Urban Airship and BlackBerry 10

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If you have ever implemented Push across multiple platforms, then you have no doubt heard of Urban Airship, which offers a service to centralize and manage pushes to all devices. This greatly simplifies the process of managing and maintaining data delivery to a single application across a wide array of mobile environments.

Urban Airship officially supports iOS, Android, Helium for Windows, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry OS 7.1 and earlier. Every platform offers “push” in their own unique way, so traditionally you would need to tailor your server-side development uniquely for each platform being targeted. This can be a huge pain, especially when you need to do things like add new functionality, track currently-registered devices, determine the format for all the various push types and queries, and so on. With Urban Airship, you can have all devices from any of the supported platforms register against your online account; after that, all you need to do is interface with the Urban Airship server using relatively simple JSON-formatted commands to send data to any device that has your application installed. As if that wasn’t easy enough, there are also server libraries in a variety of flavors to speed up and simplify the process.

As you may have read in my previous blog post, from the server-side of things nothing has changed with respect to BlackBerry Push Services — if you have a server-side application that pushes to BlackBerry devices running OS 7.1 and earlier, the same application is fully capable of pushing to a BlackBerry 10 application. With that in mind, you may already realize that this means that the server portion of Urban Airship is already fully capable of pushing to BlackBerry 10; the only portion that is missing is the client-side. Today I am happy to announce that we have just published a BlackBerry 10 sample application using the Cascades framework to GitHub which demonstrates registering the device with an Urban Airship account so that it can begin receiving data pushes.

This sample handles the registration of the device with the device Push Notification Service, BlackBerry Push Services, and then finally with your specified Urban Airship account. Once completed, you can then log in to your Urban Airship control panel and begin sending test push messages to your newly registered BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha testing device.

All account information is housed in one class to make modifying for your application as easy as possible — simply open UrbanAirshipAPI.cpp and modify the static string values here with those assigned for your application. After this is done, it should be as easy as compiling and running the application on a live device to begin testing out Urban Airship push notifications on BlackBerry 10.

Note: You will need to ensure your code signing keys have push permissions applied.

The UrbanAirshipAPI cpp and hpp files can also be added to your own application to easily add Urban Airship registration support.

If you have an Urban Airship account already and would like to start targeting BlackBerry 10 applications with your existing services, you can request access to an evaluation BlackBerry Push Services account here. On the flip side, should you already have a BlackBerry Push Services account and would like to explore the offerings of Urban Airship to either expand or consolidate your push offerings, you can request an account here.

For more information, please refer to the following resources:

GitHub Cascades-Community-Samples
BlackBerry Push Services overview
BlackBerry Push Services Documentation
Urban Airship home page

About garett

Garett is a member of the Developer Relations team and has been with BlackBerry since 2008. He specializes in app monetization (Payment, Advertising, Analytics SDKs) and Push development. He is one of the individuals involved with the forums (gbeukeboom), Issue Tracker and can be found tweeting from @BlackBerryDev with the ^GB signature.

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