Our Momentics IDE has always been powerful and rich in functionality, but at times it required our developers to be experts in Eclipse to use it successfully. As smart as our developers are, we would rather they focused on the job of coding and tweaking than on figuring out how to use the IDE. This is why we have made a conscious effort to improve the usability of Momentics along with the other improvements to the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK out of box experience.
The first thing we did is rewrite the installers. In the past we used to bundle the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK target libraries with the IDE in monolithic package . Not only did this result in significant download sizes, but it also didn’t scale well. This is why we have introduced a new streamlined installer with the BlackBerry 10.2 SDK beta. When you install the IDE and SDK from our developer site, our installer will walk you through a wizard that will determine what device and target you are using for development and based on that will download and install the appropriate SDK for you. We hope this will not only simplify your workflow but also avoid you having to download targets that you might not need.
We have also introduced the concept of an API level. In the past, the API was tightly integrated with the target OS that you were using. This meant that you would have to figure out which build you were running on your device and match that with a suitable IDE update. In this beta we have disconnected the APIs from the target OS. As a developer you only have to worry about setting your minimum API level based on a two octave number (10.0, 10.1 etc). While there is a global default, API levels can be set on a per project basis as well. As an example, once you set your app API level to 10.1, it means the app should be compatible with every 10.1 based device irrespective of what target OS is on that device.
It doesn’t stop there. Once you launch the IDE, you will see a refreshed UI along with a new welcome screen. We have incorporated a lot of the feedback we’ve been receiving from the community in this new UX. I hope you find that it reduces the amount of clutter on your desktop. That being said, it is important to note that we’ve not removed any features. We’ve just done some housekeeping and moved more advanced functionality into advanced menus and settings where they belong.
The new welcome screen also provides links to our forums, documentation and samples. This way you are connected to the rest of our developer zone without having to leave the confines of the IDE. My personal favourite aspect of the welcome screen is the samples. If you are like me, I learn best by playing around with samples and we’ve made it easier for you to acquire and import samples. When you click on the samples link via the Momentics welcome page, you will see a list of samples that you can download. Clicking on any of the samples, provides you with a download option. Click on download and import and you are ready to go.
There are just a few of the numerous new features and improvements that have been introduced. Rather than have you read about them here, I recommend you download the new BlackBerry 10 Native SDK and start developing with it. We also previewed the new Momentics at BlackBerry Live 2013, so if you didn’t have a chance to join us, you can watch a recording of the session here.
While the out of box experience is a key highlight, it’s not the only thing that is new in our NDK. We have introduced several new APIs in this release with many more to come with the gold release of the BlackBerry 10.2 SDKs. We hope you continue to enjoy your experience developing on our platform. Your enthusiasm and feedback is valuable in helping us improve our products.