12-29-15 04:04 PM
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  1. Alexander Saprykin's Avatar
    Why to write this?

    Last time lot of opinions and rumors regarding BB10 death and end of life were posted here on the forum. Most of them (including me) were from the customer point of view, but we always want more native good quality apps for BB10, and lack of them can be a strong reason to go to Android or iOS. I'm developing for BB10 since the begining (from the 10.0 version), and I want to track down the way BB10 has gone from the start till now and to share some thoughts on different aspects of BB10 developement so you can better understand why BlackBerry has so weak app ecosystem.

    The start

    After BB10 was announced lot of developers (at least I think so) were interested in a new and perspective platform with possibly several percents market share. You need to get a device first, because doing the work on a simulator is painful. BB10 powered developer devices (Dev-A and so on) could be received on some of the BlackBerry Jam events across the world. But hey, what about too far and cold Russia (yeah, some people think the life is possible only within the Moscow)? How to get the developer device here? You had only one chance on BlackBerry Jam event in Moscow, which could be be easily missed by lot of reasons. I was trying to contact BlackBerry team directly to ask a device, but no luck. They redirected my email to corresponding team and then no signs of answer.
    To make it clear, I do not complain about free devices. I was ready to buy developer device for its price and was asking about such a possibility. Why didn't they sell those devices to all who wants it? At least, they could make some profit from that. It's a BlackBerry fault that they didn't provide worldwide developers with devices prior launching BB10 on Z10 to public.
    If you want to attract more developers to completely new platform with zero market share, you should provide either developer devices or some kind of support program.

    Which way to go?

    From the first SDK release you can choose one of the ways to develop app:

    • Native (C) low-level development
    • Cascades (C++) based on Qt4 framework
    • Adobe Air
    • HTML5 Webworks
    • Android runtime

    Which one do you choose? This question had been asked several dozen times on developers forum, and lot of people couldn't decide which way to choose. Does iOS or Android has such a variety of choices? It is really strange that BlackBerry being limited in resources (people, time and money) tried to go 5 ways simultaneously. It was a road to fail. And after some time Adobe Air support was discontinued (say hello to some of developers), Cascades has been merged with Native C APIs (at leas on the web site). And the same thing with Flurry analytics and Ad framework. They understood that at the end of BB10 real life.
    The same thing is with IDE. You can choose Momentics (Eclipse based) which is for me not so comfortable and it is quite heavy itself (using Java), or you can use Qt Creator (which I really love). They have spent lot of efforts to add BlackBerry devices support to Qt Creator, but why to go with two IDEs? Each of these IDEs have pros and cons, but I can't say anyone is really good for BB10. Momentics is better for GUI development, Qt Creator is better for libraries and third party code. I think it was better to concentrate on one of them and polish it till more usable state.
    Looking at all of this you can think that BlackBerry didn't know what to do at all. They didn't have a plan.

    Development

    I have been using Cascades with Native C APIs sometimes, and I have to say that they are really solid now. You have almost all APIs you need. With each SDK release more and more APIs had been added. It was a great progress from one release to another and it was really fun to add support for new features in the app. Cascades has easily extensible architecture and I must to say that framework was going right way: all APIs are consistent, all APIs are going the same approach, and it is easy to understand it and learn how to do things properly. If you need more power you can always use Native C APIs.
    BlackBerry developer forums are a good place where are lot of people trying to make things better and helping each other. At first time when there was a lack of good documentation and app samples it was a right place to come.
    You must have a real device to make a good app. But if you do not have one you can use a free simulator. Oh wait, if you have a Mac, you have to buy VMware Fusion to run simulator images. No VritualBox support.

    BlackBerry Developer Rewards

    As a developer you can earn reward points posting posts on the forums, submitting apps to BlackBerry World, writing articles to Knowledge Base and so on. Then you can exchange these point for something with BlackBerry logo on it: T-shirt, mug, vacuum bottle, tickets to BlackBerry events and more. It was some sort of motivation for developers to participate more, to spend more time on forums, to develop more. But after a year or some program was closed. All reward points you haven't spent had gone to charity (converting in $ before). Sorry, BlackBerry, but where is a report how you had spent those money for charity? No transparency at all.

