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Development of a Localized Mobile Application for Indigenous Information Sharing

Oluwaseyitanfunmi Osunade and Ayo Falayi
AbstractThese Organizations and communities have information that do not change over time such as proverbs, laws and customs. Proverbs, called we in Yoruba language, not only preserve the language, but share the knowledge, wisdom and custom of the people. Information, such as proverbs that educate, is the bedrock for personal and national development. How can the information be preserved and transferred to the next generation for personal and national development? Mobile devices offer a platform that can be used to disseminate proverbs and information that contribute to development. In this work, a mobile application was developed to provide Yoruba proverbs to smart-phone users. The process and results are presented in this paper. Index Terms Blackberry smart-phone, mobile application, Yoruba, proverb, software development .


rganizations and communities have information that do not change over time such as proverbs, laws and customs. Proverbs are wise sayings that reflect years of observation, reflection and insight. Proverbs embody the culture and language of a people such as the Yorubas of West Africa. Johnson [1] provides a detailed history of the Yorubas before and after the British occupation. Yoruba is one of the widely spoken languages in Nigeria. The word Yoruba refers to a people, a language and a culture. Yoruba language is rich in content and context especially its wise sayings called we (proverbs). The proverbs of the Yoruba people are comparable to that of the Chinese. Among the Yoruba, proverbs have become so interwoven with living speech and can be heard at anytime such as ceremonies, counseling and negotiations. Proverbs also serve as a means of achieving clarity and conciseness in discourse [2]. Over twenty-five million people speak Yoruba language all over the world as an integral part of their lives thus preserving the cultural values as recorded by [3]. As a result of this, the need to make such universal phenomenon, Yoruba proverbs, available to all and sundry is a driving force for this proposed mobile application. How can Yoruba proverbs, the language, wisdom and insights, be preserved and transferred to the next generation? Mobile devices such as smart phones represent a large proportion of the digital tools available to the next generation. Smart-phones are a type of mobile device that allows communication and information sharing between people. There are numerous applications for smart-phones at the moment, but Nigerian indigenous content or languages such as Yoruba proverbs are currently unavailable on any mobile platform.

This project is focused on the dissemination and delivery of indigenous local information to mobile users using a mobile application. This involves development of a mobile application to provide Yoruba proverbs (we) and their interpretations to mobile phone users. The experimental information used for this work is Yoruba proverbs of the Yoruba people in West Africa. The mobile application was developed for BlackBerry smart-phone users. Users are expected to be global in nature because of the dispersed population of Yoruba people across the world especially in Europe and Americas.

2.1 Blackberry Smart-phone The convergence of many technologies has led to new and exciting computing paradigms such as mobile computing, mobile applications and mobile communication devices. At the centre of this convergence is the integrated hardware that has been miniaturized into different sizes classified as tablets, note pads and smart-phones. Complimentary software applications and systems have also been developed to meet users demands. In this work, the focus will be on the Blackberry smart-phone and the development of a complimentary software application for indigenous information sharing.
A smart phone is a mobile phone that has other capabilities such as e-mail, Internet browsing and video capture. The difference between a phone and a smart-phone is the applications that the smart-phone runs. Several manufacturers such as Research In Motion (RIM), Samsung, LG and Nokia now produce smart-phones. In this work, the mobile application development will be done on the Blackberry, a smart-phone developed by Research In Motion based in Waterloo, Canada.

