I’m excited to announce that our 10.2 SDK has gone gold! Our 10.2 Gold SDK brings numerous improvements to both our platform and tooling, and also addresses some of the limitations and gaps in our 10.0 release. I will share some of these great updates with you in this blog post, but as usual you will find all the gritty details on our developer site.
Changes to Our Developer Site
Speaking of our developer site, the first thing you will notice is that we merged both our native and Cascades sites. Up until now, we have maintained two “native” sites: one for Cascades and one for core native. The idea was that the Cascades site would cater to developers working on Cascades apps (i.e., pretty much any app with a Cascades UI), while the core Native site would cater to developers of non-Cascades apps, such as games. However, this approach was unwieldy, gave folks the misconception that we supported two native runtimes. In reality, Cascades is just an extension of our Core Native runtime and provides the UI framework that sits on top of the native platform; it is perfectly acceptable for a Cascades app to go to the core framework to use platform level APIs such as mmrenderer, camera, crypto, and others. As a result, Cascades developers were going to our core native site to get documentation for platform features not available via our Cascades site. It was silly to have to go to two sites when Cascades is just part of native development, so this is why we merged the two sites together.
We do realize that many of you will want to focus mainly on Cascades development over low-level native development, and vice versa. This is why we are providing a tabbed view on the top left-hand section of the page, where you can switch between Cascades and Core development. You can still maintain your focus on Cascades or Core development, but easily switch to a different perspective if you need to access information.
For those of you who frequent our dev forums, you will have noticed that we also merged our forums. The rationale for this is similar to that of merging our developer sites. We will continue to make usability improvements in this area, such as adding more smart searches and tags to help you navigate the unified sites and forums more efficiently.
Another big announcement is the arrival of headless apps on our platform. I know many of you have been waiting patiently for this feature, and I’m happy to announce that 10.2 Gold launches the first phase of our headless framework. As we emphasized at our BlackBerry Jam Americas session in May, not all triggers will be supported at launch, but we are supporting port directed SMS, Geofence, Push and startup. Take a look at our developer documentation for details and how to leverage your app with these triggers. Now that many key pieces of the architecture are in place, we expect to change our focus to adding more triggers for you in the future. Stay tuned for news on exciting new triggers that we’re working on over the next few months!
I didn’t talk as much about APIs in my 10.2 Beta blog post, where I focused more on the tooling, so now I’ll walk you through some of the new APIs we’ve introduced. At the past few BlackBerry Jam events, several of you requested USB Host and Serial APIs to allow you to develop apps and services that interact with USB peripherals via both host and serial connections. In this release, we have introduced a new peripheral discovery API that allows you to do this. In addition, we are also introducing other connection style APIs in 10.2, such as WIFI direct APIs, WIFI hotspot APIs and miracast. The miracast functionality is currently provided via a card and allows your app to connect to an external display. We’ve also introduced some new notification mechanisms in this release, and have provided APIs to accompany them. While I wanted to call these out here, these are not the only APIs we have introduced. A full list can be accessed via our flightboards and release notes.
If you downloaded our 10.2 Beta release, you’ll see that most of the tooling improvements we made were to our Momentics IDE, particularly in the area of usability and improving developer workflow. Since the Beta release, the team has focused mainly on stability and quality improvements, however we did introduce new Accessibility features to our Cascades tooling that allow you to create accessible Cascades apps. When integrated with functions like screen reader, these apps allow visually impaired persons to hear a speech presentation of the UI. This, along with the new signing improvements we have made to our tooling, summarizes the big ticket tooling items for this release. The feedback on the new IDE in particular has been very positive, and I invite you to try it out for yourself and see.
I hope this release has addressed some of the items on your personal wish list. As always, there are lots of new features we want to give you, from more headless triggers to tooling improvements. We will continue to work as hard as we can to provide you the technologies you need for developing inspirational apps!