Using BlackBerry Web Development Plug-ins

Tips and Tricks

Research in Motion (RIM) launched a couple of tools for mobile web developers in July to really close the tooling gap between front end BlackBerry® application development and backend development.  The release of the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft® Visual Studio® 1.2 and BlackBerry Web Development Plug-in for Eclipse 1.0™  is intended to simplify the processes of developing, debugging and profiling mobile web applications.  The plug-ins let you work within a familiar Eclipse or Microsoft Visual Studio environment, and allows for easier JavaScript debugging in your application.  If you’re used to debugging with these specific IDEs, you’ll actually notice that it functions exactly as if you were debugging your backend code, allowing for the same control and menu options.

Figure 1 – Debug controls for Visual Studio

Figure 2 – Debug Controls for Eclipse

The plug-ins allow developers to set breakpoints and step through code just as with normal backend code.  The look and feel of the IDE’s when debugging your JavaScript is identical to stepping through .net or Java code.

Figure 3 – Debugging in Visual Studio

Figure 4 – Debugging in Eclipse

The plug-ins also enable developers to profile web applications.  There are a number of windows and tools that really maximize and optimize the web application performance.  They offer various tools to find out where any bottlenecks may be occurring when loading content and images, as well as displaying XML HTTP Response objects when you’re using AJAX on your website.

Another really cool feature of the plug-ins is that they enable remote website debugging, as if it were your own site running locally.  Web content is pulled down from a server (the Visual Studio internal server or the server running in Eclipse for local content), with the debugger then attached to those files.  This really helps when building web applications in teams, as you can easily pull down the content from someone else’s web page and debug.

More information on the plug-ins can be found on the BlackBerry® Developer Zone, with some videos and tutorials to help get started using the plug-ins.

This will definitely be an area of the BlackBerry web development toolset you’ll want to keep an eye on in the near future!

Download BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio v1.2

Download BlackBerry Web Development Plug-in for Eclipse 1.0

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