When Javier D’Accorso learned about the Desafío BlackBerry contest last March, the longtime developer decided to participate and develop an application for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet. After partnering with graphic designer Damian Hadyi, D’Accorso leveraged Adobe AIR to develop an interactive children’s storybook application that has become popular in both his native Argentina as well as around the world.
D’Accorso talked about the benefits of receiving ongoing support from the RIM® team in Argentina, the speed and straightforward nature of developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, and the features he was able to easily integrate into the app.
Q: How important is the support you’ve received from the RIM team in Argentina?
Javier: BlackBerry smartphones are extremely popular in Argentina and as a result there is a great group of BlackBerry developers and forums in the country. It’s important in any community to have the opportunity to ask questions, learn from others and be recognized for what you do. RIM has done a wonderful job enabling that exchange of information.
I actually developed the Perico Pirata children’s storybook application for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet as part of the ‘Desafío BlackBerry’ challenge. A really important moment in the development process was my participation in the Buenos Aires Hackathon. I interacted with industry experts and formed ongoing relationships with a number of RIM gurus, who I continue to work with. Thanks to their experience and rapid responses, I’ve been able to incorporate lots of functionality into the application. This level of personal interaction is something you don’t find working with other platforms, where you need to look through dozens of forums to get any answers.
Q: Describe your experience developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet?
Javier: My partner and I combined storybook elements with the powerful technology of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and quickly saw how we could make something simple yet appealing. I analyzed the distinct programming languages and decided to develop using Adobe AIR, which was an excellent decision. It was amazing just how easy it was to implement all of our ideas. I barely had to do anything to make a compilation for the BlackBerry PlayBook and the animation ran smoothly and quickly. I was extremely impressed by the hardware on the BlackBerry PlayBook – the performance and graphics were incredible and it was very easy to incorporate the level of interaction that we wanted.
The Perico Pirata children’s storybook application took us about a month to develop. That’s including the last two weeks, which was time that we used to gather feedback from having the app tested by family and friends. I believe that anyone working with Flash on the web, or with another mobile platform, should try developing for the PlayBook because it’s so easy.
Q: What are some of the features that you’ve been able to incorporate into the application?
Javier: We heard from parents who tried the app and they agreed that it would be great to be able to interact with the microphone. I was able to tweak the functionality so the user could speak to the characters in the application and hear their voices as they responded. I checked online to learn how to make the appropriate changes in Adobe AIR and we had them done within a day or so. I was also impressed with how easy it was to integrate the camera. After referring to the available documentation, the app had full, camera functionality.
Q: Do you plan on developing games for the BlackBerry 10 platform?
Javier: Absolutely. There are a few children’s games I’ve worked on in conjunction with some big entertainment and production companies that I would love to bring onto the BlackBerry 10 platform. I’ve been researching the BlackBerry 10 SDK for Adobe AIR and I’m excited for the great functionality that the new platform will offer. My experience developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has been so straightforward and the performance has been incredible. I think this next stage will be just as simple and powerful.