BlackBerry JDE v4.7 Feature Enhancements - Smartphone Development
BlackBerry’s Java Development Environment (JDE) is crucial for a developer to understand, because it's the heart and soul of the development process. The JDE is a fully-integrated development environment and simulation tool for building Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) applications. BlackBerry’s JDE is a Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) compliant Java ME environment, which is ideal for developers who want to uphold seamless portability in their wireless applications.
Aside from containing the BlackBerry Storm smartphone simulator, the new JDE v4.7 also features touchscreen support. Any application that was designed using the MIDP User Interface or the BlackBerry User Interface will now have what essentially amounts to built-in support for touchscreen input. Even more impressively, any applications that utilized custom user interfaces will also be able to receive the input events from gestures, taps, and swipes.
BlackBerry's new and improved Java Development Environment now also features orientation and rotation support, meaning your applications can react to any changes in rotation to the smartphone. This of course is based on your own movement, but this support enables any application to reconfigure its screens and do custom processing based on movements or rotations.
If you were hoping for more developments in the moving department, the accelerometer support featured in the new BlackBerry JDE v4.7 allows support for motions that go well beyond a simple rotation. This is how it works: the application can query the accelerometer sensor, which retrieves data from the x, y, and z axis. This will enable the smartphone to sense 360-degree motion.
Another new feature is the virtual keyboard API. Essentially, this feature supports the ability of an app to show (or hide) the virtual keyboard on the device on a per-screen basis. Basically, this gives the application the ability to determine when the keyboard should or shouldn't be visible to the user.
The next two features may not be at the top of a user's list in terms of importance or relevance to their use, but they're worth pointing out. BlackBerry's Java Development Environment now has Digital Rights Management APIs, meaning that applications can now install certificates on any -- or all -- DRM- protected content. Also, with the set theme wallpaper feature, applications can now set the home screen wallpaper of a BlackBerry smartphone device. It may not be as impressive as the other features, but it is certainly useful and fun.
There are many developers anxious to hear about the BlackBerry JDE v4.7 camera and media integration enhancements. Admittedly, it's here where some of the most progressive enhancements were made. New APIs featured on the v4.7 now enable developers to take full advantage of several noteworthy enhancements, including image targeting, which enables a user to send an image taken in the camera application to a specific target. Basically, this means that the feature allows an app to register as a handler of that particular image during the time it is being sent. Also, when a custom app is registered as a handler for specific content, that app will then receive a "sent to" menu item from the BlackBerry's media application. And lastly, video recording. This new feature enables applications to bring up the video recorder app, which will then enable the user to capture video.
The new and improved Java Development Environment does of course come with some technical requirements. These requirements include: Windows 2000 SP1 or later or Windows XP or Windows Vista, along with BlackBerry JDE v4.5+: Java SE JDK v6.0, BlackBerry JDE v4.2.1 and v4.3.0: Java SE JDK v5.0 or v6.0, BlackBerry JDE v4.1 and v4.2: Java SE JDK v5.0, as well as BlackBerry JDE v4.0 and v4.0.2: Java SE SDK v1.4. It seems complicated, but you're just a few simple downloads away from being able to play with the new JDE. Also, BlackBerry JDE Component Packages include a division of utilities found in the full BlackBerry JDE. These components are required for the development of third-party applications using external integrated development environments (IDE).
You might also consider JDE 5.0, currently in its Beta form. It features a new set of APIs, including support for SQLite and the improved BrowserField API, as well as simplified wireless connectivity (both for the Internet and intranets), customizable user interfaces, support for push content, support for Multiple ContactList, and much more. For a full breakdown of features, check out the JDE 5.0 page here .