My Opinion About BlackBerry Development (Positive Article)
API = Application Programming Interface
GUI = Graphical User Interface
GHz = Gigahertz
DNS = Domain Name Service (its what points websites to computers)
I've been developing for BlackBerry for over two years now. I started after the first year of my University Degree in Computer Science by writing an app that most people know as MyCart! Pro. It was my first proper software project I did from start to finish by myself. It is also the first app to generate (a fair amount) of money for me.
Since it was the first time I had done a software project on my own it took me a while to learn a lot of things about software development as a whole. The app took around 3/4 weeks to write. I chose BlackBerry as the platform to learn from because it was the phone I had at the time I started and it couldn't of been a better choice.
What I Learned
To sum it up in one word.. everything.
I learned a lot from the BlackBerry tutorial videos, BlackBerry forums, sample code, best practices in design and code. (And not to brag but I am now one of the top coders on my degree course).
The BlackBerry platform is just as straight forward (if not more so) than Android or iPhone to develop for. It is not difficult what-so-ever, and people that say it is are just lazy or don't know what they are doing, in my honest opinion.
The main issue? Most likely people not taking the time to learn it. The BlackBerry Java Development tools have thousands of APIs available with more coming with each OS release. People that say a BlackBerry can't do something because there isn't an API for it either didn't look carefully enough or was too lazy to write what they needed themselves.
Most might prefer the policy of "don't re-invent the wheel" when it comes to programming because you don't want to re-do something that has already been done and most likely done better. But that just takes away from the learning experience and I've found that on BlackBerry there is almost always a way of doing what you want.
How difficult it really is.
Well.. not difficult at all. You need to be well versed in the subject area and if you are you don't need GUI tools to build your app, all you need is to be able to understand and organise code well enough to make easily expandable and well designed GUIs.
As I said I have been writing for BlackBerry for two years now with mixed results with people who either love or hate my apps but you can't please everyone. The more I develop, the more I learn and the faster I become at it.
For example, I mentioned my first app took me 3/4 weeks to develop as a novice and now I consider myself intermediate going on to advanced (I wouldn't say expert just yet) and it took me less than 12 hours to write an app that interacts with a online API. It is an app with a fairly decent GUI that allows you to manage the DNS records for Linode.com's DNS Manager (for those of you that don't know what Linode is, it is a Virtual Private Server that provides Virtual Server space with servers in many states and even Europe, with incredible support I might add).
This just shows that if someone who is only about to start their fourth (and final) year of University can develop for BlackBerry AND in less than a day create an app that will be useful to a lot of people then so can these so called "big companies" that are apparently "jumping ship" or not bothering to develop for BlackBerry simply because they do not wish to take the time to learn something different or they are not good at what they do.
You don't need GUI tools to make compelling and beautiful GUIs. You don't need GHz upon GHz to have a really fast/useful app. You need to know what you are doing. I've never had problems writing a fast app, just sloppy code on occasion which I have learned from and improved ten fold.
I wrote this because of people saying BlackBerry is difficult to develop for or is "behind the times" and doesn't provide the right tools to developers are just lazy coders without a clue. I didn't write this to offend anyone or say that the other platforms "suck", just that BlackBerry doesn't and is capable of producing incredible apps just as good as any other platform even in its current state without the need for QNX (although it would be nice to see what it is capable of on phones).
BlackBerry lacks good third party developers. There is plenty of them out there but most just haven't ever developed for the BlackBerry platform and with negative press probably never will.
Thank you to anyone that manages to read this whole thing without falling asleep. Feel free to ask any questions you wish. Save the trolling for other forums please.
- 07-07-11, 10:42 PM #2
Hey, great post! Nice to hear from a developer who isn't frustrated with Blackberry development.
Even though I'm not a developer myself, I know that great apps can be had for the BB (examples, Poynt, Google Maps, that new 3D Brickbreaker game that was released (but only for OpenGL Blackberries), it's just a matter of developers making them.
How come Blackberries (mainly CDMA ones) can't get a VOIP app?
