PlayBook Development May Be Easy But It Can Be Easier


sprint playbook

We’ve been reading a lot about Jamie Murai’s PlayBook post entitled “You Win, RIM! (An Open Letter To RIM’s Developer Relations)”. The post garnered a lot of attention by Apple news and Silicon Valley watch sites such as Daring Fireball and Techmeme respectively. The post has also garnered a lot of negative attention by BlackBerry fans who like to point out the inaccuracies in the post and call him an “Apple Fanboy”.

Here we have a young iOS developer who was genuinely interested in PlayBook development but got annoyed with the way RIM has set up the PlayBook dev tools. Also, it doesn’t make sense to spread blame between RIM and Adobe, because in the end it’s RIM’s product. There are a few headaches which the post points out which are difficult to argue:

1. The PlayBook SDK, AIR SDK and beta Simulator do not always work well together. Even members in RIM’s support forums have had to reinstall the beta simulator 3 times to get it working.

2. The Simulator password, separate IP address and command line for deploying an app are cumbersome. We’ve spoken to developers who have written their own scripts for app deployment because the strings are so long.

3. The ending quote makes a lot of sense: “You need to make your tools AT LEAST as good as Apple’s or Google’s, if not more so.” RIM gets nothing but laughed at in Silicon Valley and if you want to get their attention, it’s the small iOS devs that you want to chip away at and get them interested in your product. Convoluted dev tools are not going to get you there.

Check out the article over at Murai’s blog and let us know what you think.

  • Anonymous

    your article doesn’t make sense. if he’s “genuinely interested” then why are blackberry fans able to point out inaccuracies in his posts?

  • roc

    I read the article and half way through I had to stop because I couldn’t tell if the writer was a baby or someone who had actually had some real concern. I am a big BlackBerry fan and no I am not a business user I am simply a student who yes….thinks BlackBerry is cool (I know shocker). RIM nor its BlackBerry devices are not perfect much the same way Iphone and Android OS isn’t perfect. What some times makes me upset with reading all the blogs is the over stating and pointing out of BlackBerry imperfections but never pointing out the Iphone nor the Android OS. I’m sure this so call developer that REALLY tried to make a PlayBook app has some points…..only difference is people seem to want to pick on RIM every opportunity they get. You don’t have to look very hard to understand Iphone is loved by consumers and I get it Iphone is the consumer king and BlackBerry is business king ( at least that’s who the blogs would have you believe). The phone was designed for the a consumers and the media has ate it up. That’s not to take away from the fact it did change the mobile industry. But all I ask is blogs also stop pretending like they are fair minded tech bloggers and we should eat everything they say. Iphone and Android have their faults only problem is no blog ever seems to point it out. BlackBerry is a great platform and will continue to improve as will others but stop with the over killing of BlackBerry and RIM cause its getting old and doesn’t make sense when the company keeps adding more subscribers and earning more every year. So to this devloper I say if BlackBerry platform requires too much effort for you that’s unfortunate and I would advice you keep to those that work. But believe others who are truly are in the art of making apps for consumers regardless of the platform will always make sure they get their product out there. For the tech blogs I ask please stop with the over killing of RIM and understand choice is good. I don’t think any one wants a world of just RIM, Iphone, or Android because we all don’t have the same taste.

  • Kyle McInnes

    I totally agree that blogs and the general media are way more critical of RIM than Google or Apple. There are only a handful of negative stories that come up consistently with Apple (mostly closed ecosystem complaints) and not many negative Android stories come to mind. Regardless, I think the criticism will push them to be better. At least it should.

  • Bob

    I’m struggling to understand how Playbook development could be any easier. Unlike the asinine Objective C/Mac only development model, Playbook development is largely done using web development methods any developer knows, using the development tools they already know, on whatever operating system they already use.

    Want to develop for iOS? You basically need to buy a new computer.

  • biggerCC

    Jamie was clever enough not to allow comments on his article…
    Some points he mentioned really impact development to a certain degree, but in general the PlayBook is a great platform to develop for. I never did Flash/ActionScript before and had my first app running in the emulator within 3 hours or so.

    He’s right: it’s not that drag’n'drop and click’n'run expierence Apple delivers, but I am pretty happy about this fact. Because of that I’m not tied to a certain platform or development tools.

