Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming Cellphones IT Technology

An Experiment In BlackBerry Development 207

Posted by kdawson
from the berry-casting dept.
ballwall writes "We've all read the stories about how lucrative selling apps on the iPhone can be (or not), but what about other platforms? BlackBerry accounts for twice as many handsets shipped as Apple, according to Gartner, so I decided to find out. I wrote about my experiences developing my first BlackBerry application including sales, platform issues, and a bunch of other things I thought new mobile developers might want to know about."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

An Experiment In BlackBerry Development

Comments Filter:
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:07PM (#28432633) Homepage Journal

    But, there more are corporate users without the right to install anything...

    • by almeida (98786) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:48PM (#28433747)

      I develop applications for BlackBerry and I've talked to RIM about what restrictions corporate users will see. According to RIM, only 40% of BlackBerry users are on BlackBerry Enterprise Networks (BES) and over 90% of BES installations use the default settings. The default BES settings do not impose any restrictions on the device.

    • by Xtravar (725372) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:02AM (#28435277) Homepage Journal

      You almost hit the nail on the head. My company decided to go with iPhone development rather than Blackberry development for the simple reason that our target demographic enjoys iPhones for personal use and only carries Blackberries if their management requires/provides them. With that kind of a trend, and with users willing to use their personal devices for work, it makes much more sense to go the Apple route. It didn't really help that RIM's people were aggressive and obnoxious on a conference call with our president, though...

  • by areusche (1297613) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:22PM (#28432811)
    RIM needs to open the platform up. Nothing more nothing less.
    • by IANAAC (692242) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:31PM (#28432933)

      RIM needs to open the platform up. Nothing more nothing less.

      I thought Java was already quite open.

      Doesn't mean it's easy. But it's open.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      From the article, it seems like the platform already is pretty open:
      • No talk about complexities having to buy an SDK
      • No issues trying to become an "approved" developer
      • No need for an approval committee to decide if your app is worthy for the device

      The main complexities seem to have to do with the sheer diversity related to the multi-carrier and multi-hardware aspects of the BB platform (e.g. the author mentions 10 different ways of getting a network connection and shortcomings of the built-in SDK UI wi

  • Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Naurgrim (516378) <naurgrim@karn.org> on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:29PM (#28432911) Homepage

    Interesting read, ballwall, and I truly wish you luck with your efforts.

    I'm not much of a programmer, but as a SysAdmin (*nix by preference, win* by necessity) I was struck by some parallels I've observed. I find blackberries to be painful. Making them work as a mobile email device tied to Exchange requires a shiat-ton of ugly third party software.

    If a client bothers to ask, (and they don't), I tell them iPhone first, WinMobile second, blackberry distant third.

    BES is, IMHO, a steaming pile - java, dot.net, 32-bit only. Feh. Recent iPhones handle active sync nicely and don't bitch about self-signed certs. WinMobile is a bit harder, but install your certs and you're done. blackberries (I refuse to capitalize) give me pain.

    My clients pay $$ for BES CALs, the devices get stupid and need to be factory reset often and re-activated, costing my client more $$ for my time.

    A colleague says "blackberries are great, they help me spot THOSE people". I tend to agree. I honestly cannot see the attraction when there are better solutions to talk to an Exchange server - previously mentioned iPhones, WinMobile or a laptop with RPC over HTTP(S) all work more simply and more reliably, and I tell my clients so. Nevertheless, I still hear "but I've got to have a blackberry"!

    • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

      by InlawBiker (1124825) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:43PM (#28433073)

      Well, as we are all aware, nobody cares how hard the admin's job is. The Enterprise is BB's target market and they're dug in deep. Just the ability to sync with Exchange calendars, contacts and email is 99% of why Blackberry exists - because BES is great if you're a user. If you're an admin, your job is to support the business and the business wants Exchange sync. Sorry BES admins.