- CrackBerry User
07-08-11, 10:50 AM #4
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"The main issue? Most likely people not taking the time to learn it. The BlackBerry Java Development tools have thousands of APIs available with more coming with each OS release. People that say a BlackBerry can't do something because there isn't an API for it either didn't look carefully enough or was too lazy to write what they needed themselves."
I think you hit the nail on the head. How many mom and pop places have the notion of "If I create an app I'll make big money". Only to find out that it does take some skill in writing code and you do actually need an idea. Creating the 500th version of blackjack is not going to bring these types of developers a windfall so they get frustrated that nobody is using their app thus lash out that it sucks.
Offering a free Playbook to developers that create an app is really not the brightest idea the company has had. It attracts the developers that more than likely are in it for the freebie and then complain that it's not as easy as creating a word document. Then again most of this has been rehashed here several times.
- CrackBerry Abuser
07-08-11, 11:31 AM #5
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Excellent post GeniusDev
I want to comment on my experience.
I am a noob when it comes to programming. I have recently started to dive into developing for the Playbook. Why? because i love the PB.
So here are my comments so far.
Flash Builder 4.5 makes life a breeze.
Rim helps you and your developing life be easy.
Let me explain.
I got my code signing keys in 24 hours. FB 4.5 implemented them in one try.
I signed up for the vendor portal. i think as an individual, theres 8 pieces of information. basic, name address ph# email and password.
next day they ask you for some photo id. I took a photo of my license sent it off at 1pmEST. got an email arround midnight saying congrats and welcome to the app world vendor.
So, rim does not do anything but try and help get you and your app to the app world asap. In my personal opinion.
The SDK's built for the tablet + flash builder 4.5 make your life a breeze. Sure my first app won't be that great, or loaded with api's to access everything, but my lord testing your application either on a live playbook or the simulator - i believe theres a company out there that says this "it just works"
anyways - GeniusDev - I am glad you are having as good of an experience as I am.
- CrackBerry Newbie
07-08-11, 12:09 PM #6
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Rim's Product Development - same thing happened at MS (positive article)
I remember reading articles when windows 7 was being developed early on and a high up executive, Alchin I think, went to Ballmer and said that an incremental update, like they had been doing their whole history, adding to the same core code was not going to work and he made the case to rewrite the entire OS from scratch after the first iteration of windows 7 was already in development- staked his career on it, hence the windows 7 we have now and also hence the 5 year window between XP and windows 7. MS was obviously in a better place. No competitors offering newer PC OS's so where could we go if we wanted to upgrade the old and tired XP?
Rim is at the same place of transitioning. Someone there made the decision last year they could not release just a warmed over version of the same damn phone. The CEO's listened or maybe it was their idea and hence the QNX architecture change and also the moving to basically one platform architecture for all phones.
So, we have the new phones hitting in a few weeks. While they are not the dual core blah blah blah. They are for all intents and purposes miles ahead of even the 9700, which I have. Then a short cycle to the QNX phones and cant wait to see the playbook features once the phones are running the same OS. So Rim is not down or out. A lot of the negativity is I imagine being done by Rims competitors, because they can see the transition Rim is in and how much stronger they will be when they get to the other side. QNX has unlimited potential and that damn OS is in everything.
We cant think of anything they haven't. They knew and projected revenue loss from not selling phones, loss of customers jumping to chase the next shiny object, the negative press, the stock price decline, the canadian dollar at par with the US dollar and they said, this will be cheaper and better in the long run than the same old same old. So lets make are shift now.
So Rim took a temporary short lasting hit by not releasing new phones for a while. The employees they let go. Happy to see it. They probably were not getting on board with the new direction. Rim has lots of cash and can hire as many developers as they need and of course merging everything and not supporting the other stuff, would let you consolidate your development teams. It was probably the OS4.0 guys) Look at all the things that have been released in the last few days with the software and tools. I for one am happy to see them in this sort of negative position. It means they pulled their head out of their *** and are marching forward. And we all know we will be feasting on our new blackberrys in a few weeks and I think with the power and memory, the hourglass will never be seen again and we will have forgotten that we went over a year without new toys. That will tide us over until the QNX phones. Well, its my 2 cents anyways and I will shell out the 500.00 or so for the 9900 and wont be worried about it one bit.