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Community Driven Ubuntu Phone Core Apps

Written for Ubuntu Touch Core Apps by David Planella on 2013-02-05

When we announced [Ubuntu for
phones]( on the 2nd January, we also
had a call for volunteers to help create the core applications that
would be part of the platform. Like any phone OS we need to provide a
calendar, calculator, email, social media apps and more. Ubuntu has long
been an open community project and we wanted to work with our community
from the outset to work on a set of apps that we can all be proud of.

To do this we included a form on
and asked interested Qt/QML developers to fill it in if they were
interested in participating. In just a few days we had over **1500**
people fill in the form, expressing tremendous interest in being part of
these projects and making an awesome Ubuntu phone platform.

We then finalized our list of apps that we think we need and then
reached out to the most experienced of these volunteers and broke them
into teams, with one team per application (these teams are fairly small,
we couldnt use everyone who volunteered, but we will be having an Ubuntu
Phone App Showdown in future, so stay tuned!)).

For each of the applications we then worked on some user stories and
functional requirements to deliver the core functionality in each of
these apps and documented them on the Ubuntu wiki. These applications
are all available [here](

Call For Design


So, we have a good set of developers assigned for each app, but we would
like to invite our community to contribute design ideas for each of
these apps. We have already defined a set of user stories and functional
requirements, and for each app we have also defined a set of the core
screens and functionality that we will need design for. We would like to
invite you wonderful designers out there to contribute your design
ideas, and these ideas can provide food for thought for the developers.

To do this we are using the popular [Balsamiq](
online mock-ups tool, and the Balsamiq folks have very generously
provided an [Ubuntu
site where all of these designs can be storied, commented on, and
refined. As such, you can contribute your designs there and then link
them to the wiki page for the application the design is for.

A while back I asked Ivo Weevers, head of the design team at Canonical,
for a set of design guidelines for these contributed designs to follow,
but unfortunately his team has not had the time to deliver this yet, but
we do have a simple set of [overall design
suggestions]( we
would like to ask you to follow as well as some example designs that you
can use to match your work to.

If you would like to contribute some designs, simply pick one of the
following apps and follow the instructions on the page:

- [Calendar](
- [Clock/Alarm](
- [Weather](
- [Calculator](
- [Email
- [RSS Feed
- [File
- [Document
- [YouTube](
- [Facebook](
- [Twitter](
- [Terminal](

If you don’t want to contribute a design but would like to offer input
on the existing designs, simply click on the designs submitted on the
wiki page and you use the comments box on the MyBalsamiq site to provide
your feedback. I would like to also encourage you folks to share your
designs on your blogs, on the [Ubuntu
Reddit](, on social media, and other

Obviously not all designs will ultimately be implemented, but the goal
here is to primarily provide a great opportunity for the best designs
that match the design ethos of the Ubuntu phone to bubble to the

Other Contributions

All of the applications we are working on here have Launchpad projects
set up and the code will be publicly available and Open Source from the
beginning. We are currently working on a base template project to land
in each trunk for the development teams to get started from.

There will definitely be other opportunities for contributing in the
future (e.g. icon design, QA, testing), but for now we are focusing on
the design and development phase. Stay tuned!

Keeping In Touch

To other members of the Ubuntu for phones community, be sure to join the
\#ubuntu-phone IRC channel on freenode and you can [join the mailing
list]( I will also be providing
regular updates on this work on my weekly Q+A videocast every Wednesday
at 7pm UTC on [Ubuntu On Air](

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