The Java platform is ideal for any developer who wants to create rich client apps, because it is capable of providing the most flexibility and power. The possibilities are literally endless because Java can be used to create a wide array of applications that feature a broad reach in terms of functionality. Whether you want to create games or corporate apps, itís all possible using Java.
Java development enables users to take advantage of many BlackBerry smartphone features, such as the camera, GPS and Bluetooth, and integrate those features seamlessly with already-existing BlackBerry apps such as the address book, calendar, and maps features. The only downfall -- if it could even be called that -- is the fact that Java provides greater functionality, which also requires the developer to have certain skill requirements.
Java application development is not the kind of thing you can jump into headfirst and learn along the way, though in truth if you even have a modicum of programming experience, you should have no trouble. You have to be somewhat familiar with how Java works, which is why itís only recommended that you develop apps for BlackBerry using Java if you are already somewhat familiar with Java application development.
Because Java isnít really the kind of thing you can pick up during a marathon learning session over the course of one day, we will concern ourselves instead with simply becoming familiar with Java application development: what it entails, what tools it utilizes, and what it offers you as a developer.
BlackBerry and Java Overview
Every single application for the BlackBerry has been written in JavaME, and all BlackBerry devices support MIDP 1.0 and CLDC 1.0. Smartphones running BlackBerry Device Software v4.0 or higher support MIDP 2.0/CLDC1.1.
The biggest pull of using Java for application development is its ability to develop rich client apps, which is something we touched on earlier. The APIs available on BlackBerry devices enable a developer to create apps that provide customizable user interfaces, event listening, system interfaces, secure wireless transport, local data storage, and seamless roaming support, among other things.
Creating a BlackBerry app in Java has never been so easy, as RIM provides users with all the tools, labs and tutorials necessary to learn the basics of BlackBerry development. In order to get started as a BlackBerry developer, you will need to become accustomed to using these tools, understanding how they work and what they are capable of doing.
Java Development Tools
Research in Motion (the creator of the BlackBerry) has created top notch tools to be used for BlackBerry development. These tools enable developers to create world class applications like never before. As a matter of fact, the tools are so impressive that theyíre the same ones used by in-house BlackBerry developers. Thankfully though, these tools are also provided to the development community at no cost.
BlackBerryís Java Development Environment (JDE) is an integrated environment that houses RIMís APIs, smartphone simulators, and the BlackBerry signing authority tool. It is available as both a standalone tool and a plugin for Eclipse. As a developer, you should consider the environment your playground and the tools your toys; the more imaginative you are, the more amazing your apps can turn out to be. After all, thereís no excuse when Java is providing you with everything you could possibly need to not only create a well-running app, but a world class one at that.