Blackberry Playbook SDK development experience on a Translator App Print
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As most of you know, for its Playbook release Blackberry was giving away free Playbook devices for any qualified application submitted before March 31, 2011. As I never developed mobile application before I thought it was a good opportunity to build one.

When developing an application for Playbook, you’ve got 2 choices “Abode AIR” (Flash platform) or “Webworks” (Web platform). I personally think than web-based application is the future as it is the fastest way to develop an app for many devices and I don’t even talk about QA and Support...

So I started to setup my Blackberry Webworks environment. I was pretty easy to set up. Only bad thing is that VMware is required to run the Playbook Simulator and as a MacOS developer, VMware Fusion is not free… I tried to find other alternatives but it was pretty much a waste of time.

Good point is the blackberry community developer. Obviously Blackberry put big effort in having a very active community. So it is pretty enjoyable when you have no experience in mobile application development! I think that the free Playbook offer was also part of the reason why this community was so active. But everything was not 100% functionnal. I digged a bit in a way to licence my application but i soon realized that BlackBerry was still working on that. By the time you read this newbie article, i’m pretty sure it is fixed.

Soon I got stock on the User Interface. I have basically no experience in developing nice User Interface. After looking around, I found JQuery Mobile. It was still the beta version when I developed my app but it was pretty stable and I have got to say that JQuery Mobile is very powerful. It includes CSS whit different themes, JavaScript functions that totally handle the tactile experience of tablets.

After a very fast learning curve, I came up with a pretty nice application. I have to that developing as web-based application with Jquery Mobile is something pretty easy and very efficient.

Last thing was to submit the application to Blackberry…  Actually, I still don’t have any answer but the process really really sucks. Instead of an explanation, I’ll just show you the schema process.

That’s all about my Playbook experience, I hope that you find it interesting. If you want to see the results, go check out my Translator App. Next article, I’ll tell you about how painfull it is going to be to handle support and bad review !

Fabrice Aissah