Unlike developing iPhone apps, there are 2 different ways of BlackBerry application development – by using the Java Development Environment (JDE) or RIM’s MDS. Which you select depends upon what sort of app you’re trying  to develop.

If you want to create an app that will run independently of a BlackBerry solution – whether that’s a BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) or BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server), a Java app will give you a much richer experience. If you need your app to interact with email, the interebt or any other internet-based service, you’ll need som e sort of BlackBerry back-end to assist it operate. For this, you’re beter off using MDS to develop your app.

 

Java-based applications

BlackBerry’s Java Development Environment (JDE) is not a mobile version of Java– vice versa. RIM’s BlackBerry JDE consists of access to lots of enterprise features that are made use of for desktop and server application development, so you have more freedom when developing and coding.

In addition to this, RIM has actually also included numerous essential Java standards into its MDS, meanings that developers can build location-based apps with access to GPS hardware. There is also the option to include accessibility and internationalisation options, in addition to multimedia using the BlackBerry Media player. And if that’s inadequate, you can also write apps that run in the background, in addition to ones that take advantage of BlackBerry’s push server.

Another cool feature of the BlackBerry MDS is that you can use it to personalise your handset. For example, the most recent developer tools now permit you to produce animated backgrounds, new icons and typefaces for your BlackBerry device– it does not always have to be about business after all!

BlackBerry also has a successful online developer community where you can acquire all the tools, recommendations and information you’ll ever need. In other words, you can constantly find what you’re looking for within the community and, in this context, it’s an important reference tool for both novices and pros alike.

RIM includes the following BlackBerry application-development tools for establishing software for mobile phones:

  • Development Environment
  • MDS Studio Rapid-Application-Development tool
  • Eclipse

 

All the above tools, as well as documentation, sample code and support online forums, are free when you register to the BlackBerry developer website. Following registration, developers can begin downloading any part of the BlackBerry development software, which is completely supported for BlackBerry 4.0 OS onwards.

The BlackBerry JDE is the core development tool for BlackBerry applications and, while it is a substantial download, users are also recommended to make sure that they are running the most recent version of Sun’s Java SDK. When the JDE is downloaded, developers can work in a familiar environment, featuring both a text editor and access to online documentation.

That said, there’s no UI design tool, so developers are reminded to monitor any UI elements in their application and to use the integrated simulator to test the look and feel of their creation before finalisation.

In addition to this, RIM also provides an entire host of sample code to get the innovative juices flowing– examples include GPS and multimedia applications. Fortunately, if you want to develop for the Storm, with its accelerometer, then you’ll need to download the most recent version of JDE, which will offer you full support for the latest devices that use BlackBerry OS 5.0.

RIM acknowledges the appeal of Eclipse and this is the factor it has launched its first public beta version of an Eclipse development plug-in. The addition of the Eclipse plug-in means that developers can build and test end-to-end Java apps from the server to the handset.

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