Many of the press announcements today at the BlackBerry® Developer Conference focused upon new BlackBerry developer tools. After the keynote, I made sure to seek out Tim Neil, Development Tools Manager at Research In Motion. Tim made quite a scene during the keynote today by editing code live during his presentation, so I knew he’d give me some exciting answers about development tools.
Describe what the Development Tools team does.
Tim: It’s our job to provide software that aids in BlackBerry application development or that integrates with standardized development environments. Our goal is to be invisible within your development process, only placing BlackBerry specific elements where they need to be in your tools. Think of it like special effects teams in movie development – the best ones are those you never notice.
With that description in mind, I asked Tim to discuss a few of the tooling announcements and why they’re important.
BlackBerry Java Plug-In for Eclipse v1.1 Beta:
I’m really excited about this announcement because it is a major shift in our approach to Eclipse support. Developers will be excited with this release because we have shed many of our propriety BlackBerry Java Development Environment methodologies to better fit within the Eclipse workflow. Developers should now be able to manage their BlackBerry Java development projects in the exact same way they manage other Java development projects in Eclipse.
The GUI builder is very important for both ease of development and providing BlackBerry UI and styling best practices, especially as more and more developers start to work on the BlackBerry platform. Developers who are familiar with the platform will love this tool for its ability to quickly prototype and mock up functionality. The GUI Builder will be available in a future version of the BlackBerry Java Plug-In for Eclipse.
Application Hot-Swapping in BlackBerry Simulator v5.0:
This is an exciting feature because it allows developers to keep the simulator open and simply swap out the application when making changes. This will be a useful feature for both BlackBerry Widget and Java development tooling.
Tim told me that today’s announcements really allow anyone to use these tools to build for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Get building!