  • Matthias Marquardt

    What’s the key point? IMHO the enormous growing speed of RIM is the root of the inconsistency in the development tools RIM can offer.

    For me it’s not important if some points of the blog post by Jamie are incorrect (or not) at the bottom line developing for BlackBerry can be a very hard and frustrating adventure for many many reasons.

    I might be also incorrect here but how many different choices (concerning the IDE & tools) you have when you want to start to develop for the iOS? - It’s one Package Xcode (which will also include all Sims) - yes you need a Mac (which can become the biggest problem as already mentioned)… When you want to develop for Android: What do you need? - one Eclipse Installation + the Plugin Package that can be installed and used like everything else in the Eclipse world.

    OK - now start to Develop an Application for RIM - first question depends on for what you like to develop? You have the “choice” between the WebTools, the ThemeTools, the RIM’s own Java IDE, the Eclipse Plugin(s) for JavaDevelopment - almost hundredths of different Simulators (which run or might/might not run on Windows7/Mac and which which you sometimes can - and sometimes can’t do/test certain functions of the device) - and now there are the different packages for the PlayBook.

    For sure I understand that QNX is a total different OS/world (and I have watched several tutorial videos “how to develop QNX apps” (with all that VM & remote debugging features - which are in generally great)…

    IMHO RIM want’s to play on all different fields - TabletApps - Their own JavaVM Apps - and to be some sort of cross platform able - the WebApps. And they want to do all on their own - unfortunately (cause of the rapid grow?) the resources are limited and so the different internal dev teams have to make compromises (in order to comply with the requirements of the management).

    So if RIM would give them self way more time to work on the right integration of development tools then they miss the opportunity on the market. The management have decided that they don’t like to miss this opportunity and decided to miss something else - the developers.

    I am developing BlackBerry applications for some time (a bit more then two years) and there was not a single week where a certain aspect of the API, the Dev Tool or the real Device have caused some headache to me (and I am not talking about “Documentation” or “Support” - file a Issue in RIMs Jira - that’s big “fun”) - yes - sure you might like to argue that I am too stupid or way to German (which both could be true)…

    Since month I am waiting for an official statement by RIM if the JavaVM of the PlayBook will support the JavaApps that have been written for the BlackBerry Smartphones… After all the hard time RIM have gave me to develop for BlackBerry Smartphones it looks like that I have to throw away all my knowledge/experience (and code that I had to create) and start from the scratch? RIM are you really asking me to do so?

    I am really feel like a fool that I wasted my time with BlackBerry development over the last to years (even if that gave me the opportunity to get in contact with great people like you Kyle). And that I did not instantly started to work on Android apps - reading now rumors that the PlayBook might be able to run Android aps is more than a slap into my face.

    Again even if I am able to understand the reasons why RIM have opened this Zoo of DevTools and DevEnviroments - I (as single independent developer) are almost feed up with it - as an iPad owner I anyhow do not have a single clue how it could come to anybodies mind that RIM is in a position where they could start to attack - oh sorry - I forgot - YES the PlayBook can do Flash!! - WoW! - I am impressed - let me think when I have missed Flash the last time while I was using the iPad… probably that will take a while.

    Don’t get me wrong - I (still) like my BlackBerry - and I still enjoy developing for it as my hobby - I am in the lucky position that my business does not depend on this activities (FileScout, Iconify, LittleBrother and others). But developing now for the PlayBook based on the AdobeSDK’s - sorry RIM - NO WAY!

    If I am going back to the start (and have to learn everything from the scratch again) then it will be for sure something different the AIR.

  • YouAintTheHost

    I too had my environment up rather quickly… And to tell the truth, I found the command line compiling and deployment easier than using the Eclipse Plugin.

  • Wow

    If you think running Flash is the only advantage the Playbook has over the iPad then maybe you really shouldn’t be looking to develop for one in the first place.

  • Tamal Mukherjee

    IF PB supports Android apps (Dalvik VM?), who cares RIM APIs or Adobe AIR?

  • Dren

    I didn’t think that the apps development world had DOLTS like you. I sincerely feel sorry for RIM to have idiots like you advocating for them. You certainly sound to be the quintessential ignoramus that speaks and/ or posts for the sake of being heard but with nothing to say and/or incomprehensible. What are you - a kindergarten drop-out?