Table 1: Types and examples of mobile applications The first BlackBerry device, the 850, was introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager in Munich, Germany [4]. The BlackBerry smart-phone is a wireless enabled and handheld device. From its introduction BlackBerry has gained market share in the mobile industry by concentrating on email and instant messaging i.e. Blackberry Messenger (BBM). BlackBerry offers such features as push email, text messaging, web browsing, Internet faxing, mobile telephone, and many other wireless informational services all on a multi-touch interface. The operating system such as BlackBerry OS, used by BlackBerry devices is a proprietary multitasking environment developed by RIM. The operating system is designed for the use of multiple input devices such as the track wheel, track ball, track pad. The device connects to the personal computer or Internet in a variety of ways such as via USB, Bluetooth, Wi - Fi and Radio signals. BlackBerry devices are able to send and receive information over the wireless data networks provided by telecommunication service companies. Some applications available on a BlackBerry smart-phone include calendar, to-do lists, address book, note taker, games, automated phone calls and Short Message Service (SMS). The data for these applications are stored within the smart-phone, on an external multimedia card and on the in-built media storage. The application storage is internal to the smart-phone. It contains the operating system, the BlackBerry Java Virtual Machine, and an internal file system. Application storage is the only place on a BlackBerry smart-phone from which applications can be run. The external media card storage is a media data card such as microSD card that is added to extend the storage capacity of the smart-phone. It is optional and removable. A file system is mounted on the media card. The in-built media storage location is an embedded multimedia card called eMMC. It is not removable. A file system is mounted on the built-in media card. Built-in media storage is included on some BlackBerry smart-phone models.
Application types Communications Examples E-mail clients IM clients Mobile web and Internet Browsers News/information Clients On-Device portals(Java portals) Social networks Clients Graphics/image Viewers Presentation Viewers Video players Audio Players Streaming Players (Audio/Video) Puzzle/Strategy(e.g Tetris, Sudoku, mah-jong, chess, board games) Cards/Casino(e.g Solitaire, Blackjack, Roulette, poker) Action/Adventure(e.g Doom, Pirates of the Caribbean) Role-Playing Games (RPGs) Sports(e.g. Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Racing, Boxing, skiing) Leisure Sports(e.g Bowling, Pool, Darts, Fishing, Air Hockey) Calendars Calculators Diary Notepad/Memo/Word Processors Source [5]




The mobile apps can be platform dependent or crossplatform i.e. they could work on only one or multiple mobile operating system. The apps are usually available on distribution platforms operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Market Place and BlackBerry App World. Mobile apps can either be free or sold at a price. Mobile applications can be categorized by the runtime environment in which they are executed. The first category is browser based Applications. They are basically websites or web pages accessed from a mobile device. They are built using HTML, XHTML, and other standard web technologies such as JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The application may be written specifically for the mobile platform (smaller versions of the desktop pages), or it can be the desktop version displayed on the mobile device. Browser applications allow the application to be updated at any time without disrupting the application users. Browser-based applications provide the best cross-platform option for mobile devices. The second category is Java based Applications. A Java application provides the most robust capabilities to the user. It is the most difficult application to build because the applications are usually hand-crafted. There are also

2.2 Mobile Application Development A mobile application (app) is software designed and developed to run on mobile devices such as smart-phones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. There are many mobile applications developed to achieve a variety of tasks or services. The applications such as shown in Table 1 include productivity tools, browsers, music players, games, puzzles and e-book readers.

no graphical application builders for BlackBerry Java aplications. The applications that BlackBerry owners use most often (Messaging, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Browser, Phone, Camera, and more) are all Java applications. Developers that want their applications to look, feel, and operate like the other applications on the BlackBerry will build their applications using Java. The final category is native Applications. Native apps are coded with a specific programming language for a specific mobile platform such as Objective C for iOS and Java for Android. These mobile applications are fast, reliable, and powerful but are tied to the mobile platform. This implies that the apps must be duplicated using the appropriate programming language in order to target another mobile platform. All games on mobile devices are native apps. This work is an example of a native mobile application because its designed for only the BlackBerry smart-phone. According to [6], mobile application developers must take into consideration data access method, security and user experience when determining the development process. The application development process will be determined by the targeted environment(s) i.e. a specific platform (native) or multiple platforms (cross-platform). Hosbond and Nielson [7] and [6] agree on the need to consider the following factors during mobile software development. The factors are methodology, development skills of the programmers, design of the application, API management, security of data and device, need for testing and user experience, and an effective feedback mechanism. All these were taken into consideration for this work on sharing Yoruba proverbs.

An explanation of the components in the design is given below: User is a BlackBerry Smart-phone owner who downloads the mobile application from the App World or an independent source. User Interface is the set of controls that the user has to interact with the mobile application. The user interface starts with the image or icon that identifies and launches the Yoruba proverb mobile application on the user's smart-phone. Application Code: This provides interaction between the database created for this Yoruba proverbs and the interface where Yoruba proverbs are displayed. Proverbs Database: The Database was created using an array list as a persistent store. It is in-built with the application thus whenever the application is downloaded; the database contains a recent compiled version of Yoruba proverbs. Developer: This is the programmer who writes the application code in Java.


