Author: Fabian M. Heuwieser

How to Write a BlackBerry Application – Lesson 3: Create shortcuts and more

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How to write a BlackBerry application – Lesson 3: Open a webpage, system-wide menu Item, adding an icon and yes/no dialog

This is lesson 3 in a series of BlackBerry application development lessons. These lessons are intended to bring someone with no experience in developing applications for BlackBerry, up to speed with the latest development techniques. It’s easier than you think so try it out!

Before starting, this lesson, make sure you have read Lesson 1 and Lesson 2.

1.      Go into the folder where your BlackBerry Lections.jdw file is
2.      Create a folder there called Lection 3
3.      Open up your JDE and open the Workspace called Lections.jdw
4.      Right-Click on Lections.jdw
5.      Select Create new Project
6.      Name the Project Lection_3 and save it to the Folder \Lection 3
7.      Copy the two files HelloWorld.java and Lesson3Screen.java into the \Lection 3 folder
8.      In the JDE right-click on Lection_3 and add the two files HelloWorld.java and Lesson3Screen.java into the project

Click through for Lesson 3 of Fabian’s BlackBerry development series

Improving the BlackBerry App World experience

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blackberry-app-world

On 1st April 2009, RIM started the Application Store AppWorld, following the lead of the already extremely successful AppStore Apple brought up about a year ago.

RIM announced the fact that they will start an Application Store at the Developer Conference in Santa Clara in October 2008. Since then a lot of Developers and Consumers were waiting for the day they would launch AppWorld. Finally on the 1st April 2009 it got released – but the name ‘AppWorld’ is already quite misleading: The word ‘World’ is not true since it only launched in UK, Canada and the USA at the beginning. Rumors float around that AppWorld will finally start in some countries of Europe in July 2009.

The fact that RIM has launched AppWorld is pleasant – but it leaks some serious functions. When compared to other on-device Application Stores you find that they are much superior then AppWorld.

Here is a list of functions RIM should include in a new Version of AppWorld:

  • Add a Bestseller List (There is just a Top 25 List but that is only ordered by downloads, not by sales)
  • Separate Paid and Free apps
  • Supports more payment options next to PayPal
  • Include a ‘More-Apps-From-This-Developer’-Link in the Application
  • Add a ‘New Software’-List (The user does not know when/where he can find new apps)
  • Add a ‘Updated Software’-List
  • Plug the Memory-Leak
  • Insert a Coupon Code function for Users (Coupon Codes are very attractive sale-accelerators)
  • Make it available all over the World
  • Create a Desktop-Version of AppWorld so that Users can buy from the PC
  • Add Themes to the List
  • Cut the $2.99 minimum Price Tag
  • ‘Push’ it to all BlackBerry Devices

I know RIM can do that! Let’s hope they bring out a new version with some of these features! RIM normally does a great job with their products. Why did you not work on a perfect version of AppWorld prior launching it?

This article was originally published on MobileUtil.

How to write a BlackBerry application – Lesson 2: Mail API, Invoke API, Menu

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How to write your second BlackBerry application – Lesson 2: Mail API, Invoke API, Menu

In the first tutorial you learned how to set up the BlackBerry JDK (Java Development Kit) and how to create a simple User Interface with Buttons, Labels and Edit Fields.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how one can program, create and compose email messages as well as how to add a MenuItem to your application.

1. You open up the JDE (Java Development Environment) and load your Workspace file. Go to File -> Recent Workspaces to load up the Lections.jdw file.
2. Now right-click on Lections.jdw and select Create new Project
3. Name it Lection_2
4. Now right-click on Lection_2 and select Add file to Project
5. Select both files HelloWorld.java and Lesson2Screen.java to import them into the project
6. You now have the project set up and are ready to jump into the code
Continue reading Lesson 2 of this BlackBerry development series

How to write your first BlackBerry application – Lesson 1: UI fields

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software development

This article is the first in a series of articles about BlackBerry development. With App World, third party software vendors and the web, there are a ton of opportunities for an independent developer to make money.

BlackBerry Development in Java – Lection 1: Basic fields in the User Interface

Let’s get right into it. Download the JDE (Java Development Environment) from the BlackBerry website. I personally used the JDE 4.3 for this project but you can also download a newer JDE. For advanced functions like using the BlackBerry Storm accelerometer or touch screen, you have to install JDE 4.7.

For advanced features and other APIs you may want to use, you need code-signing keys from RIM. You can purchase signing keys here. The keys cost $20 which is a bargain considering you can use the keys forever, and they’re going to help you make a great BlackBerry application. Make sure to read more about the keys because they’re an important part of BlackBerry development.

For this introductory application, you don’t need signature keys and the compiled *.cod file can be run on the device (and not only on the simulator).
  Continue reading this walkthrough for developing your first BlackBerry application

How to develop and market a 3rd party BlackBerry app

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BlackBerry developers conference
Image courtesy of Simon Sage

As a BlackBerry developer, I have my own ideas about what makes a great BlackBerry application. I took the time to develop a list of concepts that I believe are important in the development process.

1. The User Interface (UI)

It’s vital to choose an appealing and not too over-done and crowded user interface. For the user it is essential to know from only looking at the interface what he has to do and how he sets the options in the application. Give your fields, check boxes and radio buttons appropriate titles or subjects. Short, descriptive words are a must.

I have already seen some utility apps where the UI is awfully crowded in the main screen. You look at all the options and feel like de-installing it because you will never know what all those buttons and checkbox do. Match similar options and put them into a separate screen with an appropriate title. Think about the novice BlackBerry-user, they don’t know all those settings and what they will do when you select them.

Even though I talked about an appealing and nicely looking UI, you cannot compare the iPhone user interface of applications to the rather sober-looking interface of BlackBerry apps. The BlackBerry OS is not aimed at fancy looking UI-Applications; it keeps the business factor. Personally, I love it!
Continue reading a BlackBerry developer’s perspective on what makes a great app

A day in the life of a BlackBerry Storm power user

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BlackBerry Storm

It’s 7:40am and my BlackBerry wakes me up to, The Killers – ‘Mr Brightside,’ thanks to the BBSmart Alarms Pro application. I fiddle around to unplug my Storm from the charger, swipe it unlocked using StormSlider and open up Viigo via QuickLaunch. With one eye open and the other one closed, I tap on ‘News & RSS’; After another 15-second sleep the channels are all updated and I read the newest headlines from BlackBerryCool, BerryReview, CrackBerry and CNN World. I find an interesting article and send it to Twitter via Viigo. While flipping through emails on the BlackBerry, I see one that has to get forwarded to another recipient – using Forward with Edit. Now I can still edit the forwarded message and send the corrected version.

Still half sleeping, I open up TwitterBerry to read the latest replies and update my status to: “Still in bed, let’s start this day slowly!” Now, it’s time to get up. I hit the shower, place the BlackBerry somewhere next to me and launch BerryTunes. I love listening to music while showering.

Now I’m ready to go! BerryWeather gets launched to see how the weather is going to be today. It’s going to rain so I grab a coat. I can’t decide what color of coat to wear so I open up Coin Toss and let the application make the choice. While leaving I look at the paintings hanging on the wall and realize that something is not right. I whip out my BlackBerry Storm again, launch Storm Level Pro and hold it against the picture-frame. The app tells me the pictures hangs ‘-2’ to the left, so I quickly shift it in position and rush out.
Click through to keep reading about a day in the life of a BlackBerry Storm power user