      Blackberry has continued to innovate, their phones are really very easy to use. But the Business will gladly quit paying for BES server and the people to run it the instant something better comes along.

      • Re:Thank you (Score:4, Informative)

        by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:08AM (#28436293)

        Well, as we are all aware, nobody cares how hard the admin's job is. The Enterprise is BB's target market and they're dug in deep. Just the ability to sync with Exchange calendars, contacts and email is 99% of why Blackberry exists - because BES is great if you're a user. If you're an admin, your job is to support the business and the business wants Exchange sync.

        Read what he said again. The blackberry requires a whole bunch of 3rd party software to do that in a vaguely okay way, all of which is limiting, and a pain in the ass. By contrast, the iPhone does exchange calendar, contact and email syncing straight out the box, with extra faffing about.

    • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Informative)

      by gotpaint32 (728082) * on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:43PM (#28433081) Journal
      Blackberries on BES offer enterprise features simply unheard of with Winmobile or iphone devices. Windows mobile only recently got the much needed security features such as remote device deactivation and wiping. Blackberries simply offer more for the enterprise such as a slew of custom encryption features, mds for intranet based apps, web proxy features so you can control user's network browsing, full featured logging (down to the phone calls you make) fully customizable IT and security policies, and I'm sure I'm missing a ton of other features that Blackberry offers that has not even been contemplated for Winmobile much less iphones. Maybe you should be offering your customers reasons to use Blackberries and not reasons to make your job easier. You never know, they may think that one of those features you don't care too much about is pretty nifty...
      • Re:Thank you (Score:4, Informative)

        by IceCreamGuy (904648) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:18AM (#28435019) Homepage

        Blackberries on BES offer enterprise features simply unheard of with Winmobile or iphone devices.

        Maybe unheard of to you. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb123484.aspx [microsoft.com] I count well over 100 group policy settings that can be applied through Activesync to a Windows Mobile 6.1 device. Some of these actually do work on an iPhone as well, such as the password and phone lock policies.

        Windows mobile only recently got the much needed security features such as remote device deactivation and wiping.

        Windows Mobile + Exchange 2003/2007 have had this functionality since 2005 at the release of Exchange 2003 SP2 http://www.microsoft.com/DOWNLOADS/details.aspx?familyid=535BEF85-3096-45F8-AA43-60F1F58B3C40&displaylang=en [microsoft.com]. It even works on an iPhone. I'd hardly call 2005 "recent" in the IT world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wzinc (612701)

        I'm pretty sure iPhones can do all of this... I own one.
        - remote wipe - through exchange and MobileMe
        - full data encryption
        - proxies
        - security policies, including what apps you can / can't have
        - even throw-away phones do "logging," as in recent calls - I'm sure there's some way to save that list - worst case-scenario, look at the itemized bill. The iPhone does log time-usage for sure.

        Although: MDS; I don't know what that is...

        Also, the iPhone does not feature:
        - a Perl trackball or that awful "are you sure?"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by beelsebob (529313)

        I'm sorry, are you kidding me? The blackberry requires all your corporate communications to go through their third party server. That's the big security hole you need to be worried about, right there.

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        Sounds like most of the 'features' you recommend are the reason most business users think that their admins are Nazis.

        Google Maps? (a *far* better app than the shitty garbage installed by default on BBs) Sorry, no installs allowed.
        Ebook reader for all those hours I spend in airports traveling for your goddamned company? Sorry, no installs allowed.
        Opera, so I can make more business flight arrangements reasonably easily, instead of the crappy BB default browser?

        As an email reader, it's the bomb. As a 'mul

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by growse (928427)
      If you run an infrastructure with clients who frequently need factory resets and re-activations, either you've just stumbled across a huge batch of faulty devices, or you're doing it wrong.

