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Get Your Java On - Smartphone Development

BlackBerries, on more than once occasion, have been called the phones of the future. In a world where multi-tasking has become a necessary life skill, that factoid should come as no surprise. People need their phones to be as multi-functional as possible, and a phone that simply makes phone calls is a thing of the past. Thanks to BlackBerry, a “smartphone” has become a necessary tool in the development and general maintenance of both small businesses and major corporations. This is where BlackBerry developers come into play. Whether it is your intention to leverage the standards-based BlackBerry platform and developer tools to create applications that are just right for your organization or you’re looking to branch out and create solutions for other companies, there are a few things you should know before you begin to seriously consider becoming a BlackBerry developer.

  1. What You Need to Know to Get Started as a BlackBerry Developer
  2. Get Your Java On
  3. Get Acquainted with the BlackBerry Platform
By: Joe eitel
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June 10, 2009

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All development for recent BlackBerry models is done exclusively in Java. Here's how it works: an integrated development environment (IDE) is also sometimes called an integrated design environment or integrated debugging environment. An IDE provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development, and usually consists of a source code editor, compiler and/or interpreter, build automation tools, and a debugger. The BlackBerry Java Development Environment (BlackBerry JDE) is a fully integrated development environment and simulation tool for building Java Micro Edition applications for Java-based BlackBerry smartphones. You can create web applications without knowing Java, but to create truly feature-rich client based applications, you will want to brush up on your Java.

Those of you that are C# programmers will probably find the transition to Java fairly simple, because the languages are very similar in many respects. As a developer, it is not necessary to learn the newest Java features because the BlackBerry platform is built on top of Java Micro Edition (Java ME), which is itself a derivative of Java version 1.3. Thankfully, you can clear your mind of all things related to generics, enumerations, etc. because you can't use these in BlackBerry programming anyhow. Also, you probably won't be able to use a number of the library classes you're familiar with because they're simply not there. That being said, small subsets of the Java Standard Edition (Java SE) classes are supported, along with a number of BlackBerry-specific classes.

Once you've brushed up on your Java, it would be a very good idea to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the Java ME platform, which was formerly known as Java 2 Micro Edition or "J2ME" for short. Focus on understanding the concepts of configurations and profiles, as well as the CLDC and mobile information device profile (MIDP) standards. The design process for MIDP applications, which are small Java programs for portable devices like cell phones, largely resembles designing software for any platform. With MIDP, however, you'll manage a few points in the design process a bit differently.

Developing for the Web

It should be pointed out that you can also use BlackBerry technology to develop for the web. There is a BlackBerry Web Development Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio that can provide developers with the tools necessary to profile, debug and test code within the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment. With these highly useful BlackBerry web development plug-ins, developers are able to use tools they're already familiar with for web development, while also working with the BlackBerry plug-ins that enable them to further develop code and test it in the BlackBerry browser.

Developers can also use the smartphone simulator to load and test their web pages in the BlackBerry browser. The BlackBerry Smartphone Simulator includes the BlackBerry device apps that are usually available on BlackBerry phones. Also, by using the Microsoft Visual Studio, developers can debug, set break points, and step through inline JavaScript in HTML documents.

>>> More Smartphone Development Articles          >>> More By Joe eitel

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