Setting the Stage
Since Research In Motion (RIM) launched the first models almost a decade ago, the BlackBerry smartphone has gone from relative obscurity to near universal visibility—think about how commonplace it has become to see people in airports, hotels, offices, or just about anywhere stealing a few minutes to check their e-mail or type replies. The BlackBerry software development kit has been around since the first devices were released and has grown to include an extensive collection of examples, documentation, and a mature set of APIs and tools that have opened the door for all kinds of great applications, most of which only currently exist in someone’s imagination.
And with the maturing of the BlackBerry community and the introduction of BlackBerry App World, it’s easier than ever to get your application noticed and downloaded by users worldwide. In this chapter we’ll talk a bit about the basics of BlackBerry development –development environment options (there are a couple), other software and information you need, and some things to keep in mind. We’ll also walk through the download and setup of the development tools and simulators so we’re all set up to start building applications in the next.this will help you get started creating your own BlackBerry applications.
This is not about writing web applications for BlackBerry devices or about rapid application development (RAD) solutions, such as MDS Studio or the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio. This is about building professional, polished, native applications that take full advantage of the BlackBerry platform. By the last you’ll have built several simple BlackBerry applications, learned how to run them on the various BlackBerry simulators, and how to package and deploy them onto real BlackBerry devices. You’ll learn how a BlackBerry application is put
together, how to create great looking user interfaces, how to interact with the user (using the keyboard and trackball/trackpad or touch screen depending on the device), how to send and receive data over the wireless network, and more. Combined with the extensive development resources and examples provided by RIM you’ll be on your way to creating the next killer application for this platform. What You Need to Know Before You Can Begin
To be able to follow along, you should have previous programming experience in a modern object-oriented language. This book is not an introduction to object-oriented programming, or even to the Java language. There are many excellent resources and tutorials available on the internet. BlackBerry applications are written in Java Micro Edition (Java ME) formerly called J2ME. This is a subset of Java Standard Edition (Java SE) that most Java developers
work with. If you’re familiar with Java SE or Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE), Java ME will be very easy to pick up. If you’re familiar with another object-oriented language – especially one with a similar syntax like C#, C++ or even Objective-C – you should similarly have no problem picking things up. C# developers in particular should be able to understand Java ME code with
little or no effort. One of the nice things about Java ME and the BlackBerry from the perspective of a beginner is that the API is small compared to desktop or server programming environments – you can learn a great deal of it fairly quickly. Of course, this is a double-edged sword; there will be times you wish the API provided some functionality that bigger environments do, though the BlackBerry API is getting more functionality all the time.