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Poll: What technology would you prefer for a "PC suite"

asked 2014-02-06 18:47:14 +0300

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updated 2014-02-07 18:55:11 +0300

Acce gravatar image

It has been asked whether there will be a "Jolla PC Suite" in same fashion there was Nokia PC Suite.

It was suggested that the community could start developing such a suite, and Jolla could take it from there.

This poll asks you: Which type of technology would you prefer for such a PC suite?

Essential features to have on the suite:

  • Sync/Backup/Restore Contacts
  • Sync/Backup/Restore Calendar
  • Backup/Restore of the phone settings
  • (add your suggestion)

Optional / nice to have features:

  • View gallery / copy to PC / device (read-only mode to connect to friends devices)
  • Call / SMS notifications, answering to SMS
  • update notifications / managing installed apps
  • (add your suggestion)
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I consider that a lightweight application (not web) for managing contacts, calender, backup/settings would be enough.

Copying pictures and music can be easily done from Windows/Linux.

lupastro ( 2014-02-07 10:39:56 +0300 )edit

Actually before going to discuss different technical solutions, we should be clear about the requirements. Suggested above is basically only backup and restore (open for suggestions). @lupasto: What is to "manage contacts"? I would think it means to view and edit your contacts on the PC, like it was possible on Nokia's PC Suite. If this is the focus, the web interface could do it. In my view backup and sync to e.g. existing contact apps are more important. Today's UIs allow comfortable editing.

Stefanix ( 2014-02-07 10:54:20 +0300 )edit

@Stefanix Yes, you are right. I meant the same behavior as in Nokia Suite. However, a very important feature for me is the calendar sync. I'd like to sync my Outlook Calender. And no, adding an Outlook/Exchange account does not help, since I am not allowed to do this in the enterprise network. Therefore I'd need an offline sync possibility.

lupastro ( 2014-02-07 10:58:58 +0300 )edit

It is hard to satisfy everyone, but I still think it should be something that requires no install on PC side, as many people find that cumbersome. What do you think if we made some kind of hybrid "cloud" on jolla itself, which offers the web interface and could be linked to sync with a private ownCloud / 3rd party thingy? it could be managed through a web interface on the PC and through an app on your Jolla.

Acce ( 2014-02-07 14:18:55 +0300 )edit

I would prefer to install some software in my PC instead of having to put all the information of my phone in the cloud.

lupastro ( 2014-02-07 14:55:41 +0300 )edit

7 Answers

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answered 2014-02-06 18:50:17 +0300

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updated 2014-02-07 16:47:13 +0300

Acce gravatar image

Web Interface

This option is to create a web application with HTML5, which will be the PC suite; To use it you would enable a web server ("Enable Jolla Suite Connection" etc.) on your phone from settings, and you could connect to your Jolla with your PC / device with a modern browser.

The theme on the interface could use similar theme to that of MerSDK web interface / sailfishos.org, but with your ambience colours.


  • no installing
  • if done properly, works on any modern browser
  • the Jolla is the brains, possible to use Qt for code on Jolla; reduces additional libraries needed
  • You want to show your friends some images you took on a trip; just connect to his/her WLAN and setup the interface on read-only, enjoy your pictures browsable on big screen
  • no 3rd parties involved, still could act like a "local cloud"
  • if WebDAV HTTP extension is implemented, easy file manipulation over WLAN, no need for ssh (ie. enabling dev mode)
  • possible to implement control of the device integration (sync / backup etc) to ownCloud / other cloud service. (cloud integration will hopefully be done by Jolla team, which this interface could control)


  • possible security issues, if user uses switches the interface on unencrypted freewifi or untrusted encrypted wifi
  • HTML5 standardization is not yet complete
  • Limitations of javascripts local file operations

I found this: http://stefanfrings.de/qtwebapp/index-en.html a Qt based webapp framework under LGPL, compiles and works out-of-the-box on Sailfish. Could be used as an engine on the phone for stuff.

