Here’s a guest post from Christa B. – Ed.
The BlackBerry® 10 Jam World Tour rolled into Cape Town on July 31st, attracting more than 250 developers from around South Africa. The excitement about the BlackBerry® 10 platform among developers in attendance was palpable, with many eager to start developing apps for the forthcoming operating system.
Developers were excited to get together to exchange ideas and hear about the various projects their peers are working on. Many were seeing the new features of the BlackBerry 10 with their own eyes for the first time and they were keen to hear about what other developers were already doing with the platform.
Master of ceremonies, Lelany Sommers, Senior Operations Manager for Africa at RIM®, kicked off the event by welcoming developers in attendance.
She then introduced Alexandra Zagury, MD for South and Southern Africa at RIM, who reaffirmed the strength of RIM’s vision and debunked many myths about the BlackBerry® ecosystem. She spoke about the investments, incentives and programmes we are rolling out for our developer community.
Next up was Rui Brites, Director Product Management for Africa, who talked about the user experience of the new BlackBerry 10 platform, and how it will help customers to be more productive and efficient. He and BlackBerry Developer Evangelist Luca Sale then demonstrated key new features of BlackBerry 10, such as the new intelligent keyboard and intuitive glancing gestures.
During the BlackBerry 10 Architecture session, Michael Weitzel, Technical Partnership Manager for Africa at RIM, showed the audience some new games built entirely in Cascades™ on a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha prototype device. He also demonstrated some source code through the UI preview feature of the Cascade plugin on stage.
One of the highlights of the jam was a series of lightning pitches held during lunchtime, where each developer was given three minutes to present an idea for an app. The audience voted for the best app, and Glenn Stein (@GlennTheStein) won with PhraZApp, a multi-lingual phrasebook for South Africans to easily chat to each other in different languages. He won a BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, a $500 BlackBerry App World™ voucher, and a meeting with a key developer representative from RIM.
The afternoon sessions had two parallel tracks: the Native Track, which covered the basics of building a BlackBerry 10 app, and a Web Track, all about building BlackBerry 10 apps using the BlackBerry® WebWorks™ development platform. Both tracks were very well attended by the developer community.
BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices were given to selected qualifying developers at the Jam, equipping them to test their BlackBerry 10 applications as they build them.
The audience included five students from the recently launched BlackBerry apps lab at the University of Pretoria, which forms part of the BlackBerry Academic Programme (BAP). As part of their curriculum, RIM provides these students with resources and training courses for administering and supporting the BlackBerry solution, as well as developing apps for the BlackBerry platform.
Commenting on the students’ obvious passion for mobile app development, Alexandra Zagury said: “The response from South African developer community – the students especially – has been amazing. We are proud of our cooperation with the University of Pretoria. Among the students participating in BlackBerry 10 Jam, there are certain to be some who will create future killer apps for BlackBerry.”
It was RIM’s pleasure to host developers and share the direction that BlackBerry is heading. We are excited to see what local developers produce for BlackBerry 10 in the months to come.
To see more about the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour in Cape Town, check out this video:
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