enterprise + mobile dev: news from BlackBerry DevCon 2010

as I blogged some weeks ago, recently I started to integrate mobile devices (BlackBerry) into enterprise business applications (Equinox OSGI Riena) so I attended BlackBerry DevCon 2010 in San Francisco:

I already compared my experiences to attend developer conferences like EclipseCon and DevCon here.

More and more developers are developing mobile applications or have to integrate mobile apps into enterprise apps and most blogs are about iPhone or Android.

But there’s also BlackBerry with an Eclipse IDE to develop Java or Web applications and RIM is working to lower the barriers. Here are some news if you’re thinking about BlackBerry mobile development or if you have to support devices from different vendors / with different OS.

Welcome RIM to the Open Source World !

There’s not only the BlackBerry Eclipse PlugIn for Java Development, but also for Web Development and starting from OS6 RIM switched to WebKit as Browser Rendering engine.

Also RIM decides to make Web Development Open Source and put WebWorks on GitHub:

thats not the only step into Open Source. As I started with BlackBerry Development some months ago I noticed the lack of Open Source Projects around BlackBerry.

At the DevCon conference RIM announced that first time RIM supports an Open Source project:

these are really good news – from my POV Open Source Projects are making a platform more attractive for developers.

hopefully these were only the first steps and more will follow.

FREE entry to BlackBerry App World +pay + ad + analytics

App stores are the key for success and so it’s a positive signal to developers, that RIM cuts the costs🙂

previously you had to pay 200 USD as entry fee which allows you to deploy 10 applications or updates to the BlackBerry App World.

Now its free for Vendors and also free to publish Apps.

Also different to others: you can not only sell native (JAVA) Apps through BlackBerry AppWorld, but also Web Apps and Themes.

You can download a new Payment Service SDK – this makes it easy for developers to support different models: subscriptions, pay-per-feature, pay-per-use, try-and-buy and more – for the user its always the same: he/she can select if payment using PayPal, CreditCard or Carrier Bill. There’s no difference for developers: you always get 70%.

You don’t want to sell your Apps, but get revenue from Advertising ? the new Advertising Service helps you: only 3 lines of code:

//Create a banner object by passing it my application placement ID and null as we are not leveraging metadata.
Banner bannerAd = new Banner(MY_APID, null);
//Sets the size of the banner ad that specified in the bannerSize integer value.
bannerAd.setMMASize(Banner.MMA_SIZE_AUTO);
//Adds the banner ad to the screen
add(bannerAd);

and you’re connected to the advertising network🙂

whats your revenue ? always 60% for you. there’s metadata allowing you to define what kind of advertising you like (or dislike) to integrate.

Here you can register for the Advertising Service.

You would like to know which Screens or Buttons or…. the user visited in your App ? there’s also a new Analytics Service (FREE for developers) available first half of 2011.

Some more informations with screenshots from the BlackBerry Developer Blog here.

So it’s no risk and no fees to pay to enter BlackBerry App World because all is free for developers.

OSX Development

As you perhaps know at the moment you have to use Eclipse on Windows to develop BlackBerry Java Apps.

At DevCon the EclipsePlugIn running on OSX was demonstrated and you can download a tech preview from here.

as this was announced at ‘Global Sessions’ there was a big applause.

but unfortunately the tech preview is useless – at least for me: No Simulators on OSX and only debugging tethering to Torch 9800 (not available in germany as today)

so hopefully BlackBerry EclipsePlugIn will run 100% on OSX soon and hopefully Eclipse 3.6 will be supported – at the moment BlackBerry runs on the ‘old’ 3.5 – a shorter release cycle would be great.

BEAM: Easier to connect Mobile to Enterprise

Developing business apps for the mobile world always means that there’s not only the App on the Device – you also have to support the Server Site, which means you write your own server or you need access to Enterprise Apps like SAP.

It’s not a trivial task to access Enterprise Apps and to ease this development RIM announced BEAM – BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware:

BEAM will make it easier and transparent for the mobile app developer: you work with Services / Libraries provided by companies like SAP, Oracle, IBM: all of them demonstrated how they’ll use it.

The SDK isn’t available yet, but you can register here.

BBM: BlackBerry Messenger

And another new SDK to integrate the BlackBerry Messenger.

This could be interesting for consumer apps and also business apps. Currently there are 28 mio active BBM users worldwide and using the SDK you can integrate the Messenger completely into your App. You can customize the look-and-feel and use it in your CRM App for your customer support or inside gaming apps for the community chats and more. If you need real-time instant messaging insite your App perhaps the SDK helps you.

The SDK isn’t available yet to download, but you can register here.

OS 6

Many sessions from DevCon are all around the new OS6, where RIM provides more UI elements (Fields, Manager, …)  to ease the development of really good looking applications.

There are also some new things like the Command Framework, Browser Field (WebKit), and more features for the MapField: per ex. to display more then one maps – perhaps linked together with different zoom level.

If you’re new to BlackBerry: BlackBerry provides an own Map and you can invoke the native Map App or you can integrate the BB Map as MapField.  it would be too much to talk about all new features provided by OS6 in this blog – an overview can be found here.

TabletOS

RIM announced the new ‘PlayBook’ a Tablet running POSIX OS (QNX Neutrino). the PlayBook is scheduled for first quarter of 2011 and you can already register for the SDK.

TabletOS will support Java, WebWorks, Flash, Adobe Air to develop and run Applications. The PlayBook is integrated into BlackBerry infrastructure with all Enterprise features, but also targeted for consumers.

for me the key to have success is making the RIM Java APIs available for the PlayBook to have an easy way for the existing developers to migrate – on the other site it would be great to add Java SE.

DevCon Sessions

if you want to take a look behind the curtains what happened at DevCon sessions this is easy, because the access to all session – slides  now is open and free for all – you only have to register at BlackBerry Developer Zone to get access.

if you want to get access to the recorded audio and video and sample code and you didn’t attend the DevCon you have to pay 19.99 USD to enter DevCon on Demand, which is a fair price for informations with high quality audio, transcripts etc.

summary

BlackBerry provides many SDK’s to help you to develop Business Applications and also to monetize your development.

There are some features like BlackBerry Push Services unique to BlackBerry and you can integrate your Apps very deep into the native BB apps (Contacts, Messenger, Mail, Calendar, Browser, Map…)

If you have to develop for more then one platform then it’s not easy to provide Apps for users of each platform. (see also Heiko Behrens blog.) In the next months I’ll demonstrate some ways how I want to solve this in my projects.

really good news are: as a developer you can use your Eclipse to develop the applications and you get all SDKs for free from RIM, then you can publish and sell through the AppWorld with no entry fee. If you’re new to BB Development you only need the signature keys for 20 USD to get started.

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Meet me:

… at Eclipse Summit there’s a Mobile Development Symposium – come and discuss about mobile development.

I’ll also talk about my experiences with BlackBerry Eclipse Development at

Eclipse Democamps 2010 November:

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One response

  1. The apps such as BBM is a useful tool to phone users. Since it’s free to communicate via text between blackberry users, there’s been an apps for iphone users similar to this tool as well. Smartphones become a trend these days forcing conventional mobile phone makers such as Nokia, Motorola, SE and etc to crack their heads. The competition smartphone and gadgets is getting stiff as more and more brands are coming out with their own version of tablet pcs, phones etc.

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