This could be allowed only over WLAN and USB, and "power users" could setup port-forwarding to put it on the net at will.

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I am all for this. No need to install stuff, no weird apps that don't match the theme of your desktop and every OS platform has a web-browser available.

ApB ( 2014-02-06 18:55:08 +0300 )edit

@ApB: I agree, with modern computers being fast, small things like this are completely feasible and if well designed, user friendly. Only issue I find is security; There would be need for making sure that the phone cannot be accessed without the users permission (web server would of course be turned off when not used). If we forget the dangers of it, this would enable easy "sharing", just give a link to your friend to your phone with the photos you want to show, no need for 3rd parties...

Acce ( 2014-02-06 19:01:50 +0300 )edit

Was just about to write this as an answer when I read this again.

One of the folks very very close to Jolla was on the team that did Nokia's Mobile Web Server (the server and its attending python-driven CMS); so I know they have the know-how there to do it.

Add browser extensions for all the major web browsers (notifier, responder for messages, means of looking up content stored on phone, etc), and you get something really versatile.

arjwright ( 2014-02-06 19:30:56 +0300 )edit

this would be "unlike" (the phone is the brains, and the desktop is a "dumb terminal")

ymb ( 2014-02-06 20:07:10 +0300 )edit

One thing for security, could be that like modern bluetooth pairing, a 6 digit random passcode is displayed on the device and must be entered on the desktop browser before access is granted.

ymb ( 2014-02-06 20:07:25 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-07 02:48:11 +0300

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updated 2014-02-07 13:17:07 +0300

chemist gravatar image

Private Cloud

Personal note: I think developing a PC Suite application (for different platforms) should be avoided.

The Jolla device should be compatible with one or two commonly used private cloud apps available for installation on PC/MAC/Linux (pre-installed or with one-click installation available for consumer grade NAS like Synology) E.g. OwnCloud, or similar.

The gallery can be watched on any file manager in thumb nail view.

Sync should happen automatically as soon as the phone is connected to the home WLAN (or manually triggered from anywhere else).

This would solve to sync and backup all stuff.

Access to the content of Jolla proprietary stuff is of course not possible this way, if needed at all. But the cloud agent on Jolla should not just dump and sync data, but also read them, verify them with current settings and possibly show differences.

Anyway, the core sync/backup/restore mechanism should be based on existing cloud technology, under user control.

Jolla could offer hosting such a private cloud for normal user, but with the option to set it up your self

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although I agree that cloud integration should be flawless, we cannot assume every user wants / has resources to install and maintain their private cloud. Some people might want to sync to popular 3rd party clouds, but not everyone.

Acce ( 2014-02-07 03:05:16 +0300 )edit

I agree that the solution must be easy to use for the average user. The question is, if there is cloud SW available for easy installation on a PC, or maybe an open source package that could be slightly modified and optimized by Jolla, hiding complex settings and using defaults where possible. Probably easier than to develop something new. Such cloud "standard" based solution could satisfy both, high end users with NAS devices, and the average user.

Stefanix ( 2014-02-07 03:17:54 +0300 )edit

Absolutely. The very idea of a PC Suite be it web based on the phone or a desktop app seems like an idea from last decade.

Why is it needed when we have cloud sync protocols? There's an opportunity here for Jolla to set a cloud sync service up based on ownCloud for example. Let advanced users set their own cloud servers up also with the same software.

aegis ( 2014-02-07 03:53:32 +0300 )edit

jolla could offer hosting such a private cloud for normal user, but with the option to set it up your self

bara ( 2014-02-07 04:17:40 +0300 )edit

I'd recommend that for this answer, and the resulting discussion, that these links from the Mobile Web Server project be looked at: there have been some answers here towards this end: https://research.nokia.com/page/231http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Web_Server - especially the resource links towards Nokia's project pages at the botton of this.

