One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

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We’ve been talking a lot lately about native development, web development, and our Cascades™ UI framework – but one topic that has been noticeably absent is theme development. From the tweets coming into @BlackBerryDev and from discussions with developers at BlackBerry® 10 Jam World Tours and BlackBerry Jam Americas, there are two main questions: Where is Theme Studio 7, and will we be able to make themes for BlackBerry 10?

I’m going to answer both – starting with BlackBerry 10. The short answer is no – there will be no Theme Studio product for BlackBerry 10 and there will be no theme support in the BlackBerry 10 OS. We’ve worked diligently over the last year and a half with our design team to create a new user interface – focused around the idea of “flow”. While there are some great themes built for the current BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10 is designed to provide users a unique experience that can be personalized in other ways, but will have a consistent look and feel in iconography and settings.

Our resources are focused on delivering a best in the industry developer experience and an astonishing end user experience. We’ve been wrestling with this decision for a while – but based on multiple factors, we’ve made the decision to not release Theme Studio 7. Once we looked at the final product, it was clear to us that it didn’t address theme developer needs or asks. In addition, feedback from our Theme Studio beta testers showed us that the quality of the tooling would not be acceptable.

Many theme developers have been using Theme Studio 6 to create themes for BlackBerry OS 7 and 7.1 devices. We even documented the process in a two-part series here on the blog. We encourage you to continue to explore the opportunities of BlackBerry 7 as our subscriber base has grown to 80 million globally.

What’s the silver lining? One word – Cascades. The work that you, our theme developers, have done in Theme Studio shows how amazing your creative talents are. We encourage you to unleash that creativity on BlackBerry 10 using Cascades to create stunning UI animations in apps. We have a number of resources on Cascades that can help you, and we encourage you to reach out for support from our dev relations team in our forums, on Twitter®, and at our events.

Most recently, here are sessions available from BlackBerry Jam Americas:

JAM65 – BlackBerry 10 Visual Style
JAM07 – Extreme Agile UX with Cascades
JAM09 – Fundamentals of the Cascades UI Framework
JAM04 – UI/UX: Finding your Flow

In addition, we have number of samples, help blogs, and webinars on Cascades, and we encourage you to look at the opportunities BlackBerry 10 app development offers. This includes our Built for BlackBerry and 10k Guarantee program.

This was not an easy decision to make and we know this isn’t easy for theme developers to hear, but we appreciate everything you’ve done – and are continuing to do – for the BlackBerry ecosystem. We hope you’ll join us in our new chapter as we’re committed to providing the most compelling mobile computing experience with the commercial launch of BlackBerry 10.

About Tim N.

Tim leads Application Platform & Tools Product Management at Research In Motion. This includes APIs, Frameworks and Tools for the BlackBerry Platform. He can be found hanging out in the development forums or Twitter (@brcewane) trying to help out where he can and to bring your feedback into the next releases of BlackBerry tooling. You’ll also see Tim presenting various topics at the BlackBerry Developer Conferences and BlackBerry World so be sure to stop by and say hi. Just don’t start talking about cars or Batman or you won’t be able to get rid of him.

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