    $10k contest

    That was pretty interesting contest. If your app collects at least $1k during the first year BlackBerry will add you up to $10k. Wait, but how can you participate without real device? Right, you can't It was really stupid campaign when people were trying to push their crap into BlackBerry World on Christmas and New Year before the submission deadline. It was the first time BlackBerry World received a portion of useless apps. Actually I do not remember winners to be announced.

    The Great Flood

    At some point BlackBerry started to flood Blackberry World with tons of Android apps. They didn't work properly, sometimes they didn't work at all. But it was only a race for app counter. They wanted to show the app counter to others. Nobody cares about the app quality. Do you remember that S4BB vendor with more than 50 000 of apps (out of 230 000 total) approved in BlackBerry World? That was really fun But BlackBerry wanted more crap in the store so you can feel good there. They launched several so called Portathon specially for Android developers to port several thousands of Android apps in just a day. How could you make a high quality Android port in a day? It doesn't matter, just submit something to increment the counter. You can submit up to 20 apps, and you will get $100 for each. For 5 and more apps you can get developer device.
    I hope you get it? Why do you want to win a device if you are already developing and submitting apps? Or are you developing apps without device on simulator and submitting this nightmare?
    And that Z10 Red campaign was a real mascaraed. If you have developer device before BB10 OS launch and submit several (IIRC, three and more) apps (including native) before deadline, you will receive ANOTHER device. Wait, why didn't they give those 12 000 phones to native app developers without phones before BB10 launch? Ask BlackBerry first. They gave several devices for some people, and for some they gave nothing.
    That was a start of the great crap flood to the store. People were not interested in making high quality apps, they were only interested in submitting something before deadline to get yet another phone. Developer forums were full of posts discussing how to get a device, not how to write a good app. But the counter was ticking, and all was fine for BlackBerry.
    Maybe you ask about special campaigns for native developers? Yes, I remember one. You can submit a description of the app and your plan on it, and you must develop it in three months. If BlackBerry likes your plan you will get a device. But it is hard to develop a good app in three months if mobile development is your part time hobby. Again, they were not interested in high quality apps.
    Even if you write a good app it will be washed away with Android flood.

    Built For BlackBerry (BFB)

    It is a program for native developers only (thanks God!). You have three attempts to qualify for this status. It gives you a special badge in the store and... actually that is all. However BlackBerry says they are giving you some privileges before non-BFB apps, but I didn't see that. Moreover BFB apps are at the bottom of the search list
    To qualify for this status your app must follow BlackBerry 10 UI Guidelines. But how to verify that? Yes, the reviewing process is very subjective. You can read a dedicated brach on developer forums, and lot of people complaining for apps being rejected. I have to say that some of rejected apps were really solid and well done. But also you can find a lot of BFB apps which are a complete mess and do not follow UI guidelines. I do not know how they have passed the review.
    For me it takes several months to receive this status. First time app was rejected for normal reason after long time review, and second they have forget about the app. After several months of waiting I wrote to support and review had been finished.
    This program was intended to improve apps' quality in the store, but I do not see any effect at all. It was very weak in terms of promotion and realization. It's like growing a rose in the center of garbage.