Personally, I've used this kind of format for a long time. It can work. But federation is a hard nut to crack.

arjwright ( 2014-02-07 07:09:12 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-06 18:48:27 +0300

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updated 2014-02-07 01:05:28 +0300

Strahlex gravatar image


This option would be creating a traditional, PC suite which is installed on your computer. It could be done with Qt / QML for portability. The Open Build Service could be used for deployment on Linux.

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If this would work wirelessly, it would have exactly the same security problems as the local-webserver-on-phone based solution, except that you must additionally install special software on your PC.

00prometheus ( 2014-02-06 22:10:31 +0300 )edit

But you would have hope of a well designed protocol between the application and the phone against witch alternative applications could be developed. Using a web-app as an api is horrible believe me. Besides browsers and therefore web-apps are still very bad at working with local files and directories.

torpak ( 2014-02-06 23:02:42 +0300 )edit

yes, but the suite doesn't have to handle local files that much, just files in the phone.. some dropbox like drag-and-drop upload to jolla and download from jolla would suffice for regular user, I think. It is true that web standards are lacking and browsers do stuff differently.. but the situation will probably get better.

Acce ( 2014-02-06 23:34:33 +0300 )edit

@Acce for that you don't need neither a web- nor any other app, you can just plug in your Jolla like a usb stick and drag and drop files from and to it.

torpak ( 2014-02-06 23:54:26 +0300 )edit

This app could also be used to setup rsync and other nice stuff. Web apps are still not very good integrated into normal desktops. Please use the Open Build Service for deployment if it happens.

Strahlex ( 2014-02-07 01:03:43 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-07 14:27:02 +0300

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updated 2014-02-07 15:52:28 +0300

eric gravatar image

How about KDE connect https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kde.kdeconnect_tp&hl=en


Make the same app for windows but have it detect the other half type and install rainmeter with appropriate desktop skin (based on other half) with a bunch of your links and such imported from the phone taking the link spots on the rainmeter desktop. This would allow 3rd parties to not only make custom content that appears on your Jolla from the other half but also allow it to go one step further and allow you a custom desktop interface when synced to your Jolla. For example if you had an IronMan 3 based other half when you connected to your win desktop or laptop it would change your desktop to the IronMan HUD interface already populated with your most visited pages, Twitter feed, slide show of your gallery, etc.. and maybe even install Jarvis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak5ve84RMtM

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Just noticed that turning my answer into a wiki removes me as the source. Also, how do you get such enormous Karma? Can you do Ban Kai with that Karma? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j8_ZYm9ru8

aironeousb ( 2014-02-08 11:07:56 +0300 )edit

they probably managed to ask question like "separate androi and native apps in store", which were voted hundreds of times. but don't worry about the karma too much :)

Acce ( 2014-02-08 12:36:32 +0300 )edit

The original poster is still visible from the change log (click on the "updated ..." line of the last editor).

With a karma of just 1 you need to carefully think about turning your posts into a wiki. Once you have gathered the karma giving you max. options (200 karma points = 20 up-votes, see the faq), the actual karma does not make any difference.

jgr ( 2014-02-08 12:37:04 +0300 )edit

The "Ban Kai" and karma comment is humor, IMO you ^ ruined it (see Bleach anime series [longest animation series in the world] on hulu to get idea of Ban Kai and why I was equating Karma to Reiatsu http://bleach.wikia.com/wiki/Reiatsu). Also, I am not the one that turned my answer into a wiki, someone with enormous reiatsu changed it into a wiki. I don't see any "updated" anywhere and it is a mute point when someone with tremendous reiatsu can just change whatever I post. Also, all returns that I type into the keyboard are getting ignored right now so everything I type gets turned into a wall of text. See if you can leap over my wall of text.

aironeousb ( 2014-02-09 06:14:56 +0300 )edit

@aironeousb: read the guidelines to understand the rules for polls here: https://together.jolla.com/question/16697/together-howto-polling-in-together/ and more generally, check the posts under guidelines tag.

