1. portal's Avatar
    So it seems like a lot of vendors are saying that they will wait and see how Playbook pans out before they make an app. Listening to them, and thinking back around the time when PlayBook was announced, I got the impression that developing apps for PB would be much easier compared to developing apps for BB phones. I am not a developer at all, so hence the silly question: how long does it take to make an app like for instance Sugarsync, Orb? Is it easy to port code over or does it need to be written from bottom up? How long did it take EA to port the newly awesome game over to PB?
    08-23-11 01:18 PM
  2. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Currently, the only SDK available to mere mortal developers is Adobe Air/Actionscript. Since current BB apps are written in Java, it is necessary to re-write from the ground up in order to port the code to PB. Any but the most trivial apps need to be re-designed to reflect differences in SDK implementations. For example, Air does not offer threads so the programmer needs to design workarounds when multitasking is required. On the other hand, actionscript has some nice tweening capabilities and other features that simplify animations.

    The bottom line is, that it is a lot of work to port apps from one platform to another. Each platform has its its own quirks that introduce unique challenges to the developer, Time needed to port an app depends entirely on the complexity of the app and which features are being utilized and the availability of third party libraries and frameworks.

    The current Air SDK has some serious limitations. E.g. any BB app that uses Bluetooth cannot be ported to PB because the current Air SDK does not support BT Profiles. Same goes for the USB functionality and sensors (compass and gyroscope).

    The NDK does not have as many restrictions and the advantages are clear with respect to apps like the EA game

    PB developers really need some support from RIM (and it is long overdue). I will not be able to complete my own app until I can access the PB's magnetometer. We need an update to Air providing support for hardware and we need a Java SDK to make it easier to port BB apps. And of course we would like to get our hands on the NDK.
    pixelbrain, MattBerry08 and Kobol like this.
    08-23-11 06:40 PM
  3. portal's Avatar
    Thanks BuzzstarField. Much more clearer for me. Why is RIM holding back? Surely, as creator of BB / PB, they mush like to see developers creating more apps (which in return would give them more revenues).
    08-24-11 07:07 AM
  4. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Why is RIM holding back? Surely, as creator of BB / PB, they mush like to see developers creating more apps (which in return would give them more revenues).
    It does seem a bit illogical to provide superb hardware but not provide API's to fully utilize it. At the very least, it would be nice to have a roadmap of where RIM is going with their SDKs so that we can plan our marketing strategies.

    Those consumers who are hoping that the release of the NDK will be immediately followed by a flood of killer apps are in for a disappointment. Frankly the Air SDK, is a viable platform for many of the apps you are requesting but these cannot be realized without some comparatively minor extensions to support the hardware.

    I often ask myself questions like: Why can Poynt developers write code that can dial a number or display a map on a connected BB phone and I can't? Why do apps running in the leaked Android Player have access PB's magnetometer but my Air app does not yet have similar privileges?
    chiefbroski likes this.
    08-24-11 09:14 AM
  5. MattBerry08's Avatar
    I often ask myself questions like: Why can Poynt developers write code that can dial a number or display a map on a connected BB phone and I can't? Why do apps running in the leaked Android Player have access PB's magnetometer but my Air app does not yet have similar privileges?
    Agree completely Buzz - love your app, and it blows my mind that RIM doesnt prioritize these things for PB. As I've stated before "shooting themselves in the foot, repeatedly".

    Have you emailed them directly? One would assume in an ideal world that a well written email from a developer would go up the food chain a bit higher than the usual first line developer relations person. Then again, it is RIM.

    Thanks again for your app and work.
    08-24-11 10:34 AM
  6. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Have you emailed them directly? One would assume in an ideal world that a well written email from a developer would go up the food chain a bit higher than the usual first line developer relations person. Then again, it is RIM.

    Thanks again for your app and work.
    I appreciate your kind words. Believe me, what keeps me going is my love of programming and astronomy and the belief that others share my interests. If I could make some profit from my work, it would be gravy. You will find that most other authors are as frustrated as I am. And yes, I have written directly to RIM expressing my point of view. RIM is basically missing the boat on augmented reality apps and apps that rely on Bluetooth or USB connectivity. But RIM apparently sees priorities in other areas and who am I to argue?

    My app just can't compete with cuurrent Android and IOS apps until I can find a way to finish it. I have basically put further development on hold until I can determine if I need to re-write my app using NDK or some other vehicle.
    08-24-11 11:18 AM
  7. portal's Avatar
    BuzzStarField - You must have seen this: http://crackberry.com/blackberry-pla...-can-apply-now
    08-24-11 12:04 PM
  8. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    BuzzStarField - You must have seen this: http://crackberry.com/blackberry-pla...-can-apply-now
    Three problems with this:
    1. I do not want to have to re-write my app using NDK - I want the Air SDK to fully support the platform. We have not received an update since launch and it is long overdue.
    2. I am a Java programmer. I do not want to jump to a yet another unfamiliar and immature platform in the vain hope that it might meet my needs. C and C++ is overkill in my particular circumstance and fully supported UI libraries and frameworks are unlikely to exist at this time.
    3. The Beta NDK is available to a select few. Even if I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, spaces were filled even before I became aware of the program.
    08-24-11 02:02 PM
  9. soul2k's Avatar
    There will be a Java player on the playbook. Probably will be linked to the Android player release.

