Troubleshooting Tips

This section addresses the basic differences in the way things are done in Symbian Platform and in Linux.

Symbian directory structure

In Symbian platform, project source files are arranged based on the directory pattern shown below.




Contains all the source files of the project.


Contains all the header files of the project.


Contains MMP files, and bld.inf.

The developer can choose whether to follow these tips.

EXPORT_C, DEF file and ordinal numbers

This applies only for the DLL target type. If a DLL wants to export an API, the code definition should start with the macro EXPORT_C.

// Declaration
#ifdef SYMBIAN
#define GLOBAL(type)		EXPORT_C type
#define GLOBAL(type)		type
#endif // SYMBIAN
 // Definition
 jpeg_CreateDecompress (j_decompress_ptr cinfo, int version, size_t structsize)
   int i;
   /* Guard against version mismatches between library and caller. */
   cinfo->mem = NULL;		/* so jpeg_destroy knows mem mgr not called */
   if (version != JPEG_LIB_VERSION)
   if (structsize != SIZEOF(struct jpeg_decompress_struct))
 	     (int) SIZEOF(struct jpeg_decompress_struct), (int) structsize);

Whenever a DLL is built on Symbian platform, it creates three files:

  • <target>.dll is the actual DLL that gets loaded at runtime

  • <target>.lib is the static library which contains wrappers for each DLL exported function that, when run, will locate and execute the real function’s code in the appropriate runtime-loaded DLL.

  • <target.def> gets created when the user executes abld freeze. The .def file contains the list of exported DLL functions along with their ordinal numbers. Symbian platform does not store exported symbol names in DLL; instead, the exported functions are referenced using only their ordinal numbers. Storing the ordinal numbers instead of names reduces the size of the DLL.

The following is a sample .def file created for libjpeg:

jcopy_block_row @ 1 NONAME
jcopy_sample_rows @ 2 NONAME
jdiv_round_up @ 3 NONAME
jinit_1pass_quantizer @ 4 NONAME
jinit_2pass_quantizer @ 5 NONAME
jinit_c_coef_controller @ 6 NONAME
jinit_c_main_controller @ 7 NONAME
jinit_c_master_control @ 8 NONAME
jinit_c_prep_controller @ 9 NONAME
jinit_color_converter @ 10 NONAME

The following example shows how to declare and define an exportable function from a DLL and to make it callable from a Symbian C++ application:

In xxx.h

#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C" 
IMPORT_C int Foo();

In xxx.c

extern "C" EXPORT_C int Foo()
    return something;

dlsym() or g_module_symbol()

Since DLL entry points are not exported by name, DLL symbol lookup functions do not work on Symbian platform. For more information about alternatives suggested on Symbian platform, see Dynamic Link Libraries.

The functions dlsym() from libdl and g_module_symbol() from GLib are examples of such functions. Look for usage of these functions in the OSS port and change the code.

ret = g_module_symbol (module, "jinit_c_prep_controller", &ptr); 

needs to be changed to:

ret = g_module_symbol (module, "9", &ptr);

For example, for dlsym() pass the function's ordinal number as symbol parameter (refer the library's list of exports, the DEF file for the function's ordinal number):

dlsym(&handle, "foo")

needs to be changed to:

dlsym (&handle, "3")

Problem with a variable list of arguments in macros

This section suggests a way to overcome the problems faced when macros with a variable list of arguments are used.

#define DEBUG(a,...)

The above statement causes a compilation error. One of the solutions to solve this problem is as follows:

#define DEBUG _DEBUG
static inline void _DEBUG (const char *a, ...) 

Keep changes to OSS to a minimum

While porting the OSS code, keep the changes to the OSS code as few as possible. The OSS code is already tested and used by a bigger community, and is unlikely to have any compilation errors or major logical errors. In many cases code changes that are necessary brings potential logical flaws to the OSS port. Minimum changes to the OSS code while porting also helps in merging to the new OSS.

Exporting variables from a DLL

Exporting data from a DLL is not allowed in Symbian platform . The following pattern can be used:

  1. Do not export global variables. Within DLL, there is one global variable, for example:

    int globalVal; 
  2. Export one method that returns a pointer to that variable.

    extern "C" EXPORT_C int* GlbData ()
        return &globalVal
  3. Define a macro for the user of the DLL. See the example below. Within the DLL header (for example, xxx.h), define the following:

    #ifdef __cplusplus
    extern "C" 
    IMPORT_C int* GlbData ();
    #define globalVal (*GlbData())

Application is not loaded

The absence of the dependent libraries could be one of the reasons for the application not to load in the mobile device. On the target device, Symbian platform looks for libraries in c:\sys\bin or in z:\sys\bin.

Do make sure that all the libraries are present in either of the above-mentioned libraries.

Capabilities not known

Capabilities are specified in the MMP file. The primary information source is the P.I.P.S. API reference documentation. If problems with capabilities remain, one known method to find the capability is to analyze the [Debug Messages] window in CodeWarrior IDE (while debugging). During development, CAPABILITY All –Tcb is acceptable, but for release code it is good practice to give a valid capability in the MMP file in order to have the application successfully signed. The following is a sample of a capability error found in the [Debug Messages] window.

*PlatSec* ERROR - Capability check failed - Process hellogst.exe[10015942]0001 was checked by Thread c32exe.exe[101f7989]0001::ESock_IP and was found to be missing the capabilities: NetworkServices. 

Environment variables

At the moment, environment variables are not completely supported in Symbian C++. Therefore be wary of using library functions like getenv() which work on environment variables. Make sure the library initialization routine calls setenv() with the proper value of the environment variable. Also, be wary of functions like g_get_home_dir() which may not work as they behave in Linux.

if ((memenv = getenv("JPEGMEM")) != NULL) // will not work properly

Suggested change:

void LibraryInit() 
   setenv ("JPEGMEM ", "XXXXX", 1);  

Assembly code

The syntax for inline assembly code is different in Symbian platform. The following is a code snippet of assembly code syntax in Symbian platform.

EXPORT_C __NAKED__ TUint16 TTemplate::Register16(TUint anAddr) 
  Read a 16-bit register  
  @returns register contents  
  asm("ldrh	r0,[r0]");

In common practice the assembly code has the extension .CIA in Symbian platform, whereas in Linux the assembly code has the extension .S.


The following table lists terms used in Linux and their approximate equivalents in Symbian platform:



-D of Makefile

MACRO of theMMP file

-I of Makefile







MMP file

SOURCES of Makefile

SOURCE of the MMP file




\epoc32\data\c\sys\bin on an emulator, \sys\bin on a target device

The following table lists a few important things about the Symbian platform:


Platform, for example winscw or armv5



c: drive in emulator

\epoc32\data\c and \epoc32\winscw\c

z: drive in emulator



Lists public header files and their location in \EPOC32\INCLUDE