Around last month, Blackberry introduced debug tokens that can be used to test/debug applications for developers in the Playbook. My good friend Mitch, wrote a blogpost on how to use the debug token. He describes the entire process in four steps
- Initial Requirements, which involves checking whether you have all the files necessary.
- Command Line and Terminal, instructions to create and install your debug token onto your playbook.
- Preparing your App for Debug Mode, which requires some small changes to your blackberry-tablet.xml file.
- Publish to Blackberry Playbook, which involves creating your .BAR file and sending it to your device.
Read the entire post here
As I had mentioned in my previous post, I wrote an AIR application for the Blackberry Playbook, the newest of the tablets that run Flash. I got a Blackberry Playbook device yesterday and these are my early impressions –
1. Great hardware build and finish. When you have it in your hands, you get a good feeling. It’s not heavy and it feels right.
2. Though launching one year after the launch of iPad, it equals the hardware of the second iPad or iPad2. It has dual cameras, Bluetooth, HDMI connection ports. So the device on the whole is very sophisticated.
3. What the Playbook lacks is the services around it. It does not have a preinstalled E-mail client or a native facebook or twitter application. There are still many categories in the store that are malnutritioned- without apps or content.
However I think the third point will be tackled soon as..
— Android and Java application players will soon be coming to Playbook in a software update, due in summer. This means Android and Java apps just need to be packaged for the Playbook and they will run smoothly on the Playbook. This is an excellent initiative by RIM as it brings a large community of developers with tons of games, apps into the Playbook ecosystem.
— When I was working with Blackberry toolkit in December / January it was primitive versions of the SDK that lacked signing and other features. It was not all that developer friendly. I remember in late February, SDK 0.9.3 was released which had tools to sign the apps and RIM have been regularly improving the SDKs (which had both good and bad effects). Around last week, RIM released SDK 1.0.1 and image, which is the firmware currently running on the device. Before this it was hard for developers to gauge platform specific features like contextual menu ( Playbook’s menu appears on a swipe from top of the screen), accelerometer or GPS. Hence, developers couldn’t experiment much. Today, with a mature set of tools and simulators and some devices in the market, I expect the apps to grow.
I have also started working on a game for the Blackberry Playbook using Flash, of course.
Paul Trani, an Adobe Evangelist here describes the different contextual gestures that are possible on the Blackberry tablet – Playbook. He describes how to design and plan layouts that would best suit for the portrait and landscape orientations of the Playbook.
Additionally, the tablet has specific gestures like the Xoom. The bezels of the Playbook are sensitive to touch and act as an important interaction in the tablet’s portfolio.
The complete article is worth a read…
I have been quite busy over the last 1 month that I couldn’t spare sometime on blogging. The reason can be attributed to a lot of things
1. Rapid innovations and new toolkits in the Flash platform.
2. The new Nokia Microsoft deal
3. Cricket World Cup 😉
There are a lot of good reasons to develop for the Playbook. One is that, all SWFs that run on the computer / web can be wrapped into an application seamlessly. And Playbook’s hardware and initial showcases have been impressive. The device seems solid. Blackberry has been encouraging developers to code for their platform and have been offering a free playbook upon a successful submission. Blackberry understands that apps in the marketplace are essential for the success of a platform. And to overtake Apple’s iPad, they need to have a launch with a marketplace ready with diversified content. One also has to remember that Playbook is equivalent to iPad 2’s hardware (has dual cameras) and is hence not behind in the race.
Anyways, so I created an app for the Playbook that can be used to watch TED videos. I used the TED RSS and it’s published for free. In future, I will be adding newer features to it. Previously, there were loose ends in the process of testing and signing the content for the Playbook. The toolchain has been improving and we are now seeing more blogs writing about it (one is this by Hemanth). Adobe will shortly be releasing a more streamlined process for development. Additionally, Blackberry was taking quite some time to give any response on the submission of apps. It took me 30+ days for the TED app to get approved. Now the approval times have been drastically reduced to nearly 1 week only. Since, my content has been approved I will be receiving a Playbook after its launch. I shall later attach screenshots of my app.
I must also say about 2 things that has not been highlighted adequately
1. There is a package of UI, media and other components that have been designed and developed by Adobe + Blackberry to suit the Playbook and the QNX platform. It is better to use these components when targeting the playbook.
2. The community at Blackberry developer site is hyper brisk. I think there are people answering queries with sleepless nights ! You generally get answers in less than 20 mins time. I used these, when I had initial difficulty with signing and packaging and found them to be really useful.
With Nokia going into deals with Micrsoft, it means that Flash Lite’s future in diminishing. Symbian had good support for Flash Lite. But I do believe that Flash Lite is a good platform to target the millions of devices that are today in the market and more that will continue to ship over the next few years. My latest game on the Ovi store, HAPPY SUN has been doing very well. It is also being featured by the Ovi store. Being a Forum Nokia Champion and an avid Flash enthusiast, I hope that Flash soon makes its way into WP7.
I am also attending the Adobe Refresh Singapore event tomorrow. Really hoping to catch up with dev friends.
Christophe Coenraets here demonstrates execution of the employee database application developed in Flex, on three devices viz – Android phone, Samsung Tab and the Playbook tablet.
See the video here –