    Answers to your questions about the application players for BlackBerry Java-based and Android apps BlackBerry Developer's Blog
    08-24-11 04:31 PM
  10. grant.palin's Avatar
    Currently, the only SDK available to mere mortal developers is Adobe Air/Actionscript. Since current BB apps are written in Java, it is necessary to re-write from the ground up in order to port the code to PB. Any but the most trivial apps need to be re-designed to reflect differences in SDK implementations. For example, Air does not offer threads so the programmer needs to design workarounds when multitasking is required. On the other hand, actionscript has some nice tweening capabilities and other features that simplify animations.

    The bottom line is, that it is a lot of work to port apps from one platform to another. Each platform has its its own quirks that introduce unique challenges to the developer, Time needed to port an app depends entirely on the complexity of the app and which features are being utilized and the availability of third party libraries and frameworks.

    The current Air SDK has some serious limitations. E.g. any BB app that uses Bluetooth cannot be ported to PB because the current Air SDK does not support BT Profiles. Same goes for the USB functionality and sensors (compass and gyroscope).

    The NDK does not have as many restrictions and the advantages are clear with respect to apps like the EA game

    PB developers really need some support from RIM (and it is long overdue). I will not be able to complete my own app until I can access the PB's magnetometer. We need an update to Air providing support for hardware and we need a Java SDK to make it easier to port BB apps. And of course we would like to get our hands on the NDK.
    You seem to have an understanding of the Playbook development landscape. I ask you, of the currently available SDKs - AIR, WebWorks - is either more viable, or powerful, or useful?

    I have not worked with either before, though I am a competent programmer in general (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, leading me towards WebWorks. Tiny experience with Flash, and none with ActionScript, kinda leading me away from AIR. A pity C# is not an option!). WebWorks seems a little more attractive since it can also be used for BlackBerry app development.

    I have some ideas for a few apps, some standalone, some being apps for web services. Given the latter, can external API calls be done with either WebWorks or AIR? If both, is one or the other more suitable?
    08-25-11 12:52 AM
  11. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I have some ideas for a few apps, some standalone, some being apps for web services. Given the latter, can external API calls be done with either WebWorks or AIR? If both, is one or the other more suitable?
    Your choice depends on your particular use case. The best place to kick-start your selection process is in the official RIM developer support forums. You will find lots of good discussions there.

    In my case, the choice was a no-brainer because at the time (December 2010) Air/pure ActionScript was the only choice available. Given that I wanted to port a J2ME prototype of my app, I would make the same choice today.

    Currently it is not possible to call external APIs (if by "external" you mean native libraries). I am hoping that this capability will be added concurrently with the NDK release so that I can finally get access to magnetometer. But, as I pointed out in my previous post, lack of information from RIM makes it impossible to plan my next move.
    08-25-11 07:56 AM
  12. chiefbroski's Avatar
    You would think other developers would share this sentiment as well. Its hard to believe RIM not having these development kits as a priority. If the new OS is going to be standard, hopefully they are not waiting until the release of the first QNX phone to have proper Air and Webworks SDKs and the NDK.
    BuzzStarField likes this.
    08-25-11 08:07 AM
  13. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    You would think other developers would share this sentiment as well. Its hard to believe RIM not having these development kits as a priority. If the new OS is going to be standard, hopefully they are not waiting until the release of the first QNX phone to have proper Air and Webworks SDKs and the NDK.
    Amen to that. Right now, it's a bit like calling a contractor to put a new roof on your house and being told that you have to wait until the tool company make a ladder that's long enough. C'mon RIM, give me a ladder!
    08-25-11 08:35 AM
  14. grant.palin's Avatar
    Currently it is not possible to call external APIs (if by "external" you mean native libraries). I am hoping that this capability will be added concurrently with the NDK release so that I can finally get access to magnetometer. But, as I pointed out in my previous post, lack of information from RIM makes it impossible to plan my next move.
    In this case, I mean "external APIs" as web services. I'd like to try building an app or two that work with web applications, while providing a local front-end on the Playbook.
    08-25-11 01:03 PM
  15. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    In this case, I mean "external APIs" as web services. I'd like to try building an app or two that work with web applications, while providing a local front-end on the Playbook.
    You can use ActionScript's http connection to interact with web services. If you want to implement your own custom protocol, you can communicate using sockets.
    08-25-11 02:58 PM
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