      Lets not allow an incompetent sysadmin get in the way of trashing a platform that works great for millions though. Right?
      • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Informative)

        by Naurgrim (516378) <naurgrim@karn.org> on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:19PM (#28433441) Homepage

        OK, fair enough to yours and all of the above replies. I'm replying to yours as it is the harshest, but no hard feelings.

        I should have mentioned that I provide services to small and almost medium-sized businesses and orgs. If I was in an "enterprise" admin role my feelings would be different, and so would the needs and realities my clients face. Picture a law office with 8 users, a business with 20 users, an org with 40 users - that's my space. For this space, licensing and labor cost far more than hardware.

        For this market segment, BES is not, IMHO, the way to go. Licensing and maintenance will bleed my customers dry. Exchange is the cheapest "groupware"-ish solution I can provide for them. For their mobile devices, the same logic applies - keep licensing and maintenance to a minimum. I appreciate that for "enterprise" the added security and logging of BES/blackberry are desirable. Where I live, selling a decent backup solution is a hard task.

        And for those about to suggest it - yes, I have tried the open source route. Hate to say it - they want Office, they want Outlook, they want their calendars/contacts/tasks/etc. That means Exchange. Pains me a bit, but I get over it.

        Yes, the web and email and other internet facing servers are on linux VPSs - not gonna put Exchange or Sharepoint on a public IP, but in the LAN I have to go win*. Don't like it, would prefer otherwise, hope to see the day...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by growse (928427)
          Ah, interesting, this makes more sense. Yes, I think I'd agree with you that the BB model works best with huge deployments and probably is less suitable to the small / medium size, mainly for cost reasons.

          It tends to be the really big shops that (a) have the cash and (b) draw the attention of the regulators meaning they have to have devices and systems that follow the regulations. I believe, but am not authoritative on this, that the BB system is the only mobile email device that's certified for use unde
        • How in the world is Exchange, and the Windows environment you need for it, plus all clients *having* to be Windows (at least MS licensed, for money), cheap?

      • by pasamio (737659)

        Reminds me of the week when we had all sorts of "issues" with our blackberry server. We had a tech who rebuilt our BES system three times in the week only to find out that after the week long blaming of us it was actually a problem on their end. First they claimed it wouldn't work in a whole heap of situations, claimed we didn't build the server right and then claimed that it wouldn't work properly in a virtual machine. This is after we'd had it running smoothly for a few months. Turns out they had a fault

      • by spazimodo (97579)

        I have not worked with BES 5, but it was certainly commonplace on 2.2, 3.6, and 4.0 to have to reset the devices on occasion because they would just stop syncing. I was present for numerous calls involving a help desk person, RIM support, and the carrier to try to get some traveling exec's blackberry working.

        The BES is a steaming pile of shit layered upon several other steaming piles of shit. It hammers the crap out of mail servers. The install process involves magical incantations and occasionally modifyin

        • by Octorian (14086)

          BIS pisses me off even more. Why provide an IMAP client when you can force people to provide their login credentials to their honest and trustworthy cell phone carrier? Not to mention that well into 2008 the idea of syncing e-mail (as opposed to POP3 download) was looked at as some sort of freak request. It's not like anyone would want to get their mail from both their phone AND their PC.

          Yeah, I wasn't too fond of that either. That's why I decided to go ahead and write my own IMAP/POP client (LogicMail [logicprobe.org]) for the BlackBerry.

          Of course now I'm stuck to the BlackBerry, since I do want to continue working on and supporting the app. But overall its been a pretty good experience, albeit way too much of a time sink.

    • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:05PM (#28433327)

      BES is, IMHO, a steaming pile - java, dot.net,

      Ok, BES does use many technologies. The new BES 5 even requires activeX plugins for some web-based admin tools.

      32-bit only. Feh.

      Ummm, not true. BES has supported 64-bit windows and 64-bit databases for quite a long time.

      Recent iPhones handle active sync nicely and don't bitch about self-signed certs.

