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Symbian Terminologies- by Anindya1989

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Guest prayaas1998

This post was originally by Anindya1989. He has compiled a list of all Symbian terminologies in alphabetic order. It's good to know all this stuff. Sounds interesting!

Terms beginning with A


Application Binary Interface. This is a standard for the interfaces of binary code running in ARM

environments, and is intended to allow inter-operation of binaries produced by different compilers that conform to the standard. It describes the low-level interface between an application program and the operating system, between an application and its libraries, or between component parts of the application.The specification is published by ARM.

abld.bat batch file

Controls all aspects of building a project in the SBSv1 build system. It is created in the current directory by the bldmake tool from a component description file.


Used to describe a class which describes behaviour, but which does not implement it. Many

implementations of the behaviour might be available. Each is referred to as a concrete class.

access count

A record of the number of objects referencing a contact item. A contact item cannot be fully deleted until its access count is zero.

access mode

The locking specified when opening a file: exclusive, readers only, or shared with any.

active object

A class derived from CActive, which is responsible for issuing requests to asynchronous service providers and handling those requests on completion.

active scheduler

A class derived from CActiveScheduler, responsible for scheduling events to the active objects in an event-handling program.


For Bluetooth, each Bluetooth device has built into its hardware a 48-bit device unique address.


In the context of the Network Interface Manager (NifMan), the component which NifMan uses to set up a connection. Or, in the context of a vCard, a property within a vCard whose value is a string representing another entity.


A standard for encoding 12-bit sound as 8-bit data.


Legacy help authoring tool.

algorithmic sound

A sound generated by the sound driver by synthesising sounds according to an algorithm.

Alpha blending

The term used where a value (called 'Alpha') is used to indicate a transparency value for a pixel. If the Alpha=maximum then the pixel is opaque, that is the full colour of the pixel is written to the destination. If Alpha=0 then the pixel is fully transparent, and the destination is left unaltered. Values in-between cause 'blending' with the formula

Destination = Source*Alpha/max_Alpha + Destination*(max_Alpha-Alpha)/max_Alpha


Advanced Mobile Phone System: a 1G standard which operates in the 800-900MHz-frequency band. It is still widely used in the United States.


Marks the start of a selection


Application Programming Interface, the visible public behaviour a system object or component exposes to other objects or components. An API is any interface that enables one program to use facilities provided by another, whether by calling that program, or by being called by it. At a higher level still, an API is a set of functionality delivered by a programming system, and as such the mix of APIs in a particular system tells you what that system can do.


The Symbian OS Application Architecture framework, which defines the application structure and basic user interface handling.

application class

Defines the properties of the application, such as UID and caption, and creates a new document.

application framework

Handles application start-up and accessing the application data (its document).

application framework API

The frameworks that define the application structure and their basic user interface handling.

application resource file

A resource file written by an application programmer as part of the application source; such files are used to define the application user interface, and to define literal strings and other constant data.

application view

A window managed by an application, which typically displays user data.

app UI

The central user interface class. It creates and owns controls to display the application data, and

centralises handling of command input from standard controls such as menus and toolbars.

A control environment class which defines application-wide aspects of the user interface, such as key event handling. Each application that uses the control environment has exactly one app UI.

or The interface an application presents to the user, or the subclass of CEikAppUi an application uses.


A file attribute indicating whether it has been saved since changes were made to it. The archive attribute is assigned to a file when it is created, replaced or written to.

array granularity

The number of elements by which the array capacity of an array is increased.


The ascent of a character cell defines the position of the baseline within every character cell of a font. It is the number of pixels from the top of the cell to the baseline. The baseline is not a pixel row itself, but occurs between two pixel rows.


Application Specific Integrated Circuit


Application-Specific Standard Product. An integrated off-the-shelf part consisting of CPU, MMU, cache and a number of on-chip peripherals (typically UART's, timers, LCD controller). Designed and marketed by a silicon vendor and intended to be used in a class of devices.

asynchronous request

A request for an asynchronous service from an asynchronous service provider.

asynchronous service provider

A system, component or class which provides a service asynchronously. Requests are indicated by

function calls with a TRequestStatus reference parameter.


