Photo by @DamianMcCabe
The BlackBerry Developer Days have been going on across North America and they’re a chance for developers to attend and learn more about the BlackBerry platform. I attended the event in Toronto as a developer and media weren’t allowed to attend. Therefore, I can’t write about my own experience. But what I can do is interview my friends in attendance and ask them what they thought. Sweet loophole, bro.
“I found the BlackBerry developer day to be informative and certainly a good one-day introduction to the various aspects of developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook. While a lot of that information is available online, so is the information in textbooks but people still go to class. Having a developer day gives people a focused day to think about PlayBook development and speak with the experts in the field. With the expansion of the BlackBerry partners programs, it’s not always easy to speak face-to-face with the Alliances team so having them come out to regular events really helps evangelize BlackBerry development and lets developers of all walks of life see what a great team they have. I wish more of the team had come (especially since it was in Toronto).
A lot of the info may be old news to veteran BlackBerry developers but I talked to a number of developers today that don’t even have BlackBerry apps yet so the information was great for them. One guy that was an Adobe AIR developer but hadn’t done too much with PlayBook yet wrote an app during the sessions and was getting it uploaded to meet the midnight deadline for a free PlayBook. That’s pretty cool.
I only made it to the second half of the day as I was speaking at Mobile App Madness in the morning but the technical walk-throughs for PlayBook AIR development in the afternoon were good for me to get a better understanding of how the PlayBook coding works and looks. It was great that they gave out a USB stick with the presentations on it as well as it’s great reference material to pass around.”
UPDATE: The slides we received were actually not redacted and just contained formatting issues we corrected on another computer.
A lot of the information at #BBDevDay was off the record, specifically about OS 6.1, because it hasn’t been made official to the media by RIM. We’ve seen all the information before as slides were “leaked” from DevCon Asia. Don’t you think RIM should just make this public to devs somehow and save them spending a day watching a slide presentation that’s already available on the blogs?
I also talked to our old friend Fabian who said he enjoyed the stats, PlayBook session, and said while the afternoon may not have been as productive, the morning sessions were a must-attend for any BlackBerry developer. He also mentioned that there were “loads of questions” being asked and that he found the experience particularly valuable because he had a few of his own questions answered. He also talked a lot about how excited he is about the PlayBook and got a sweet hands-on.
From listening to other developers, it sounds like the most valuable part of this experience is two fold: getting a roundup of information presented and getting questions answered. In light of this, I suggest RIM rethink the way they do the BlackBerry Developer Days and structure them more like the BlackBerry Ask-the-Experts they have at their DevCon conferences.
The way it would work is sort of like a hack day. You bring your projects to the event and your questions. RIM would have terminals set up with the latest developer tools such as simulators and development environments and for an entire day you have access to a team of specialists to help work you through a particular problem or enlighten you about a particular API/service. This way, RIM can address the hundreds of unique questions that developers have, while saving them from listening to the information they already know. At the end of the day, you will have moved forward on your project and you can spend the rest of the night talking about what you learned and share what you’re working on with others at the event.
Oh and FYI, RIM never said iOS apps would be on the PlayBook at the Developer Day in Toronto. It’s just our April Fool’s Day post. But who knows? It’s not that far-fetched.