      Ummm, that's called a security flaw by most competent admins. Frankly, if you can't afford $12.99/year (with coupon code) to get a godaddy signed certificate, maybe security isn't what you're looking for. Is it possible to install your own certificate authority on iphone (or is it that apple doesn't let you)? You can install your own certificates on blackberry, and even manage them all centrally on the BES. You can even use S/MIME & PGP for additional email encryption.

      My clients pay $$ for BES CALs, the devices get stupid and need to be factory reset often and re-activated, costing my client more $$ for my time.

      Well, then you & your clients don't know how to administer a BES & blackberries. The devices are extremely solid, and almost never need a factory wipe. Of course, most problems will be resolved by a factory wipe & reactivating, but there is almost always a far easier & faster way to resolve the issue, but it seems you don't know that.

      When something goes wrong with a windows pc, do you wipe your hard disk & reinstall every time? That will resolve the issue, but there is almost always a simpler, easier & faster solution.

      Reactivating a blackberry user on a BES is REALLY HARD! How hard is it? On the BES 4 series, you run the BES console, find the user, right-click on the user, and set the activation password to whatever you like. Then, on the blackberry, go to options, advanced options, enterprise activation, enter your email address, enter the activation password you just set, and click activate. Wasn't that hard?

      Frankly, if your clients can't activate a blackberry by themselves, then maybe they aren't smart enough to use email.

      I honestly cannot see the attraction when there are better solutions to talk to an Exchange server

      Better? How many other solutions have real push email? None (windows mobile comes close with their fake push). How many other mobile email solutions have remote lock, remote unlock, remote wipe, solid AES encryption, certification by many governments [blackberry.com] and other agencies?. Can you force your users to have a password? Can you force your users to always encrypt the blackberry contents? Does your iphone overwrite freed memory so that the contents can't be read by disassembling the device? Nope.

      Do you need to restrict your user from browsing the web? Do you need to centrally track SMS, email & phone calls? All this is easy on the BES.

      iPhones, WinMobile or a laptop with RPC over HTTP(S) all work more simply

      Ok, that's true. The BES platform is complex, but that is because it does so much.

      Look, BES isn't for everyone - there is a lot of complexity & a lot to learn. You may be better off with an outsourced BES provider (there are many). Or choose the Blackberry Professional Software (BPS), which is a simpler, easier to use BES-lite.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Naurgrim (516378)

        Ummm, not true. BES has supported 64-bit windows and 64-bit databases for quite a long time.

        OK, I'll look into that.

        Well, then you & your clients don't know how to administer a BES & blackberries. The devices are extremely solid, and almost never need a factory wipe. Of course, most problems will be resolved by a factory wipe & reactivating, but there is almost always a far easier & faster way to resolve the issue, but it seems you don't know that.

        Well. since you are posting AC, I've no

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You know, bitching about self signed certs is actually a Good Thing. I'd rather my device/client told me that a cert is only self signed, then that gives me an indication of the level of trust (a self signed certificate just says "i'm ok, trust me").

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ToasterMonkey (467067)

        You know, bitching about self signed certs is actually a Good Thing. I'd rather my device/client told me that a cert is only self signed, then that gives me an indication of the level of trust (a self signed certificate just says "i'm ok, trust me").

        Well, a signed cert just says someone else vouched for their identity. It has nothing to do with trusting the person presenting the certificate. I'm not just nitpicking, that's a really huge difference. There aren't really many "levels" of trust. There's "Hi, you look great *hug*", and there's "I hope Sxball694 is really a chick." What will the "are you sure" dialog accomplish? What would a certificate stating that its name really is Sxball694 mean? With cryptography, it's black and white. Do we hav

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I worked for a small company that subscribed to an outsourced BES+Exchange hosting service on a per-user subscription basis.

      I have to say, my experience as a user was fabulous. The syncing across calendar, mail, and contacts "just worked". Most sync tools have hidden reset options to clear you local version and restore from remote, clear the remote version and restore from local, or some kind of complex manual conflict reconcilation mechanism.

