It seems as if everyone uses a BlackBerry these days. But not everyone organizes their information in quite the same way. If you're going to build the programs that help people stay organized with BlackBerry devices, you need to understand the kinds of data types that users acquire, organize, and use to get through the day.
Itís safe to say that BlackBerry devices have become such a necessity for many people because as a society, we need them to help keep track of our lives. Weíre busier than ever before and that doesnít just apply to those in the business world. Itís no longer unusual to see a stay-at-home mom or dad with a BlackBerry, because they too need help managing their time and keeping track of appointments, parent teacher conferences, Little League games, etc., etc. Cell phones, though advanced in their own right, will never be able to compete with BlackBerries, if for no other reason than their unsurpassed functionality.
As a BlackBerry developer, youíre going to have to familiarize yourself with the idea of personal information management (PIM). If youíve never heard of this concept before, basically itís the study or practice of the things people do in order to organize, acquire, retrieve, maintain, and use informative items such as documents, web pages, e-mail messages, and text messages (among other things). Even further than that, itís even important to figure out how a person uses those things every day in order to fulfill their role as an employee, friend, etc.
One of the goals of PIM, and hopefully one of your goals as an application developer, is to ensure that the information being utilized is not only correct, but can be found in an easily accessible location, in the right form, and of the quality needed to complete the task or meet the user's need. Though it could almost be argued that BlackBerriesarepersonal information managers, as they drastically reduce the amount of time and the number of errors in management-related activities, they arenít. They do, however, feature PIM software.
The software and applications that are featured in BlackBerry devices act as an information management tool that facilitate the recording, tracking, and management of specific kinds of personal information. The most common and universal data elements found on the BlackBerry platform include addresses and contact numbers, significant calendar dates, and to-do items. Other examples include personal notes, appointments and meetings, e-mail and IM archives, among other things.
These types of data are obviously essential to the BlackBerry, thus necessary to understand. Every major mobile platform supports these data elements, as well as common desktop software. For example, BlackBerry supports Microsoft Outlook, while other smartphone devices may support different productivity application suites. Believe it or not, an entire multi-million-dollar industry of synchronization software has been brought into existence because of the difficult task of synchronizing PIM data among various data sources.
In this article we will discuss the importance of choosing the right BlackBerry development platform and how developers can interact with the PIM data directly on a BlackBerry smartphone.
Choosing a Development Platform
As mentioned previously, PIM software is featured on a BlackBerry smartphone, but it isnít a data type. Itís a type of data -- and yes, there is difference and itís major. Itís important to discuss PIM in this article because information management is the most vital aspect of the BlackBerry, but understanding the different between PIM software and BlackBerryís data type is of the utmost importance. So, letís first discuss the data type utilized by BlackBerry.