Top Tools and Frameworks for BlackBerry, BB10 Developers

As January comes to a close, the world has its eyes on Research in Motion.  Will the Canadian company be able to dazzle consumers with its new line up of BlackBerries?  And will their aggressive campaign to lure developers to their marketplace pay off? RIM will need to attract both buyers and app makers to sell their new hardware and revamped operating system if it hopes to complete with Apple, Google and even Microsoft in an increasingly service-driven mobile market.

RIM’s been working hard to lure mobile developers into its hurting ecosystem, but according to reports, RIM developers are still waiting for the BlackBerry 10 device prototype that has a physical keyboard.  Developers were given the touch screen prototype about a month ago to begin designing apps fit for touchscreen devices.  Now, developers are anxious to get their hands on the Dev Alpha C, the BB10 device with a physical keyboard.

However, the QWERTY keyboard is probably BlackBerry’s most defining feature and may be the reason a lot of consumers stuck with them, despite RIM not being able to release innovative products in recent years.

RIM held its second Port-a-Thon last week and just like the first event, developers are entitled to $100 if they get an app approved.  Each developer can submit as many apps as they wan,t but only 20 apps will be selected.  So if a developer manages to have 20 apps approved, he’s looking at a $2,000 incentive.  Sweetening the pot, RIM will also award the developer a BlackBerry PlayBook, while those with 2-5 apps approved receive the tablet.

Platform developer tools

Aside from the monetary reward for developing for the BB10 platform, RIM’s updated its mobile platform to make it even more attractive to developers.  An open platform, BB10 features a handful of development languages and runtimes that fit with developers’ preferences and skills.   This also makes it easier for developers to port existing apps to BB10, regardless of the language it was written in.

Third-party tools

Appcelerator Titanium – After making its Titanium Blackberry Platform available to the open source community, its seen plenty of activity and notable updates.  Now fully integrated into the Titanium Platform, the new BlackBerry SDK is part of the larger Appcelerator family.  Designed for developers, the Appcelerator portfolio comes with dozens of tools for the creation, syndication and monetization of mobile apps.  This is an important consideration for app makers seeking cross-platform promotion for their products, and Appcelerator has brought in a high profile team experienced in HTML5 to lead the charge.

 PhoneGap – This developer framework is made by Nitobi, later acquired by Adobe.  Pushing HTML5 and JavaScript, PhoneGap helps develpers steer clear of device-specific languages that make little sense in today’s varied market.  PhoneGap also has a cloud complier that aids in the agnostic nature of its framework.

appMobi – Also pushing the HTML5 charge is appMobi.  Helping you create native apps for BlackBerry and other major platforms, appMobi provides tools for creating, testing and tracking app progress.  There’s a marketplace of tools to help you leverage BB10’s native capabilities, to make your app as integrated as possible with RIM devices.

Training tools

If you’re a developer for hardware, software or apps, or want to learn more about them, RIM offers instructor-led training, web-based training, and other training resources such as manuals, help, videos and documentations.

RIM helps you find a training partner so you can better understand the full capabilities of BlackBerry products and services.  But if you’d rather work on your own, you can choose web-based training to go at it on your own pace.