    BlackBerry World

    This store is a boring thing from the start. They are promoting the same apps for almost three years, the same selections, the same banners, the same broken Facebook app. Sometimes promo banners are so awful that you can't show this to a child. I have tried to contact BlackBerry marketing department, but no success. For example, before Z3 launch in Indonesia, I have fully translated the app into Indonesian language and offered it for promotion during the launch. The idea was that after the launch in Indonesia they need localized high quality apps to make store more attractive. But I was wrong. Sometimes I think they do not want store at all. They have it just because others have.
    Submitting apps was a pain at first. For example, if you want to change screenshots order you have to remove them first and upload again in proper order. But after removing old screenshots they were removed from the store before approving the new ones. It is stupid. Thanks for last BlackBerry Vendor Portal update they have improved it a lot.
    Reviewing process is quite smooth and takes about 48 an hours. I haven't experienced any problems.
    Promo codes appeared only 1.5 years after BB10 launch. What were they doing? You can't even promote your app itself. The store doesn't have any well know promo campaigns like Apple' Editors Choise. As developer you do not know the ways to promote the app. All is chaotic and unpredictable.

    Current State

    Actually BB10 development is dead. Do not tell about those future maintenance updates. The platform development is actually dead. Look more closely on it:

    • No SDK updates (including Momentics IDE) with new features for almost a year
    • SDK development roadmap removed
    • Cascades framework based on obsolete Qt4 framework
    • BB10 support in Qt5 officially deprecated in Qt 5.5 and will be removed in Qt 5.6
    • BB10 support removed in Qt Creator 3.5
    • BlackBerry doesn't provide debugging symbols for OS 10.3.2
    • BlackBerry Developer Rewards program is closed
    • Recently announced update for developer site: changed the landing page
    • Unity discontinued support for BB10 in Unity3D engine
    • Distimo discontinued support for BB10 on their statistics portal


    Some people can continue this list. Please do not lie to yourself. Just understand that is becomes harder and harder to support modern software using old and obsolete tools. You have to fight with some things. But who will come to dying platform? No one. Developers want to see progress and development, new features and support from the vendor. But when BlackBerry puts all your hard work along with the crap and mess it is hard to motivate itself doing more. I think only several dozen developers are still improving their apps now just for fun.

    Conclusion

    The main reason of the fail is the absence of strategy. They didn't choose their unique and strong way but instead tried to go everywhere. Tried to do everything. And everything has gone wrong. BB10 was ruined from the start not as OS itself but with a lack of strategic view on ecosystem growth and development. And I'm not saying about advertising campaigns. I hope with Priv they will do it better. I have to say that it was a real fun to go along with BB10 from the start till the end. But we all need to move on.
    10-17-15 05:43 AM
  2. Uzi's Avatar
    Well writen, and I agreed with your conclusion .
    And I think It's too late now for BlackBerry if they want to develop ecosystem again.
    Intense Soul and nick13b like this.
    10-17-15 06:08 AM
  3. santhoshmanikandan's Avatar
    True. BlackBerry has always been wrong in supporting developers.

    Posted via CB10
    Intense Soul likes this.
    10-17-15 07:53 AM
  4. CountryboiShawn's Avatar
    Posted via CB10
    10-17-15 07:56 AM
  5. tollfeeder's Avatar
    Posted via CB10
    Yep! My thoughts exactly!!

    Via Pasta CB10
    10-17-15 08:12 AM
  6. Bluenoser63's Avatar
    Yup. I was there from day one and they had no vision or understanding on actually how to support developers. It is pretty obvious that those developers that they brought in to the company. ie TAT, saw that they had no vision and left. They didn't even know how to support their own internal developers of the BB10 OS/GUI so how in the world could they support outside developers.

    As a developer, you don't jump on a new platform overnight. Coming from a Windows world, there was conflicting information on which SDK to use and I tried them out and then decided that Cascades was the way to go. I think BlackBerry did their famous try multiple things and see what one sticks. So they didn't have the focus, targeted vision needed. So by the time that was able to learn cascades in my spare time, I could see that BlackBerry was already losing focus and when my app was almost complete, I could see that BlackBerry was stopping development of BB10 just 18 months after it's release. A good app, not just one that is a "fart" app takes months of design and implementation. So they killed it before it ever had a chance. I started to see an uptick in enterprise interest in BB10 apps, but that went away as soon as there was a rumor of an Android device.

