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Theme Builder - Smartphone Development

Before we can discuss how to make the most of BlackBerry’s rich media capabilities, it’s important to have a firm understanding of what rich media is and how it’s characterized. We'll start with an explanation of what it is exactly, and then go on to cover what you can do with the Plasmic Content Developer's Kit.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Getting Started with Rich Media
  2. Theme Builder
  3. The Composer
By: Joe eitel
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September 02, 2009

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The Plazmic theme builder allows developers to customize elements on a BlackBerry device’s user interface, such as the banners, home screen icons, backgrounds, indicators, and the fonts and colors for lists and menus, among other things. The theme builder comes equipped with a number of catalogs that are put in place to assist in the organization of project resources, such as images and colors that developers may want to utilize later. Catalogs also include sample resources that can be reused.

Ideally, a BlackBerry developer should be using BlackBerry’s smartphone simulator anyway, as it helps test and debug applications before they get distributed. The simulator is also particularly useful as it pertains to the Plazmic kit’s theme builder, however, because it enables developers to test new themes on the desktop before they are distributed to a BlackBerry device.

The Plazmic theme builder also comes equipped with a workspace, which includes a viewing area that showcases how the developer’s theme appears on a selected BlackBerry device. The workspace also includes buttons that enable the developer to design each customizable element and area, such as the banners, home screen, and global user interface elements. And last, but not least, the workspace also includes tools that can be used to arrange and resize any elements on a BlackBerry screen.

Creating rich media content for BlackBerry apps has obviously become a whole lot easier thanks to BlackBerry’s Plazmic Content Developers Kit. Aside from the benefits already discussed, the theme builder also allows developers to:

  • Design and develop completely unique user interfaces, home screens, backgrounds, banner icons, buttons, wallpaper, and fonts.

  • Customize banners, with the ability to design full-screen banners while hiding individual banner items. Developers can now also resize, reposition, and redesign banner icons for their custom themes.

  • Customize backgrounds for each phone screen and home screen.

  • Customize the home and lock screen with animation utilizing SVG files.

  • Save commonly used colors and images for re-use with the theme builder catalog.

  • Include multiple web links in themes and provide links to web pages from the app screen.

  • Customize the cursor navigation path by creating rules for the cursor navigation.

  • Test themes for a device type before distributing apps to actual devices with the use of the BlackBerry Smartphone Simulator.

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