DC BlackBerry Dev Day and Hackathon – Recap

Dev Con


Here’s Rich from our Enterprise Mobility Architect team reporting on the recent BlackBerry® Dev Day and Hackathon in Washington, D.C.!

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to welcome a group of developers to the DC office of Research In Motion® (RIM®) for a BlackBerry Dev Day and Hackathon focused on HTML5. We had a great turnout for the full day event, with attendees from federal government agencies, government contractors, and intergovernmental organizations in the Beltway region. Developer skill levels also varied greatly in terms of previous coding experience. Many had never worked web technologies before and were surprised at how easy it was to code using the HTML5 and BlackBerry® WebWorks™ tooling. Participant Darrion Beckles, a contractor for the NIH, said, “I definitely want to learn more about programming! I’m interested in it now – now that I’ve gotten to meet some other programmers.”

I started the day by giving an overview on developing BlackBerry applications, and I didn’t neglect to mention the continued growth of the BlackBerry App World™ storefront over the past year. I also talked about the importance of HTML5 in building cross-platform experiences for both the BlackBerry® 7 OS and BlackBerry® 10 platforms. The Hackathon was a great opportunity for the attendees to gain some hands-on coding experience with tools such as BlackBerry WebWorks, bbui.js, AliceJS, the Ripple emulator, and BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablets.

I was very impressed by the apps the various teams were able to produce in just one afternoon! Considering again how many participants were working with bbUI.js for the first time, the developers seemed comfortable with the tooling. They were excited to present their apps, which included one that allowed you to challenge and compete against other BlackBerry users to become the “Titan-Berry” or the “Wack-Berry.”

Our winning team was from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), who used bbUI.js (with no previous experience) to build a GPS-based app that displayed the air quality index. “It gives the air quality for today, tomorrow, and the day after…so that [users] can decide whether to stay indoors and what activities to do,” said Desmond Andrades, a member of the winning team.


The winning app!

In the end, I definitely thought the day flew by, and it was a good balance of high productivity mixed in with lots of fun moments. It is exciting to see the enterprise developer community in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area diving into our latest tooling, and I look forward to seeing more custom apps in the future!


RIM Team and the winning app developers! From left to right: Rich Balsewich, John Mutter, Deepak Srivastava, Desmond Andrades, Hyunjun Jung

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