    I will never trust BlackBerry again in terms of developer support as they have killed any hope of that happening. I was a full supporter of BlackBerry, but I will keep using my Z30's which I think is the best mobile phone hardware and OS combination I have ever had. And as an IT Manager, I will never recommend BlackBerry products to anyone as they don't have any long term planning and jump around like Mexican jumping bean. IT needs to have companies that have a long term vision and BlackBerry was a good company in terms of technology, but no marketing or vision for products.

    Chen now wants BlackBerry to be a software services company without any hardware and that will fail as the security market is small and their choice of Android makes that suspect. BlackBerry has lost me as a supporter, developer and an enterprise purchaser.
    10-17-15 08:30 AM
  7. baarn's Avatar
    As a relative late-comer to BlackBerry, for me that was an excellent and informative summary of BlackBerry management's lack of vision and commitment. Thanks for posting.
    Alexander Saprykin likes this.
    10-17-15 09:06 AM
  8. conite's Avatar
    I've said it before, I'll say it again. If BlackBerry had managed to bag Instagram, Netflix, some Google apps, and other big names at launch, everything else would have worked out despite the OP's issues he raises.

    BlackBerry offered bags of money, offers of free support, and the first-born children of all of its executives to these big guys, and they simply weren't interested in a third ecosystem. It was over before it started.

    PassportSQW100-4/10.3.2.2789
    10-17-15 09:23 AM
  9. Bbnivende's Avatar
    I am still ticked that only the developers were able to get the red Z10.



    Posted via CB10
    10-17-15 09:29 AM
  10. Bluenoser63's Avatar
    I am still ticked that only the developers were able to get the red Z10.

    Posted via CB10
    Not true. They even made too many of those.

    Wednesday DIY: Limited edition BlackBerry Z10 | CrackBerry.com

    I got one as a developer and got another one as a repair.
    Bbnivende likes this.
    10-17-15 09:36 AM
  11. Bbnivende's Avatar
    Sorry for the hi jack back to the topic.

    Posted via CB10
    10-17-15 10:02 AM
  12. Bluenoser63's Avatar
    I've said it before, I'll say it again. If BlackBerry had managed to bag Instagram, Netflix, some Google apps, and other big names at launch, everything else would have worked out despite the OP's issues he raises.

    BlackBerry offered bags of money, offers of free support, and the first-born children of all of its executives to these big guys, and they simply weren't interested in a third ecosystem. It was over before it started.

    PassportSQW100-4/10.3.2.2789
    If they weren't interested in a third ecosystem, why are they available on Windows Phone? It wasn't a third eco system issue. BlackBerry failed again.
    10-17-15 10:08 AM
  13. conite's Avatar
    If they weren't interested in a third ecosystem, why are they available on Windows Phone? It wasn't a third eco system issue. BlackBerry failed again.
    Even Microsoft, with its billions in its war chest, are having great difficulty making headway with apps. They too are now looking at Android with conversion tools.

    They have the added benefit of being able to leverage their desktop install base to court developers.

    From CNN Money:
    "Snapchat isn't on Windows 10 Mobile. Amazon Music and Prime Instant Video aren't either. Neither are popular apps like Periscope, HBO Go, TuneIn Radio or Out of Milk. And, most crucially, the killer CNNMoney app isn't available on Windows 10 Mobile either.
    Just because Windows has an app doesn't mean it's a great -- or even good -- experience. The New York Times app, for instance, feels like it hasn't been updated in years. Twitter is way, way, way behind the times, still featuring its long-since-killed "Discover" tab and lacking any of the social network's excellent new highlights and search features.
    Sometimes Windows itself is responsible for subpar apps. Microsoft wants all of its apps to get users to scroll left or right for more menu options instead of providing a menu button. The layout just doesn't work with some apps, including MLB At Bat, Amazon and Yelp, which all take far too many swipes to accomplish anything."