eric ( 2014-02-09 10:32:47 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-05-07 22:02:03 +0300

WhyNotHugo gravatar image

Most importantly: Don't reinvent the wheel

To find the device on the network, use Zeroconf which is already available on most (if not all) platforms. No need to have to look for your IP and type it in.

rsync should be used for plain file backups. Again, I belive that almost any platform has rsync. I'm not saying "tell users to use rsync", but rather use that internally in whatever nice-gui you create, since it'll deal with most of the complicated stuff, AND you'll only need to ship rsync on the phone (which power users will be greatful for).

CalDAV and CardDAV support on the device should suffice for most users. For users who don't like the cloud and want to sync with their desktop, the PC-Suite could (temporarily) run it's own {Cal,Card}DAV server, and some script on the device sync with it instead. This means little-to-no additional effor on the device (and IIRC, both davs are already on the wishlist, right?).

SMS integration could me implemented as an XMPP server on the device, exposing all contacts with a phone number. The pc-suite would be a client to it, and the server would just forward messages to the appropiate number over the mobile phone's network. A nice bonus of this, is that, if Zeroconf is used as well, one could use just about any XMPP client to handle SMSs while the device is in the same network as one's computer. (though the development would be plenty of effort, I admit).

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answered 2015-01-30 10:53:59 +0300

vaa gravatar image

As a non-programming user, I find access to file-management important. I would like: 1- interactive access from the Mac to the folder hierarchy of both internal and external memory; 2- a flexible sync solution for Address Book and iCal (like iSync on SL for the Symbian Nokia E7); 3- a reliable backup and restore solution for both data and system (I presume the Jolla might need to be reset in rare instances, right?) 4- I am not interested in any cloud solution but nowdays I am presumably an exception.

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answered 2015-06-21 16:45:35 +0300

mr_jrt gravatar image

updated 2015-06-21 16:47:47 +0300

Data syncing is a area of interest for me - I'll spare you the long version, but I've put a fair bit of thought into this over the years.

The most important thing is that the phone storage is a huge cache, and the servers (note: multiple) are the primary data stores. My plan for when I got around to this was to push all local messages/events into an IMAP server as specially-formatted items so the conversations et al would show up in normal threaded email clients as email-like messages, and ones that understood the format would be marked up as actual SMS/MMS/XMPP etc messages/conversations, etc. Think like PC Suite's Communications Manager, but in a standard mail client.

Alternatively, you invent "EventDAV" to replace IMAP ;)

That way syncing is easy, and your phone could in theory hand off the heavy searching to a server. You could then just keep the last year's worth of messages cached locally for efficiency, (i.e. faster "Immediate" searching). And all using standard protocols and servers so you can roll your own as you see fit.

I'm all for rsyncing photos, media et al, but I'd be tempted to use something Git-based instead, so you can recover accidentally lost files, not just sync up corrupted ones, etc. There will probably be people who will want to store things on services like Google drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc though, so I suspect it'll have to support all of those in some form as well, abet without the old versions functionality).

As for connectivity, whilst a internet-based option is great, there needs to be a locally-based option as well. I have a public-facing server, most don't. I used to love it when I would get in from work and PC Suite on my PC would sync up my N95 via Bluetooth without me having to do anything. My annoyance there was that it didn't have a Linux-based option for my server, so I was all syncing via my desktop (and via slow Bluetooth, not wifi), ...so lets not go too far the other way, even if that's just (as suggested above) locally-running server software and a zeroconf bit of name resolution to find it.

Once you're communicating with a set of standard servers, the client interface can be whatever you like, be it a web interface you connect to locally, (or publicly!), a Java application, a native application built in whatever you like, or even a set of separate standard applications.

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Asked: 2014-02-06 18:47:14 +0300

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Last updated: Jun 21 '15