BB10Jam – why attend a BlackBerry Conference 2012 ?

Next week there’s a BlackBerry developer conference in Orlando: BB10Jam

I was asked by some people: “ekke, why the hell are you spending time to attend a conference from BlackBerry ? Did you know that BlackBerry is dead ? …that BlackBerry will be take-over by yyy ? …that BlackBerry is old technology ? …

BlackBerry (RIM) is a company in-transition – this is never an easy process and you’ll hear more negative messages (from analysts) this year.

The “old” platform of BlackBerry native APP’s was based on Java ME plus libraries from RIM enhancing ME so you can build really great looking and deep integrated APP’s for BlackBerry (aka SuperApps). Last months many new BlackBerry 7 devices were announced and delivered by RIM – the last one just these days. So the old platform isn’t dead and will survive some more years – esp. with cheap devices in asia, africa etc. Remember: RIM is selling devices all around the world and still number one in many countries. There are not only new OS 7.x devices but also new software releases with new features.

But it’s clear: Java ME is old  and was not designed for modern smartphones and RIM is working on a new platform to survive and 2012 will be the first year where this new platform (named BB10) becomes true.

BB10Jam is a special conference for RIM’s next generation OS and was announced only some weeks ago. BB10Jam will be parallel to BlackBerry World – the annual conference for all BlackBerry Partners, Consumers, Enterprise IT …..

In February the BlackBerry PlayBook got a new OS 2 with long awaited apps like native Mail, Calendar etc. and also the Android Player. PlayBook OS 2 was the first step into direction of BB10 and all applications running on PlayBook should also run on BB10. BB10Jam conference will be the first conference focused only on BB10.

If you’re a mobile developer, then you always have to decide for which platform you want to develop APP’s and it depends from your customers if you have to support more then one platform. Next decision is if you want to use web technology (HTML 5, CSS) or if you prefer native APP’s. There are pros and cons – the good news:  BB10Jam is for all of you.

BB10 is based on QNX – a company RIM akquired some time ago. QNX is already running since long time worldwide in cars, sensible environments, cisco-router-farms, and much more. A really robust system. The only drawback for me as a long-time Java developer: there’s no JDK available for QNX yet. I’m sure in the future there’ll be a fork of OpenJDK or so – but it’s definitely not there yet.

The only way to run Java on BB10 is the Android Player. RIM did a really good job how the Android Player integrates Android APP’s into the PlayBook UI / UX. But you don’t have access to the BlackBerry Platform Services like Push, BBM etc from Android APP’s and this means for me – writing business apps – that this is not my way to go.

Fortunately there are many ways to develop software for BB10:

  • BlackBerry Native SDK – C/C++ with support for Open Source Libraries
  • HTML5 + WebWorks (enhance your web app with easy access to Platform Services and hardware features)
  • Cascades (UI Framework using Qt Core, QML and C++)
  • GameEngines (Marmalade, Unity, Scoreloop, OpenSource 3D GamePlay, …)
  • Adobe Flash – Air SDK
  • Open Source Projects (RIM and Open Source ? Yes, RIM is contributing to OSS – take a look at GitHub)
  • Android Runtime

For me the way to go is Cascades. Cascades is a UI Framework coming from TAT in sweden – also akquired by RIM. (In the meantime I couldn’t count the companies akquired by RIM 😉

Cascades is really cool, UI can be done declarative or in code or both, Cascades provides many ways to animate your App – they even have a workflow how a designer from Photoshop exports the artwork with one click, where the developer somply drags this into the QML Editor. Cascades is easy to program and to understand from Java developers.

Eclipse everywhere

The good news for me: BB10 is using Eclipse as IDE and runs on OSX, Windows and Linux !

…let’s take a look at my schedule for next week. The complete Session Catalog of BB 10 Jam is  here


If you arrive on Monday then you should attend:

BB03 – BlackBerry APPy Hour Tweetup

Apps ! Apps ! Apps ! You need a custom application ? looking for high qualified developers ? or only want to have some first discussions with other attendees from all around the world ?