Class 2 modem receive command.

attack surface

The complete set of resources and interfaces exposed to potential attackers trying to compromise a system's security.

Terms starting with B


Basic Application Framework Library, a collection of various utilities.


Bandwidth is commonly used to refer to the amount of data that can be passed along a communications channel in a given period of time. To be more accurate, both bandwidth and the speed of a connection determine the rate at which a computer or network sends or receives data. As a good measure of performance, Internet 'bandwidth' connections are usually rated in terms of how many bits they pass per second (bit/s).


An area of physical address space reserved for a particular type of memory (for example, RAM, ROM, I/O) and which may be empty or only partially filled.


The band of frequencies of a signal before it is modulated for transmission at another frequency. A

baseband processor refers to dedicated processor in a mobile phone to handle communication functions.

based-on link

Text Content : A pointer to the format layer whose attributes are inherited by another layer. To find out a character or paragraph's effective formatting, all based-on links must be examined, beginning at the format layer upon which all other layers are based.


The baseline of a character is the notional line that splits the descent of a character from its ascent.

baseline offset

The perpendicular distance from the baseline of a font to another parallel line, such as the underline, strikethrough, superscript or subscript position.


Bank Descriptor Block, a list of entries describing banks.

bdf file

Binary distribution format - used in font definition files.


A telephone network used to carry a call.

bearer name

The type of data service, for example, Asynchronous or Synchronous.


Bit error rate.

binary compatibility

Modifying a library in such a way that code which linked against the previous version can continue to run with the new version without needing recompilation.

binary mode

When a file is open in binary mode, the data bytes in the file are read and written without any intervention by the file system.


BIO stands for Bearer Independent Object


The screen and bitmap-specific graphics drawing component.


Provides the pixel patterns used by pictures, icons and masks, sprites and brush styles for filling areas of the display.

bitmap converter tool

Converts bitmaps between MS Windows to Symbian bitmap format and vice versa.

bitmap mask

A bitmap whose pixels are used to hinder or allow the individual pixels of another bitmap to be written to a graphics device.

bitmap primitive

A graphics operation to draw a bitmap.

bldmake tool

SBSv1 build tool. It processes the component description file (bld.inf) in the current directory, and

generates a batch file (abld.bat) and several build batch makefiles (.make.abld) which are used to build the component.


Binary Large OBject: a collection of binary data held in a file store or database. Commonly used to

represent multimedia objects such as images, sounds and video.


Tool that converts bitmaps between Windows and Symbian OS bitmap formats.


Optional code which runs immediately on reset, before the bootstrap.This is also referred to as the core loader, or just the loader.


A short program, often written in assembler, which gains control when the machine is first powered on. The bootstrap sets up an environment that allows the Kernel to continue to boot Symbian OS (for example, setting up memory, I/O devices and creating virtual memory space).


The brush is used, in basic graphics functions, for filling areas drawn with the shape primitives, and also for text background fills.

brush attribute

Brush attributes, in basic graphics functions, are: brush colour, brush origin, brush style.

brush origin

The point at which the top left corner of the pattern reference tile is positioned.

brush style

The style with which the brush fills fillables. This may be null, solid colour, a built-in pattern or a bitmap pattern.


A section in an executable's disk image that denotes how much uninitialised data the executable needs to run.

buffer position

The position of a byte within a segmented or flat buffer: bytes are numbered from zero, and the address of the byte indexed by a given buffer position is calculated each time the buffer is accessed.

built-in type

Data types which are part of the C++ language; for example, unsigned int, unsigned char.

button co-ordinator

An object which co-ordinates the behaviour of a group of option buttons. It keeps track of the current chosen option button.


A set of variant DLLs that support a particular piece of hardware. It is possible to build a ROM with support for more than one piece of hardware, by including more than one set of variant DLLs in the ROM image.

variant DLL

A variant DLL is a layer of customisation for the base. It allows the same kernel binary to be shared between different pieces of hardware that share the same ASSP. There are variant DLLs for each of the main areas that may vary between pieces of hardware that share the same ASSP - such as the keyboard and digitiser.

variant number

The Makesis variant number distinguishes application that implement the same functionality, but which have some platform or other dependence.


