BlackBerry Developer Conference Day One Wrap Up: Adobe Announcements

Dev Con

Following the partnership announcement between Research In Motion and Adobe during the BlackBerry Developer Conference keynote, I managed to sit down with Hossam Bahlool (Manager of Platform Product Management at Research In Motion) and Adrian Ludwig (Group Product Marketing Manager in Adobe’s Platform & Mobile Business Unit) to get the inside scoop. Read my full interview below!

Tell us about today’s announcement.

Hossam: Based on feedback from our design and development communities, Research In Motion and Adobe are partnering to simplify delivery of rich content and applications for BlackBerry® smartphones. This partnership will specifically see RIM and Adobe working together to improve the integration between Adobe Creative Suite and the BlackBerry Application Development tools so that the collaboration during design and development using industry standard tools will be greatly improved.

Adrian: Exactly. We’re working with RIM to build new features in the next version of Adobe Creative Suite that will make it much more efficient to optimize graphics for BlackBerry smartphones – speeding up the design and development of applications. This includes:

  • Improving the sharing of graphics assets between Adobe design tools and BlackBerry developer tools such as the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse
  • Streamlining the UI design process between the designer and developer

What are some of the challenges that designers and developers face when creating user interfaces for web content and applications?

Adrian: In many companies, designing an application user interface is jointly shared by designers and software developers. In many cases, the initial concepts for the user interface are designed in a graphics tool such as industry standards like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.

Once the concept is in place, it might be passed to a development group that attempts to recreate the design in development tools such as the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse, using graphical elements of the designer’s concept. This hand off introduces many challenges:

  • Important design elements may be lost because the concept may not be optimized for an intended mobile platform in terms of color depth, resolution, size and file format.
  • Exchanging assets between the tools can be a complicated process – so often the assets need to be completely recreated.
  • The development team may not be able to replicate a design layout done in a design tool as easily in a development environment.

The result is that producing good application user interfaces is a time-consuming process where the same assets are rebuilt many times, and there are many places where things can go wrong. So that’s why we’re working with RIM – to help eliminate some of the challenges in application design and development for BlackBerry.

What does this mean for the BlackBerry developer, graphic, and web design communities?

Hossam: Our developer community obviously works very closely with designers as they’re creating their applications. This partnership will see the efficiency of that collaboration increase dramatically. BlackBerry application developers will benefit by having more time to spend on developing exciting BlackBerry application features thanks to saving time when it comes to creating UI and mobile web and application graphics.

Adrian: This is a key improvement for graphic and web designers. It will accelerate the mobile application and content development workflow between BlackBerry application and web content developers and creative professionals that use Adobe tools. It will also reduce the re-creation of graphic assets and duplication of effort that designers and developers have to go through to generate rich application user interfaces, animations, images and video content when supporting multiple platforms.

What does this mean to the end user?

Hossam: Building on the release of BlackBerry App World™ in April and exciting new development tools such as BlackBerry Widgets, this partnership will continue our momentum in enabling RIM’s broad BlackBerry developer community and Adobe’s creative community to work together more seamlessly to create compelling and innovative applications. BlackBerry customers can use these applications to truly personalize their BlackBerry experience to meet their needs.

Why are you excited about it?

Hossam: This partnership is a step toward addressing some of the challenges that Adrian just mentioned. We’ll be reducing the time to market to the creation of an application and increasing the efficiency between designers and developers.

Adrian: Precisely. There is so much mobile application and content development happening in the industry now. We’re excited about reducing any challenges along the way. What I’m most excited about is that this is a broad partnership — tooling is not the only thing we’re working on together. A month ago, at Adobe’s developer conference we announced that we’re working to bring Flash Player 10.1 to the BlackBerry platform – and now we’re also working on adapting Adobe Air. All of these efforts will provide new opportunities for building applications and web content for BlackBerry smartphones.

Where can developers and designers see a demo of these workflow enhancements?

Hossam: They can visit the following site on the BlackBerry Developer Zone to get more information and see videos of the demos:
www.blackberry.com/developers/adobe
Adrian: They can also visit the following Adobe sites:
www.adobe.com/go/blackberry

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