      With BES, there are no such options, and you don't need them. The

    • The obvious error here, is that you have to use Exchange as the e-mail server (if you can still call that e-mail). ^^

      Put some CourierIMAPS on there, if you can.

    • by BSDevil (301159)

      Making them work as a mobile email device tied to Exchange requires a shiat-ton of ugly third party software.

      Or you need better support/training. Or you're just biased against the BES system. Yeah, it's got its quirks (like most pieces of software that size), but once you figure it out it's not especially difficult, and takes about a minute to create a new user and provision the device.

      Also may have been that the guy that taught me how to do it used to do BES SV&V at RIM until he decided he didn't like living in Kitchener-Waterloo any more.

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``Making them work as a mobile email device tied to Exchange requires a shiat-ton of ugly third party software.''

      Exchange is a shiat-ton of ugly proprietary software. It does not surprise me that any product would have trouble working with it. Especially if the product is from a different vendor.

      Whatever else you can fault Blackberries for, subobtimal integration with Exchange is something you can thank Microsoft for. If they wouldn't hold Exchange's protocols under tight wraps, I'm sure RIM and many others

    • as a SysAdmin ... iPhone first, WinMobile second, blackberry distant third.

      Well, as a user, business or otherwise, Winmobile over my dead body.

      Seriously, I love my BB, while Winmobile crashed several times a day, usually using all my apps and data. That is "Goods not of merchandisable quality" in my estimation, and the H/W manufactuers did not even allow a paid upgrade when a new version of the OS came out.

      I am not saying BB is perfect, but IPhone is not for me, and BB works. (I really wanted an upgra

  • Bad UI library (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:38PM (#28433009)
    He's certainly right about one thing: his app has an ass UI. It's RIM's fault, of course. On the Palm, Android, or iPhone platforms even "hello, world!" looks great. On BlackBerry it's impossible to get even a simple app to look good. All apps on BlackBerry that do, in fact, look good are using full-custom drawing engines. See Bloomberg, Facebook, etc. For the small developer, doing your own custom drawing is a huge undertaking assuming you have any visual design talent to speak of.
    • Re:Bad UI library (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:51PM (#28433167)

      So then it seems like a developer has an opportunity to provide a library/framework/whatever you want to call it to provide a UI as a product.

      • by ballwall (629887)

        I think RIM really needs to get on it. Not having a unified look and feel in only going to hurt the platform in the long run. (Not that I care, personally)

      • Yes, it certainly would be a nice opportunity for someone to provide a framework or library for nice looking UI elements. There is also a business opportunity to make a library or possibly a service that takes the pain -- and it is a great deal of pain -- out of implementing BlackBerry's highly touted "push" network feature.

        It seems more likely to me in the long run that RIM will simply buy Palm. One of them has good hardware and a solid operating system foundation, and the other has a spiffy user interfa

    • by jcr (53032)

      his app has an ass UI. It's RIM's fault, of course.

      RIM may not be helping much, but that doesn't make it their fault. A developer certainly has the option of implementing their own UI.

      -jcr

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:42PM (#28433049) Homepage

    The thing about Blackberry that the business users love most about it is that it works and does exactly what they want it to do. They have their contacts, their email, their to-do list, their notes and a select few other things. They don't need much else. It's perfect the way it is for most users. Adding new software to it is not an entertaining idea for most users.

    At the most, they want some mapping... google maps works quite nicely for me, but essentially, Blackberry already does what it needs to do and while some will, most users don't want anything more.

