 : 0
wd'pclose'
)

lodick_pressme_button=: 3 : 0
wd 'set lo "Hello Dick"'
)

Just like that...

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Conclusions

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Copyright Dick Bowman, 2000-2013; last update 8 March 2013 (repaired links)