Research In Motion is perfecting new software to make it easier for developers to build enterprise applications for the BlackBerry smartphone platform.
At the BlackBerry Developer Conference 2010 (DEVCON 2010), RIM previewed its upcoming BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware-an application development platform that will enable commercial enterprise and corporate developers to more easily build enterprise applications and services for BlackBerry smartphones by tapping developer platforms from enterprise players such as IBM, Oracle, SAP and Sybase.
“By introducing this BlackBerry application middleware offering, we want to make it easy for enterprise middleware developers to build apps to a server back end and have users get access on the device,” said Paxton Cooper, senior director of platform product management at RIM, in an interview with eWEEK.
Cooper said BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware will include a set of APIs, libraries and server software that will make it easier for developers to build “super apps” that can access instant data push and alerts, use efficient file transfers with enterprise applications, and make it easy to query a user’s device for geo-location, presence, current camera image, calendar availability, device type and much more. It will be possible to use it with popular application development platforms such as IBM WebSphere, Oracle Fusion Middleware and the mobility platform from SAP and Sybase, and can be integrated with these platforms to give access to developers, he said.
These capabilities are combined with the advantages of the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution, offering real-time communication via true push technology; cost-effective data usage; efficiency over carrier networks; easy Web-based administration of smartphones, servers, users, groups and applications; single sign-on; and secure wireless access to enterprise systems.
“BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware will make it easier to build essential enterprise functions in BlackBerry smartphone applications that are currently not available or easily built on any other mobile platform,” said Alan Brenner, senior vice president at RIM, in a statement. “It also presents new opportunities for innovation in enterprise application development by our strategic alliance partners, enterprise customers, systems integrators and independent software vendor community.”
IBM Interactive, Oracle and SAP are currently using BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware in early trials. The initial set of BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware libraries are expected to be available in closed beta later this year, RIM said. Additional libraries are expected to be released in 2011. RIM will be previewing the first BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware libraries-Alert/Notifications Push, Files Transfer and Device Information to Server App-at BlackBerry DEVCON being held in San Francisco Sept. 27-30.
IBM Interactive is using the BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware together with IBM WebSphere to help develop a business-to-consumer application with ING DIRECT.
“The use of mobile technologies has become second nature across both the consumer and the enterprise landscape,” said Kelly Chambliss, IBM’s Application Innovation Services Leader for North America, in a statement. “By extending the reach of information and transactions via mobile devices, we are helping our clients tap into new opportunities to both differentiate the customer experience and transform the workforce. BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware allows us to take advantage of our deep mobile expertise to help our clients realize the power of an interconnected planet.”
“ING DIRECT Canada has a suite of secure, simple and highly functional mobile applications, and we are excited about extending this functionality using the new BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware technology,” said Charaka Kithulegoda, chief information officer at ING DIRECT Canada, also in a statement. “BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware provides us with a platform to offer our clients a richer and more innovative experience when using our mobile banking applications for BlackBerry smartphones. … The use of features like push notifications-for a subscribed alerting service-engages the client by capturing their attention at the right time. Alerts can provide important information to the client and provides ING DIRECT Canada with a just-in-time messaging platform.”
Oracle Integrating BlackBerry Middleware
Meanwhile, Oracle is integrating BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware into Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) to enable Oracle developers to build innovative enterprise applications that can communicate with their BlackBerry workforce using development tools that they are already familiar with.
“Together, Oracle Application Development Framework and the new BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware libraries allow developers to enrich their enterprise applications without having to be a BlackBerry or mobile expert,” said Ted Farrell, Oracle’s chief architect and senior vice president, in a statement. “This enables Oracle customers to communicate, gather information and make business decisions quicker and easier than ever before.”
In addition, SAP continues to co-innovate with RIM to offer new opportunities to extend the reach of SAP Business Suite on BlackBerry smartphones, RIM said in a press release on the new middleware technology. Through close integration of BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware with the mobility platform from SAP and Sybase, partners and customers will be able to quickly build mobile applications that connect business data to their workers on BlackBerry smartphones.
“We see ever-increasing demand for mobile applications that allow users real-time visibility into their businesses,” said Kevin Nix, senior vice president of enterprise mobility at SAP, in a statement. “With the combination of SAP applications and our mobility platform, together with BlackBerry Enterprise Application Middleware, we will simplify the application development process and increase the diversity and availability of SAP mobile applications for BlackBerry smartphones to help customers unwire their enterprise.”
The Alerts/Notifications Push Library enables developers to build secure instant delivery of data between back-end enterprise systems and BlackBerry smartphones in under a hundred lines of code. The File Transfer Library enables developers to build applications with fast and efficient large file transfers between back-end systems and BlackBerry smartphones, and all in under a hundred lines of code. Data can be programmed to be viewed only, downloaded, uploaded or saved to device memory or a media card on a BlackBerry smartphone. And the Device Information to Server App Library enables querying of a device by back-end enterprise systems that can be built into a mobile application in under a hundred lines of code.