The BlackBerry APPy Hour Tweetup is the perfect meeting point for you.

BlackBerry World Welcome Reception

On monday evening you can attend the BlackBerry World Welcome Reception. cu there for a first drink (or more) !


BlackBerry World General Session

First session is the General Session from BlackBerry World and I’m looking forward to see Thorsten Heins on stage. General Sessions at BlackBerry conferences will give you a great overview and usually is the time where new products or services will be announced. Let’s see what will happen this year …

BB10Jam Super Session

A special BlackBerry 10 Super Session focused on all around BB 10.

Get the hottest news from Alec Saunders and Chris Smith


Now a short overview of the sessions I choosed for my personal schedule – perhaps some will change on site.

DEV 175 – Creating Intelligent Applications Using BlackBerry 10

Users like intelligent apps, where it seems that the app know the next step the user wants to do. Learn how BB10 can help you to create intelligent apps. Also covered: splitting work between cloud and device.

COM 114 – Building Connected Apps with Cascades

Everyone today is connected to different platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and more. Learn how to use Cascades to easy connect, authorize, process and bind data.

DEV 153 – The Anatomy of a BlackBerry 10 App

Doesn’t matter what kind of App you’re building for BB10, you should know about projectstructure, packaging, lifecycle, sandbox and more.

BlackBerry Party

In the evening / night it’s time for the BlackBerry Party at Universal Studios with The Martinez Brothers and other awesome DJs behind the decks.


DEV 108 – LAB 201: Advanced Cascades

There’s also another Lab to learn the fundamentals of Cascades development. I had the great chance already to work with Cascades so I’ll only attend the Advanced-Lab. If you’re new to Cascades you should attend both. There are 2 timeslots, but you should make your reservation soon to get a seat.

In this Lab you’ll dig deep into Cascades, Core UI Components, Platform Services, Databases and more.

COM 109 – Deploying the Blaq App and the Road to BlackBerry 10

Blaq is my number-one application on my PlayBook. For me this is the best Twitter client I ever used on all my platforms/devices (OSX, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry Smartphones, BlackBerry PlayBook). Jerome Carty is a real great developer–  I met him last year at BBM Hackathon in San Francisco.

COM 111 – Ready-to-Go BlackBerry 10 UI Metaphors

Your application should look great and flow well ? Learn about some outstanding UI metaphors.

DEV 120 – Developing NFC Applications for BlackBerry 10

NFC is already available on BlackBerry 7 Devives and also new Android or Nokia Devices. BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Curve 9360 are worlds first smartphones certified by MasterCard. There are many use-cases for NFC – not only paying-tickets etc. I’m already using NFC in business apps and now I want to learn how NFC is supported on BB 10.

DEV 167 – Advanced UI Frameworks Using Cascades

Cascades is cool, but if you’re developing apps with a great unique UX you always want to create your own UI elements. Learn how ro create Custom Controls and how to use WebView, ForeignWindow and mor from C++ and QML.

DEV 132 – Location Based Services and Sensors – Adding Location Sense to Your App

LocationBasedServices (LBS) are essential for my APPs and my customers. Great to know that LBS will be supported by BB 10.

BB10Jam Party

Meet all your fellow developers for networking and collaboration at the BB10Jam Party.

Let’s Jam together after a second day full with new stuff.


Unconference Day

Thursday is a special day – the Unconference Day. The BlackBerry Developer Community had the chance to vote for sessions. There will also be some round-tables etc.

This day will be a great opportunity to learn from others and to tell BlackBerry what developers need to create great apps or to easy deploy or or or….

Developer Alpha Device BB10 Smartphone

All attendees of BB10Jam will get a first BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Device. This will not be the upcoming next-generation BB 10 SmartPhone coming later this year. But this Alpha device enables developers to develop BB 10 applications for the screen sizes and density of the first BB 10 Devices. This conference is the only chance to get such a device. So come on….