    PassportSQW100-4/10.3.2.2789
    Last edited by conite; 10-17-15 at 10:42 AM.
    10-17-15 10:27 AM
  14. Bluenoser63's Avatar
    Even Microsoft, with its billions in its war chest, are having great difficulty making headway with apps. They too are now looking at Android with conversion tools.

    They have the added benefit of being able to leverage their desktop install base to court developers.

    From CNN Money:
    "Snapchat isn't on Windows 10 Mobile. Amazon Music and Prime Instant Video aren't either. Neither are popular apps like Periscope, HBO Go, TuneIn Radio or Out of Milk. And, most crucially, the killer CNNMoney app isn't available on Windows 10 Mobile either.
    Just because Windows has an app doesn't mean it's a great -- or even good -- experience. The New York Times app, for instance, feels like it hasn't been updated in years. Twitter is way, way, way behind the times, still featuring its long-since-killed "Discover" tab and lacking any of the social network's excellent new highlights and search features.
    Sometimes Windows itself is responsible for subpar apps. Microsoft wants all of its apps to get users to scroll left or right for more menu options instead of providing a menu button. The layout just doesn't work with some apps, including MLB At Bat, Amazon and Yelp, which all take far too many swipes to accomplish anything."

    PassportSQW100-4/10.3.2.2789
    Windows 10 mobile hasn't been released yet.

    BUT
    http://www.techradar.com/us/news/pho...breath-1294106

    http://wmpoweruser.com/amazon-workin...ndows-devices/
    10-17-15 10:48 AM
  15. beowulf101's Avatar
    That was insightful, thank you OP.

    Chen wants BlackBerry to be the company securing endpoint devices, monitoring users and locking down information / data theft. AtHoc being sort of the odd one out to my mind, but that acquisition still makes sense when looking at the overall vision as it now stands. Encrypted calling with SecuSuite and Secusmart? Of course.

    The death of BlackBerry 10 to BlackBerry itself is a good thing. It's current and future customers are IT teams in companies that need services running on devices, not devices themselves. It must be galling to you guys who are developers, and you clearly had the warning signs on the development side in tandem with the roadmap of acquisitions and service deployments elsewhere within the BlackBerry portfolio, just as I saw them from that side of the equation.

    We went with Silent Circle and Blackphone for the security and services we wanted which essentially came out of the box almost.

    I still use my Passport as my personal phone, as I love the Hub, but as soon as the launcher (or however it will work) is available to put in a secured space on my Blackphone, my Passport is gone as the BlackBerry experience will then be on a device Chen has said is more secure than his own.

    Way to go Chen.

    Posted via CB10
    10-18-15 02:40 AM
  16. Aju's Avatar
    Really good insight to Blackberry Apps issue. I always thought Big software vendors is to be blamed, but now I know BlackBerry is the digger of its own grave

    Q10SQN100-3/10.3.2.2639
    10-18-15 05:12 AM
  17. leeiling's Avatar
    Totally agree.

    Posted via CB10
    10-19-15 05:43 AM
  18. early2bed's Avatar
    The moral of this story is that the only good incentive for developers is a large number of potential app users. Any other incentives just result in unintended consequences. Just look at the most successful app store the iOS one. They have never offered any incentive to developers. No devices. Going to WWDC cost $2000 plus your travel expenses. You have to put a lot of work into keeping up with the platform otherwise your app either breaks every year or looks dated. You can't even use your daily device for development because the beta versions of the OS can be quite buggy and are completely unsupported. Oh yeah and it costs $100 dollars per year.

    They are wildly successful because they have the most potential users free or otherwise and compatible devices including iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, and the iPad Pro coming out next month. Their tools are powerful and well-documented. There is little piracy of apps.