This is a design and experimental work. Materials Used The mobile application development was done on the computer system using software tools. The computer had the following specifications: Intel Pentium 4 processor or equivalent (2 GHz or higher) 2 GB RAM 2 GB available hard disk space and the software tools used included: 32-bit Windows 7 operating system Microsoft DirectX 8.0 or later Research In Motion development toolkit [10] consisting of Java Platform, Standard Edition Development Kit (JDK) 6: includes Java Micro Edition APIs and BlackBerryspecific APIs. The BlackBerry APIs provide access to advanced User Interface functionality, integration with existing applications, the ability to create databases with SQLite and use cryptographic functions to protect the content, the functionality to embed location-based features (for example, maps and geo-location functionality), and much more. Device Simulator 9900

The design is an integration of all the requirements into one program. The program will consist of a database for the proverbs and their interpretations, a user interface and an algorithm for retrieving and presenting the proverbs. The outcome is expected to be similar to Latin Proverbs [8] and Wonderful Proverbs [9]. The proposed design is shown in Figure 1 below

User Mobile AppUser Interface

Application Code


Proverbs database

Figure 1: Design of Yoruba Proverb mobile application

Data Collection The Yoruba proverbs were obtained from individuals and books [11], [2], [12]. The proverbs database contains fiftytwo (52) Yoruba proverbs and their interpretation. Method The proposed design was simulated using the simulator included in the BlackBerry development kit. The simulator in this package is the 9900 series which simulates a Bold5 BlackBerry Smart-phone. The application code was developed using the BlackBerry API. The application code consists of routines for launching the application, retrieval of proverbs from the database, transition from a proverb to another, display of instructions and exit from the application. The simulator is launched through Start>>All program>>Research in Motion>>BlackBerry JDE7.1.0>>device simulator. When the simulator is launched it takes few minutes to boot just as a normal BlackBerry Smart-phone. Once the simulator loads the theme for the blackberry the index screen is displayed. An application can be loaded into the Smartphone simulator by going through the file>>load theme or application, this directs the path to the location of the application to be loaded into the simulator, then click load/insert to load the application or theme. Figure 4: Home Screen of the Yoruba Proverbs mobile application Figure 5: Help menu for the mobile application


The following screen shots show outputs from the simulation steps.

Figure 6: List of proverbs in mobile application

Figure 7: A proverb with its interpretation in English

The user downloads the mobile application Yoruba proverbs application (owe) from the BlackBerry App World. The application is then installed on the device. The index screen of the application is displayed. In Figure 2 the smart-phone screen shows the icon of the we. This implies that it has been installed and ready for use. When we is launched by clicking the icon, the application starts by displaying only the application image on the screen. This is shown in Figure 3. The Home screen for we gives the user four(4) options

Figure 2: Blackberry Simulator showing the icon for we

Figure 3: Launching of the we mobile application

to choose from. The options are numbered as shown in Figure 4. The user types the number correponding to the number desired. Figure 5 shows the instructions and guide to users when the option numbered 3 is selected. If the users decide to display the proverbs and the meaning then users control the track pad of the Smart-phone in accordance with the instruction given. When the user decides to continue to the proverbs. A list of available proverbs is displayed as in Figure 6. The proverb and its interpretation are displayed when one of the available proverbs is selected. Figure 7 shows a sample proverb and its interpretation. Users can decide to exit the application by returning to the home screen and then selecting exit.


Hosbond, J. H. and Nielsen, P. A. Mobile Systems Development: A Literature Review Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University, Denmark 2004. XIMAD (2011a) Latin Proverbs: app for life 2011 Retrieved October 23, 2013.from XIMAD (2011b) Wonderful Proverbs: app for life 2011 Retrieved October 23, 2013.from



[10] Research In Motion BlackBerry Developers website 2012, Retrieved October 23, 2013. from [11] Delano, I. O. Owe L'esin Oro: Yoruba Proverbs- Their Meaning and Usage 1996 Pub. Oxford University Press, Nigeria [12] Owomoyela, O. Yoruba Proverbs 2005 Published by University of Nebraska Press: 978-0803235762, 510 pp


The mobile application developed promotes national development through the provision of Yoruba proverbs that educate users with knowledge, wisdom and history of the Yoruba people. The mobile application is compatible with major versions of the BlackBerry Operating System. The current mode of distribution of the mobile application is through .jar files. The application can be extended to other languages such as Igbo and Hausa Languages. It is recommended that the application be developed across other Smart-phone operating systems such as iOS, Android and Windows.

Oluwaseyitanfunmi Osunade Biographies obtained his doctoral degree in Computer Science from University of Ibadan in 2007; his masters and bachelors degree in 2000 and 1995 respectively from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is a member of the Nigeria Computer Society, IEEE and Internet Society. He is a registered Engineer and a Chartered Information Technology Professional. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His research interests include computer networks and communication systems, computer education and technology management. Ayo Falayi holds a bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is a student member of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS). He is working as a mobile application developer in a technology start-up.

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