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Developing Applications for the BlackBerry Browser - Smartphone Development

Those interested in becoming a BlackBerry developer, it’s of the utmost importance that you get to know the BlackBerry browser like the back of your hand. The good news is that the architecture for BlackBerry browser applications is quite simplistic and straightforward. Essentially, the BlackBerry browser is a Java ME application and according to BlackBerry, this particular application has been a part of the company’s technology for almost ten years.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Developing the BlackBerry Browser
  2. Developing Applications for the BlackBerry Browser
  3. Things to Keep in Mind when Developing Content for the BlackBerry Browser
By: Joe eitel
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May 27, 2009

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In most cases developing applications can seem overwhelming, as there’s often new software to learn and new tools to familiarize yourself with. Developing apps for the BlackBerry browser, however, will prove to be easy as it allows developers to use standard web authoring tools they’re already accustomed to. Technically, there are only two required development tools when developing BlackBerry Browser apps: the BlackBerry MDS simulator, which simulates network and server connectivity, as well as simulating the functionality provided by the BlackBerry Enterprise server (when needed).

The other necessary development tool is the BlackBerry device simulator, which has been described as a critical tool for BlackBerry development, as it enables developers to test their applications on various devices and operating systems. The new version of the BlackBerry Plugin for VS enables a user to be able to debug their client side scripting. The new version also removes the necessity for MDS simulator as well as for any device simulators that are separate from the tool. It comes with a simulator attached with the tool, and a developer can debug and run their sites off of that. And can also debug remote sites. You can also find this plug-in for Eclipse.

BlackBerry Browser Features

Information can be found online that details various web formats that the BlackBerry browser supports.It should also come as no surprise that depending on the BlackBerry software version being used, the features that are accessible will be different. For example, in the software version 3.2, bookmarks, a navigation history list, a cookie cache, a column view, and background downloading are all available features, while in software version 3.8, there is customizable bookmarks, and online form submission. The point being, of course, that each version of the browser software offers something a bit varied and builds upon the previous version.

BlackBerry Browser Content Views

When developing an application, the BlackBerry browser can display your content in a few different ways, but it depends on the device software you are using. The information will either be displayed in column view or page view for device software that is version 4.5 or earlier. It should be pointed out that column view is the default view, but in BlackBerry device software that is version 4.6 or later, page view is the default view.

It’s called column view for a reason - the reason being the fact that your content will be shown vertically in a column width on the screen and any content that exceeds the pre-determined column width will be wrapped. This also applies to table rows. If you’re using a device that supports framesets, the layout of the frameset will be ignored and instead, displayed as the content of each frame vertically in the order in which they’re encountered.

Originally, page view was introduced to BlackBerry’s line of device software in version 4.2.1 and it was intended for BlackBerry’s that featured a trackball, otherwise known as the “pearl” for which that particular BlackBerry got its name. Page view displays pages on a 1024x768 pixel canvas, which are the appropriate dimensions for displaying content specifically designed for computers. Essentially, page view scales the content down to fit the width of the screen. Basically, page view was designed with the intention of displaying desktop-orientated content in a BlackBerry browser window. Developers, keep this in mind: Any content that you created specifically for the BlackBerry browser should notbe displayed in page view.



 
 
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