BlackBerry WebWorks Webcast Series wrap-up

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BlackBerry WebWorks

Sincere thanks to everyone who joined us for the “Developing using the BlackBerry® WebWorks™ SDK” Webcast series. The recordings for each session of the webinar are available to access online. If you haven’t already done so, please schedule some time to set aside and watch them at your own convenience.

During this series, attendees were presented with a variety of topics, code samples and best practices. The goals of each of these sessions were to provide developers with new information they can use to build great applications for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, as well as enabling them to share the knowledge they learn within their own development communities. Here’s an overview of what each webcast covered:

Webcast Part 1 – Getting Started: Discover the purpose and capabilities of the BlackBerry WebWorks platform. Learn how to setup your development environment and build a “Hello World” application. Understand how to configure and deploy applications to a BlackBerry® Tablet OS virtual machine.

Webcast Part 2 – My First App: Learn how to add visual enhancements and application functionality to your BlackBerry Tablet OS applications using BlackBerry WebWorks. Discover how easy it can be to leverage existing assets in constructing your application. Become more confident and efficient at using the development tools.

Webcast Part 3 – BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Integration: Understand what platform features and supported APIs exist that can be used to add functionality to your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet applications. Discover how to use the BlackBerry WebWorks JavaScript® APIs to integrate your application content with the underlying BlackBerry Tablet OS.

Webcast Part 4 – User Interface Guidelines and Best Practices: Learn how to design great BlackBerry PlayBook tablet applications that optimize the experience for your end users. Incorporate best practices and habits in your development processes to help reduce overall development and troubleshooting time of your BlackBerry WebWorks applications.

As always, our attendees were eager to participate in the discussion, and as a result we held extremely popular Q&A periods at the end of each webcast. Many of these questions have already been posted to the BlackBerry Web Development Community Forum (Webcast #1 Q&A summary and Webcast #2 Q&A summary); however, I wanted to paraphrase and share the five most popular questions asked:

What Web technologies can I use to develop my BlackBerry WebWorks application?
WebKit is the Web rendering engine used to power BlackBerry WebWorks applications on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (and BlackBerry® 6). For a complete listing of supported Web standards, please refer to the BlackBerry browser guides. This includes reference guides for HTML, CSS and JavaScript which detail supported features and elements. As well, developers can make use of custom JavaScript APIs from the BlackBerry WebWorks API collection to integrate their content with the underlying BlackBerry Tablet OS.

How can I use assets from my existing Website, such as a MySQL® database, Web page or Service?
You can use all of this content in your app! A BlackBerry WebWorks application can connect directly to live Web content via direct HTTP or AJAX requests. By combining the power of Web-connected database with RESTful Web services, developers can produce very compelling applications!

What virtual machine players are available to use for running the BlackBerry Tablet OS?
We recommend that Windows developers use VMWare Player, and Mac developers use VMWare Fusion. Understanding that developers are interested in free tools – and that VMWare Fusion is a paid license – we also wanted to share that some Mac developers have reported success using the Open Source Virtual Box. That being said, it is very important to note that our product management and development teams have evaluated VirtualBox already and do not recommend it due to performance and security concerns.

Why does media (audio/video/flash) content not play in the BlackBerry Tablet OS simulator?
This is a known issue that we are working on resolving. The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet simulator currently does not have the proper media codecs necessary for playing audio/video from the BlackBerry Tablet OS. We are very interested in providing developers with this capability and are working closely with VMWare towards a solution.

I received when deploying my app to the BlackBerry Tablet OS simulator – why?
There are a couple possibilities. Please see the following Knowledge Base article for more info: Troubleshooting: Common failure reasons while deploying applications to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet simulator

Thanks again for your interest in using the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK to produce BlackBerry PlayBook tablet applications! Please let me know how your development goes. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, feel free to reply directly to this blog post, send a message via the Web Community Forums, or even mention @BlackBerryDev on Twitter®.

About Adam A.

Adam is a product manager at RIM in the platform product management team. Adam’s focus and responsibility is on setting the strategy and direction of the BlackBerry web platform, including the web developer tooling products. He is also responsible for RIM’s involvement with the Eclipse Foundation and the Pulsar project. Adam hopes this blog will allow him to share his knowledge, viewpoint and passion for BlackBerry, but is really interested in what capabilities the community feels should be added to the web platform and tooling to create even more compelling web applications and content.

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