    Most iOS developers have a love-hate relationship with the platform. However, what you want to see most as developer are lots of people walking around with compatible devices that could download your app in less than a minute given a link. That's all you really can ask for.
    Troy Tiscareno likes this.
    10-19-15 07:17 AM
  19. Maxxxpower's Avatar
    It was over before it started.
    I tend to agree. 15 to 20 big-name-apps like the ones you mentioned would have helped a lot. The uncompetitive, overpriced hardware and the unfinished OS were a real problem but the killer was the lack of high quality apps from the big companys. Lazaridis' and Balsillies sleep during the touch-only mobile revolution killed the company long before Heins and Chen were in. Their Next Gen OS should have launched in 2010 or earlier.
    10-19-15 08:05 AM
  20. kvndoom's Avatar
    I think Reed Hastings being on microsoft's board of directors at the time really killed any chance of BlackBerry ever getting a netflix app. Anyone who knows Ballmer's personality wouldn't be surprised at him seeing that as a strategic move to keep BB10 from gaining traction, especially since they wanted to push Windows Phone so strongly.

    I still believe a netflix app would have been the single biggest win this OS could have gotten.

    MS has the money to dig in and fight a losing battle for years if they need to.

    Posted from BlackBerry Classic, T-Mobile, no camera, 10.3.2.2514
    10-19-15 08:13 AM
  21. conite's Avatar
    I still believe a netflix app would have been the single biggest win this OS could have gotten.

    MS has the money to dig in and fight a losing battle for years if they need to.

    Posted from BlackBerry Classic, T-Mobile, no camera, 10.3.2.2514
    Yup. And Google apps (like they gave iPhone) would have clinched it.

    PassportSQW100-4/10.3.2.2789
    10-19-15 08:17 AM
  22. Intense Soul's Avatar
    They can maintain the strategy of pushing the updates of keeping the OS 10 for the existing devices and making it support for android apps and giving the developers assuring that the OS 10 stays and making the apps stay alive over OS10 and in android market which be give boost for developers. If the company doesn't cope up with the existing and reliable developers who have supported all these years, how they are going to survive in the ecosystem of PRIV? First and foremost should be a perfect plan not just blindly to wrap up things and push together.

    SUPPORT the DEVELOPERS and they will give the best. If organisation, doesn't gives perks well. There is no point of view about talking BlackBerry by next year same time
    Alexander Saprykin likes this.
    10-19-15 09:49 AM
  23. Bluenoser63's Avatar
    They can maintain the strategy of pushing the updates of keeping the OS 10 for the existing devices and making it support for android apps and giving the developers assuring that the OS 10 stays and making the apps stay alive over OS10 and in android market which be give boost for developers. If the company doesn't cope up with the existing and reliable developers who have supported all these years, how they are going to survive in the ecosystem of PRIV? First and foremost should be a perfect plan not just blindly to wrap up things and push together.

    SUPPORT the DEVELOPERS and they will give the best. If organisation, doesn't gives perks well. There is no point of view about talking BlackBerry by next year same time
    BlackBerry has no need to support developers anymore. In fact, it is getting harder and longer to get any native apps on BlackBerry 10. They have almost no resources to allow developers to submit new apps. It can take 5-8 business days to submit and have an app approved for BB10. There can't be that many apps being submitted so there just isn't anyone at BlackBerry to do it anymore.
    10-22-15 10:34 AM
  24. joewoo's Avatar
    this is the best post I've ever read on here.... too bad it's bad news... but it's eye opening to see OS10 through the eyes of a developer... thx to the OP
    Alexander Saprykin likes this.
    10-22-15 03:13 PM
  25. Alexander Saprykin's Avatar
    BlackBerry has no need to support developers anymore. In fact, it is getting harder and longer to get any native apps on BlackBerry 10. They have almost no resources to allow developers to submit new apps. It can take 5-8 business days to submit and have an app approved for BB10. There can't be that many apps being submitted so there just isn't anyone at BlackBerry to do it anymore.
    Yeah, it took almost 3 business days for my recent release to be approved. Very slow with so few amount of developers.

    Posted via CB10
    10-22-15 04:07 PM
40 12

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