Ottawa Developers Talk BlackBerry Development Experience and RIM

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ice sculpture
An ice sculpture of a BlackBerry at Ottawa’s Winterlude.

RIM has been catching a lot of negative press lately and it’s interesting to see what Ottawans have to say about it considering the city is home to a lot of RIM employees and some development studios that have experience with BlackBerry. It’s one thing to hear what analysts have to say, but it’s another to actually talk to developers and people who are building businesses on the platform.

Generally, it seems the developer tools are both a blessing and a headache. The tools are creating a barrier to entry which has a negative impact on RIM’s ability to attract new developers, but it’s creating big opportunities for those who know how to use them as it’s sheltering their business from new competitors. RIM is definitely working on a new set of tools and how the company executes could result in a big influx of new developers.

Click through to read about what some developers are saying about the platform.

“Working with RIM is good. They offer a big client base … but that being said, there has been a level of complacency. One of the biggest challenges is that the developer tools are very far behind most of the other platforms, especially Apple. I think this is something they’ve acknowledged; there’s a big deficiency there.”
Adam McNamara, Co-Founder of Select Start Studios

Brian Hurley, Purple Forge points out that RIM needs to address: the different versions for different BlackBerry models, the extra lines of code needed to deal with BlackBerry’s security requirements, and the long response time developers get when asking RIM for help.

“If you have the patience and the knowledge and the expertise to do this, the nice thing about the BlackBerry market is that it is not very crowded.”
Paul Dumais, former RIM, now founder of Smarter-Apps

“My experience with RIM is they’re often attacked. But they’re really strong, and have strong momentum as a company, and they know what they’re up to. But they’re not good at communicating and marketing. That’s the traditional Canadian way.”
John Criswick, CEO Magmic

Also worth noting is Frederic Boulanger of Ottawa/Gatineau’s Macadamian development studio.

“Things that are slowing things down to protect you instead of accelerating things to grab more market share. I say 1)gut the overhead, and the red-tape that has been put in place over the last 5years. 2)It’s time to go back to first principles of product creation: a)explore&observe, b)work really hard on things that matter, c)test out the prototypes, then go back to a) Design: Design is how it works, it has to be in activity Some companies like apple are great at design.”

  • Colin

    I’d have to question Mr. Criswick’s comment about RIM having ‘strong momentum as a company’. 

  • Colin

    I’d have to question Mr. Criswick’s comment about RIM having ‘strong momentum as a company’.