    • by growse (928427)
      Exactly. Right tool for the job and all that.
    • by fermion (181285)
      I have to agree that since the iPhone is a consumer device it is much less suitable for business. A blackberry is a workhorse, doing what needs to be done in an efficient manner. Really, it is like the Mac before all the toy gizmos like Quicktime and iTunes became deeply integrated into the OS, or even existed for that matter. One could set up a Mac as a production machine, have it do exactly what you wanted to, and not have to worry about the staff misusing it as a toy. Frankly that was my issue with M
    • by theJML (911853)

      Maybe I'm weird, but I use my iPhone for business. After looking into and working with other's blackberries, I can honestly say that I want none of that Kool-Aid. the iPhone Just Works(tm). I not only get a full featured "I'm not stuck with mobile sites" browser, but RDP which is extremely useful, Fully Encrypted Cisco VPN, AIM/ICQ Which we use all day at work, IRC which the dev team uses, SSH and VNC which come in quite handy being that I'm a linux admin, as well as many other network tools, including buil

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Yeah, I'm sure you're quite happy with your iPhone. Sounds like a terrific tool. Are you an AT&T subscriber? I guess you are. Blackberry is available to all carriers. iPhone is restricted to AT&T at the moment. Hope that changes.

        I'm not saying anything about "blackberry vs. iphone" though. In fact, my original comment didn't even come close to talking about iphone. What I was commenting on was the culture of blackberry users. The users who use blackberry, do so because it does exactly what

      • I got all those apps free and can run them all at the same time. Go WinMo!
  • love podtrapper (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. X (17716) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:48PM (#28433139)
    I've been a PodTrapper user since this past January, and I have recently started looking into BlackBerry Development myself. As his write-up makes clear, Marcus at Versatile Monkey has to be one of the best developers I've had the pleasure with interacting with. I really appreciate the 'insider' view of developing for BlackBerry, and I'm sure his observations will be useful for my own pursuits.
    • by mgblst (80109)

      I have looked at getting into bb development as well, but it is just pure hell. I have an old 8700, I can't even find out if it can run application, and I can use it as a developer platform. There is no guide on the bb website to tell anyone this, going to this shitty bb page for the 8700 reveals no useful information.

      They have made it so painful I will not be going back, they can go fuck themselves. Useless fuckers can't even produce a simple document detailing what software you need.

  • Boil it Down (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:48PM (#28433145)

    I'm sorta cribbing from his summary, but I did RTFA...

    Pro:

    • Code in Java
    • No App Store
    • Got licensing DRM to work...
    • Web/press reviews were important to success
    • App World is Good Thing

    Con

    • Different platforms/versions
    • Very limited UI toolkit
    • Networking, particularly testing network reachability, seems overly complicated based on his description
    • Many BB devices are very resource constrained, and this a problem for many obvious and obscure reasons
    • Got licensing DRM to work, but is a hack and doesn't allow all the options author wanted
    • Not all retailers as good as App World

    Most important lesson IMHO: "Everything is marketing."

    His issues with the platform and the resources available on a BB really bring the differences with iPhone OSX and BB into relief. An iPhone is guaranteed to have a particular hardware config, and be very capacious in RAM and drive space, and has very teh shiny widgets and will always have the latest APIs; it also provides a brainless e-commerce platform to sell and install your app, to the point where buying a mobile app could be considered impulsive. You pay for all this with the fact that the Apple overmind decides if you can sell your app or not and takes its cut.

    • by BSDevil (301159)

      • Networking, particularly testing network reachability, seems overly complicated based on his description

      For that specific point, this is one of those features that doesn't make any sense to most developers, but is great if you're a very good BES admin. The idea, from that point of view, is that you have very fine control over how applications (and this includes internal RIM ones) connect to the network so that you can control costs that may arise from downloading large files. For example, you may set it so that you can only download software updates on WiFi or Serial Bypass, but that you can download high-pri

    • by arf_barf (639612)

      Every mobile platform has issues (even or especially the JesusPhone). Symbian has issues, WinMo has issues. It just a question your perseverance and if the target platform is willing to deal with you. WinMo is cheap to develop, but the manufacturers don't give you drivers to the nice hardware. Symbian is expensive and difficult, but Nokia has API for every piece of hardware they stick into their phones etc.

