At its BlackBerry Developer Conference, Research In Motion launches a new Web application platform along with several other new initiatives.
its BlackBerry Developer Conference
2010 (DEVCON 2010), Research In Motion demonstrated how the company is
pushing its momentum with developers by providing a new Web application
platform, simplifying enterprise app development, launching both new analytics
and advertising services, as well as opening up its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)
social platform to developers.
an interview with eWEEK, Paxton Cooper, senior director of platform product
management at RIM, said the company is continuing to better enable its
developers to more easily and effectively deliver apps for the 50 million
BlackBerry users the company claims as customers.
are building on our existing momentum in the developer community to build apps
more rapidly and to monetize them like never before," Cooper said. "We've
got new tools, a new BlackBerry WebWorks platform, new commercial services and
other new initiatives that are all about making it easier for developers to establish
and build on that connection with our customer base."
said perhaps the biggest news, or the news he is "most excited about,"
coming out of the event being held in San Francisco
Sept. 27-30 "is the evolution of our Web platform."
said the new BlackBerry WebWorks app platform merges the simplicity of HTML5
with the power of BlackBerry services, true multitasking, true push technology
and more. The next-generation Web-based development platform enables Web
developers to build full-featured applications for BlackBerry smartphones
the new Web application platform, developers can leverage their HTML skills to
create rich, integrated Web applications for BlackBerry smartphones that take
advantage of advanced features through APIs and services, just as BlackBerry
Java applications can do today.
The new BlackBerry WebWorks platform brings together existing BlackBerry Web
development tools as well as new tools and platform services, Cooper said. It
provides developers with a comprehensive toolset for creating rich applications
that offer customers the benefits of deep integration with core BlackBerry
features, true multitasking, push technology and access to the full range of
BlackBerry services, such as the Locate service or the newly announced
BlackBerry Advertising Service.
"BlackBerry developers have discovered the value of building Web
applications that can leverage the unique characteristics of the BlackBerry
Platform, such as running in always-on mode and integrating with native
BlackBerry applications," said David Yach, chief technology officer for
software at RIM, in a statement. "The new BlackBerry WebWorks platform
takes the power of existing Web tools and enhances and adds to them in order to
allow developers to build sophisticated applications using their existing HTML5
skill sets with no compromise in functionality or performance."
BlackBerry WebWorks also includes updates to the Web application packager,
new Web APIs and the BlackBerry Web Plug-Ins 2.5. The Web application packager
1.5is used by developers to package their Web applications in the
same way a BlackBerry Java application is packaged, and with the same file
formats. BlackBerry Web applications can then be distributed via BlackBerry App
World, BlackBerry Desktop Manager, OTA (over-the-air) or BlackBerry Enterprise
Moreover, BlackBerry WebWorks includes a set of new Web extensions that
enable a deeper integration with native applications and other functions of the
handset, Cooper said. This means developers have the ability to create apps
that allow users to send a text message from within the application; read call
log data from the phone application, check if the phone is currently in an
active call, and check the number of missed calls; and play an audio file
as well as create APIs for playing, pausing, stopping and seeking of the audio
file from within the application's UI.
RIM also introduced Web Plug-Ins 2.5. Updates to the Web Plug-Ins for
BlackBerry WebWorks include multiple entry points, which give developers the
ability to start their application in the background, in addition to launching
from the home screen or a download folder. Applications can also continue to
run in the background. Web Plug-Ins 2.5 also gives developers the ability to
cache Web pages and content to the handset's system memory for faster
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.