An electronic calendar or schedule. Consists of a collection of properties. Defines a transport- and

platform-independent format for exchanging calendar and schedule information so that any vCalendarcompliant application can send or receive calendaring and scheduling information to or from any other vCalendar-compliant application. For instance, users with mobile phones running vCalendar-aware applications can schedule meetings automatically over an infrared link or via sending an SMS.


An electronic business card. Consists of a collection of properties. Standard defining the format of an electronic business card. All devices supporting vCard can exchange information such as phone numbers and addresses. For instance a user with a vCard-aware phonebook application on a handheld computer can easily transfer names and phone numbers to a vCard-aware mobile phone.

verifiable EE certificate

A valid end entity certificate that is verifiable by a trust anchor.


The parser for vCard and vCalendar objects.


A group of properties that define an event. vEvents are sub-entities nested within a vCalendar entity. They support alarms and recurrence.


The Microsoft Windows 95 and NT version of the FAT file system. Supports long file names.


Video Graphics Array: 'standard' screen size of 640 by 480 pixels.


A well-defined representation of user data. Many applications are designed around a set of fundamental data views, which are implemented in a layer above the engine but below the UI.

view architecture

Allows applications to make and receive requests to show a particular view of their data. Applications can also pass small amounts of data in such requests. The view architecture allows applications to have a fine level of integration between their user interfaces.

view definition

Specifies a subset of fields to be loaded when reading a contact item.

view device

Graphics device used.

view rectangle

Rectangle within view window used for view.

view window

Window used for view.

virtual address

An imaginary address used internally to the CPU which is translated by the MMU into a physical address for external access.


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP, sometimes pronounced 'voyp') is a protocol that enables the

transmission of voice traffic over packet-based networks. The Internet Protocol (IP) was originally

designed for data networking but its success as a world standard for data networking has led to its

adaptation to voice networking.


A volume of storage media, formatted with a particular file system type, available for retrieving and (in most cases) storing information.


Virtual method table: in C++, contains pointers to all the virtual member functions defined in a class.


A group of properties which define a to-do, (for example, an activity or action-item). vTodos are sub-entities nested within a vCalendar entity. They support alarms and recurrence.


ROM image programming utility which runs on a PC.

WAP stack

Is a set of protocols that covers the whole process of wireless content delivery: from the definition of WML and WMLScript for creating and layout of the actual content, the specification of security measures in the WTLS to the lowest parts of the stack dealing with the actual transport of content.

warm reset

A system restart that preserves the state of RAM disks. It will occur if any critical thread dies.


Wide-band CDMA: a CDMA protocol originated by NTT DoCoMo and now adopted for third-generation use by ETSI in Europe. WCDMA supports very high-speed multimedia services such as full-motion video, Internet access and video conferencing.


Provides the WAP general datagram transport services above the various data capable bearer services.

window origin

The top left corner of a window, from which all co-ordinates are measured.

window server

A server which manages the screen, keyboard and pointer on behalf of client applications.

window server buffer

A client-side buffer maintained by window server clients, containing requests to the window server. The buffer is only flushed when necessary. This greatly speeds the operation of the system.


An XML language used to specify content and user interface for WAP devices; the WAP forum provides a DTD for WML.


A standard format for digital certificates, defined by the International Telecommunication Union.

XML - extensible markup language

XML is a pared-down version of SGML, which is designed especially for Web documents. Symbian OS provides a framework for parsing XML.

XML style sheets

The CS Help compiler provides XML style sheets that allows a representation of the help file to be viewed in an XML enabled browser.


Flow control character used to signal to a transmitter that it should suspend data transmission. The character is configurable, with the industry standard being decimal 19.


Flow control character used to signal to a transmitter that it should resume data transmission. The

character is configurable, with the industry standard being decimal 17.


The back-to-front order of windows on a device.

Post will be soon updated! :)

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