How to Install the Blackberry Simulator and Visual Studio Plug-In

It seems as if the smartphone revolution is upon us. Gone are the days where cell phones were simply used to make calls. Now, they can plan your life, allow you to stay in touch with loved ones, ensure that you’re always connected to all things work-related (which may or may not be a good thing), and give us directions to the nearest Thai restaurant, among other tasks. The leader of the smartphone pack can officially be declared the BlackBerry, which is well known for its addictive quality.

It was recently reported that the BlackBerry Curve is outselling the iPhone, which is an incredibly difficult task when you consider the number of Apple fanatics in existence and the wild popularity the iPhone has experienced since its release in June of 2007.

The BlackBerry obviously comes equipped with an endless array of cool apps and awesome features, but it’s also important to understand how the phone is capable of providing you with those features and how those features can be used to serve your business needs. Here we will learn how BlackBerry developers can install the BlackBerry simulator and Visual Studio plug-in, but before we do that we’ve got to run through a quick lesson on what an integrated development environment (IDE) is and how is applies to the installation of the Visual Studio plug-in. Let’s get started…

Simply put, IDE’s, otherwise known as integrated development environments or integrated debugging environments, are a software suite of developments tools that provide comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. An IDE normally consists of a source code editor, compiler and/or interpreter, build automation tools, and a debugger. So, why is an IDE so important to the BlackBerry? Well, a BlackBerry Java IDE exists (JDE), which can be used to develop applications for the BlackBerry smartphone.

The BlackBerry Java Development Environment (BlackBerry JDE) is a fully integrated development environment and simulation tool for building Java Platform, Micro Edition applications for Java based BlackBerry smartphones. It is a Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) compliant Java ME environment for developers who wish to maintain seamless portability in their wireless applications. Some of the awesome features that the BlackBerry’s JDE allows for include the BlackBerry Storm simulator, touch screen support, orientation and rotation support, which means your apps can react to the changes in rotation of the smartphone based on your movement, the virtual keyboard, themed wallpaper, and camera and media integration enhancements, among other things. As you can see, the BlackBerry JDE allows programmers to create programs that benefit the users smartphone experience.

{mospagebreak title=BlackBerry Simulator}

In all honesty, installing a BlackBerry simulator and the Visual Studio plug-in is as simple as going to a website and downloading the necessary software and programs- which we’ll get to in a moment, but it’s important to first understand what the purpose of these things are and how they can better your BlackBerry development experience.

BlackBerry Device Simulators are used to demonstrate and test how applications work on a given device model and software version. In other words, having a simulator in your developer toolkit is absolutely necessary if you want to get the most out of your phone as possible- and who doesn’t? These simulators will also simulate behavior in various wireless network conditions. BlackBerry Device Simulators are also excellent for testing, training, and using in presentations.

When integrated with the BlackBerry Java Development Environment we discussed earlier, BlackBerry Device Simulators can run and debug applications developed in the BlackBerry JDE. It’s also important to point out that each simulator package represents a publicly available application version and contains simulators for multiple BlackBerry smartphones.

In order to get the Visual Studio plug-in, which we’ll discuss next, you must register for access to the BlackBerry Developer Community. Once you’ve completed the registration form, you will need to download the newest edition of the Bold simulator, which works in conjunction with the Visual Studio plug-in.

Visual Studio Plug-In

Now that you have become a registered user of the BlackBerry site, you will be able to access and download the Visual Studio plug-in for your BlackBerry. Aside from Windows XP, which many of us have anyhow, the other system requirement needed to download the software is Microsoft’s standard edition Visual Studio . The Visual Studio is a comprehensive suite of tools designed to help software developers create innovative, next-gen applications. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition provides a full-featured development environment for Windows and Web developers. Not only that, but it enables productivity enhancements for building data-driven client and Web applications. Individual developers looking to create connected applications with next-generation user experiences will find Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition to be a perfect fit. The software costs a whopping $299 at the Microsoft site, but can be found elsewhere for as little as $160.

The BlackBerry Microsoft Visual Studio plug-in allows ASP.Net developers to leverage existing Microsoft-based developer tools to create and debug web projects for BlackBerry smartphones. Developers working within a .NET programming environment can also maintain the benefits of their tools-of-choice in order to easily create superior web content and applications. It goes without saying that countless developers use the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio, but why is this plug-in so popular? Simply put: it allows them to enjoy simplified web development, debugging, and profile all with a single tool. Very few devices on the market, if any, are so well designed and created with developers and businesses in mind. Another much-appreciated perk that developers are constantly raving about is the BlackBerry simulators capability to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Visual Studio for optimized web development debugging and profiling.

{mospagebreak title=New Web Development Enhancements}

The BlackBerry plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio (version 1.2) comes equipped with a wide array of new features. Here is a look at some of the most up-to-date enhancements:


  • Support is available for debugging web projects with BlackBerry smartphone simulators

  • Setting Breakpoints on JavaScript code

  • Seamless integration into Locals and Watch Windows



  • Visibility into the content of XMLHttpRequest requests and response data

  • Visibility into data traffic for web-based content, including elements such as images, CSS, JavaScript, HTML

  • Reporting on time-to-load for web-based content, including elements such as images, CSS, JavaScript, HTML



  • BlackBerry® Bold™ smartphone simulator now included as the default simulator for ASP.NET projects

  • Ability to install v1.2 alongside v1.1 to debug and simulate BlackBerry® MDS Runtime projects

As you can see, installing the BlackBerry simulator and the Microsoft Visual Studio plug-in is a piece of cake. And now that you better understand what BlackBerry has to offer, you can truly take advantage of its features to create powerful, engaging smartphone apps.  

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