Application Development from Behind the Firewall

Cascades

Guest post by Dennis Reumer

firewall

Being an enterprise developer, you are certainly going to bump into some issues and complications that a consumer developer has never heard of. Most enterprise companies regulate Internet access and access to systems, both inwardly and outbound. You’re typically not free to roam the Internet or Intranet and download anything you wish; often you will be restricted in what you are allowed to install on your computer as well.

So when your company does restrict which external resources you have access to, it would be useful to know some hints and pointers how to overcome those challenges.

Signing Keys

One of the first items to get sorted, even before starting development in the enterprise, is setting up your BlackBerry signing keys. These are needed for both releasing software and testing software on devices.

BlackBerry signing keys are currently tied to a BlackBerry user ID. Before getting them set up, read “BlackBerry Signing in the Enterprise.”

Registering the BlackBerry ID and requesting the Signing keys requires normal http(s) Internet access to our websites: https://www.blackberry.com/SignedKeys/codesigning.html and https://blackberryid.blackberry.com/bbid/registration/registration_eula.seam.

When requesting debug tokens and signing applications, the tools will need access to www.rim.net on port 80/443 – http(s).

Debug tokens are used for testing your application on a real device. The BlackBerry 10 simulator doesn’t require a debug token. A debug token is valid for 30 days and you can test and deploy your apps using the debug token on your device without any further need of Internet connectivity. So if you copy this over to your development station, you don’t need any further Internet access to be able to develop and test your application on the simulator or device.

If by default your company doesn’t allow access to www.rim.net, it might be worthwhile to set up a build server that will be allowed to have Internet access. You can then have the build server create a release build and have it properly signed.

Setting up and using tools

With limited access to the Internet, it may be difficult to download our tools from our developer website on your own station. Also, if your IT department doesn’t allow you to install software (including drivers), contact them to request the right installation packages.

Momentics

After installing Momentics and connecting a device, it will attempt to download the SDK through the IDE. If you don’t have Internet connectivity on your station, this will of course not work. In case your company uses an Internet proxy, the following documentation might resolve the issue: Configure app signing through a proxy server in the Momentics IDE.

If this doesn’t resolve the issue, contact BlackBerry to see how we can help out.

WebWorks/Cordova

WebWorks 2.0 is built upon Apache Cordova and is a tool, which by default will only work if you have proper Internet access to the various online resources (modules). That being said, once a Cordova/WebWorks project is properly set up and contains all the modules you would like to use for a project, you will be able to use it with a debug token without any further Internet access.

There are other development options as well, but for now we’ll just highlight what you need to do for the above two.

Development and Testing

After setting up the tools and debug tokens, development itself will be relatively straightforward. Once you want to start testing your development progress, you will be okay with the deployment to either the simulator or a device (using the debug token).

The simulator will be a good option for most developers to perform normal debugging and testing. The great thing about the simulator is that it resides on your development station and will have access to the internal company enterprise systems.

If you want to test on an actual device and it’s not allowed on the corporate Wi-Fi (or the Corporate Wi-Fi is also firewalled to internal systems), ensure you can have the device activated against a BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. Once the device is activated, you can deploy the application to the work perimeter on the device, which will have the proper access to the enterprise systems.

To deploy the application in the work perimeter, put your device in development mode and switch over to the work perimeter (home screen > swipe down for settings > Switch to Work). In this mode, select a debug deploy to the device. It will now end up in the work perimeter and you can do your debugging there.

General hints and tips

If you encounter issues related to the network when developing within the enterprise, check whether or not any installed malicious code detection/firewall software might be blocking the traffic. If so, ask the IT administrators to help you out, ensuring this is not keeping you from your development.

We hope this helps you get off to a good start and avoid some of the common frustrations when developing for the enterprise. If at any time you still bump into issues, don’t hesitate to comment below and we will help resolve it!

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