Win 25K USD to see your favorite bands live

RIM has some cool ideas to motivate developers: One challenge (together with AppCircus) provides 3 great prices ! Each of the 3 winners will get 25K $. You have to spend this money together with friends, family … to see your favorite bands worldwide live 🙂 Choose city and concert you prefer and get tickets and travel.

You have to bring your app to the conference and convert to BBM – with some help from BlackBerry experts.

Unfortunately the categories (WebWorks, Adobe Air, Native Games) didn’t cover my category (port Java Apps to Cascades), so I couldn’t attend 😦

Would be no problem for me to spend 25K $ to hear my favorite bands 😉 …so I wish my fellow developers much luck.

Bring your Android App to BB10

If you’re an Android Developer and need some help to deploy your App to BlackBerry – there’s help available on-site – look around to find the APP Express.

Win a trip to BB10 Jam

Also a great idea: Every 100th new Application deployed to AppWorld could win a trip to BB10  Jam (international flight to Orlando, conference pass, hotel and some $$). There were already 6 lucky winners.


not enough ?

the agenda above is my personal schedule, but there’s much more…

You’re a jQuery developer ?

BB10Jam is for you: there’s a full-day training on thursday and COM117 – Rapid Development with jQuery Mobile

You’re a PhonGap / Apache Cordova developer ?

BB10 Jam is for you: DEV141 – Port to BlackBerry using Apache Cordova

You like to use Javascript Libraries ?

There are so many JavaScript Libraries on the market and you can use them with BB10.

There are some specific sessions and a Panel: DEV138 (Sencha Touch, Dojo Mobile, jQuery Mobile)

You’re a Qt developer ?

BB10Jam is for you: COM101 – The Ease of Porting a Qt Application to BB10

You’re a Designer ?

BB10Jam is for you: DEV178 – The Importance of Designer-Developer Collaboration: Cascades Tools that can help

You’re a Marmalade Game Developer ?

BB10Jam is for you: COM104 – Crossplatform-Development on BB10 with Marmalade SDK

You like Open Source ?

From day to day more Open Source Projects at GitHub from BlackBerry. Don’t miss Eduardo Pelegri‘s session at BB10JAM: DEV109 – All you need to know about Open Source and to use it in BB10 Applications


there are more sessions about Platform Services, HTML5, WebWorks, Open Source, Multimedia, Android, Camera, VoIP, Open GL, …..

The Vision

BB10 (based on QNX) will become a powerful platform for developers writing all kinds of apps: Games, Consumer, Enterprise, Government or hacking with some Open Source Projects. QNX is also running in cars -there was a concept car presented at MWC in Barcelona.

Do you really believe, this is a “dead” company from last decade without a vision ?

I’m an independent software architect, no big company or sponsor behind me and I have to live from my work . Do you think I would spend my worthful time with a ‘dead’ company ? …or developing solutions for customers using a platform not surviving next years ?

So many highly motivated employees working for the vision at RIM – I met many at conferences, hackathons and more. Together with the new german CIO Thorsten Heins and great Alec Saunders – and so many akquired companies with many young enthusiastic developers – ongoing restructuring … RIM is on a good way.

RIM has learned from mistakes in the past, and is learning new every day, sometimes too slow but over all there’s a movement into the right direction.

BTW: there’s so much other cool stuff like BlackBerry Fusion (Manage Devices from Android, iOS and BlackBerry together), BlackBerry Balance (use ONE smartphone for private and secure business data), …

RIM isn’t dead – RIM is more alive then ever 🙂

this was a long blog about a short conference of only 3 days and there would be much more to tell you about mobile development with BB10. stay tuned… I will write some more blogs after the conference, write some (german) articles or you’ll find me as a speaker at your favorite conference 😉

2 responses

  1. Great article Ekke. I’m pretty excited following you during bb10jam for all the news and stuff. Keep it up and have tons of fun @ BB10Jam.

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