I met Imed Amri at the BlackBerry booth at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. He is an engineer and professor at the Esprit engineering school in Tunis, Tunisia. He had strong interest in our upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, with its focus towards Open Standards and Open Source. He appreciated our new developer commitment and expressed a strong will for cooperation between Tunisian mobile developers and RIM and thus was born the idea of creating the first BlackBerry Developer Group in Tunisia.
A few weeks later, I met Salma and Sana in Paris during the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour. They are both professors on Imed’s team. They agreed to lead the creation of the BlackBerry Developer Group in Tunis and, with our help, provide the local developers in Tunis with a BlackBerry 10 Mini-Jam. They returned home and with the help of my colleague Jean-Paul they managed to find a sponsor and were able to get t-shirts, badges, room decoration, catering, etc… financed, without the need to stress the school budget.
I arrived in Tunis on November 27th and was picked up by Hamza, one of the BlackBerry Developer Group members. We drove to the venue and I found a large crowd of young people still very busy completing the decorations, testing the A/V setup. The next day we kicked off the Jam day with a short presentation by the school director who thanked BlackBerry for being his guest and stressed out the need for more international cooperation… we presented on the BlackBerry 10 Experience & Architecture and talked about the diversity and the openness of the BlackBerry 10 Platform. 200+ developers were very engaged by asking questions and enjoying live Cascades coding and demos. A very important agenda point of the day was the official declaration the the Tunis BlackBerry Developer Group was now open!
Before we went to the lunch break, we had a round of lighting pitches where people were asked to vote for the best app or app idea. There were a number of BlackBerry 10 apps presented, which was surprising as the Jam day was meant to inspire the devs to start implement for BlackBerry 10 but some of them were already ahead of that…
The afternoon sessions focused on Native SDK/Cascades, BlackBerry Android Runtime and @blackberryLuca’s BlackBerry WebWorks session streamed in to the room from Bangkok, Thailand WebEx as Luca was attending BlackBerry Jam Asia at that day. It went very well.
The closing was in a very family like atmosphere, Hamza showed a talent of playing on the keyboard and the conference room turned up to a big disco. I very much enjoyed that part of the conference.
A few days after the Jam day, I received this video.
They prepared it to show the best moments of the conference. Thank you very much and really well done @bbdevtunisia. I hope to see you soon with more successful events like this mini Jam. Though I feel the term “mini” is not really appropriate here!