      As for Apple, well I joined the anti -apple cult...

    • by mgblst (80109)

      be very capacious in RAM

      Nope, maybe the new 3gS, but with the older versions you are not guaranteed anymore than 20mb. Try to use more than that and you will get memory warnings, depending on what apps you are running/have run in the past. (Some apple apps run in the background).

      And how the hell can lack of an app store be a pro??

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``An iPhone is guaranteed to have a particular hardware config,''

      Not anymore, now that there is more than one model. This "advantage" of iPhone will erode further over time as more models are released.

      ``and be very capacious in RAM and drive space,''

      I'll take your word for it. Of course, one day, iPhones, too will seem bitty. Then again, it baffles the mind why one would not just stick a bit of extra memory in a device, as a manufacturer. It's a cheap and easy way to make it better. You really don't want yo

  • Great article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:30PM (#28433551) Homepage Journal

    Great article so far. I'm only a fraction of the way through it but one part really caught my attention.

    RIM has all sorts of UI widgets they use in their first party applications -- rounded corners, sliding screen transitions, gradient list fields, etc. -- but they don't release any of that for use by third party developers. The results are apps with wildly inconsistent UIs, created by developers who had to spend considerable effort making them inconsistent.

    Say what you will about Apple, they really want developers to create great-looking apps that look at home on the iPhone, and they really do a good job of giving developers almost all the tools that they use themselves. (Same with OS X/XCode itself.) Someday an anthropology student will write a great tome on the different development communities and their relationships with the vendors: BeOS, Palm, Apple, MS...

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      Amazing, isn't it? How stupid do you have to be to provide a platform with many capabilities, and then allow developers to use only a subset of those capabilities, allowing them to write apps that look ugly and sort of work at best.

      And then a competitor comes along that tries to make the developing experience and the end result for third party apps as good as possible and takes your cake. Duh!

  • by rgelb1 (472797) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:54AM (#28435221) Homepage

    I actually have a free application on the BlackBerry App World called HP Printer Fun, which lets users mess with the LED screens on the HP Laser Jet printers (plus some inkjet ones too) for fun.

    I've written some other apps as well and the experience is not so great. My gripes are as follows:

    • Java is limited to an ancient version (e.g. no generics or other recent goodness)
    • Very weak debugging support (compared to say, Android)
    • When the emulator is running, your app is basically locked. In other words, you have to restart the emulator each time you make a change to the code - which takes 1-3 minutes depending on your config.
    • The looks of the IDE make Windows 3.1 seem modern.
    • No support for modern programming fonts, for instance Consolas

    On the other hand, the docs are pretty good. The support group at BlackBerry dev site is simple superb. Examples are plenty and the API just freaking makes a massive amount of sense. And for the adventurous, you could use a beta version (might be released by now) of an Eclipse plugin.

    • by ballwall (629887)

      If you were using RIM's JDE I feel for you. I definitely should have put this in the article:

      Anyone starting development should use the eclipse plugin. The RIM JDE is not an option for writing code. Unless you like writing in notepad.exe, and if that's the case I'd say stick with notepad.

      That said, the RIM JDE is the only way to really profile your app for both performance and memory, they haven't implemented those simulator features into eclipse (yet?).

      I end up using both. My major development and debuggin

      • by Octorian (14086)

        That said, the RIM JDE is the only way to really profile your app for both performance and memory, they haven't implemented those simulator features into eclipse (yet?).

        They have implemented those features in Eclipse, and they've been there for quite a while now. You just have to know where to find them. (basically some additional views you can open) So yes, you can do all the performance/memory profiling on the Debug perspective of Eclipse now. I also recommend looking into the BlackBerry Developer Conference coming up later this year. I went to it last year, and IMHO, it was a very positive experience.

Air is water with holes in it.

Working...