Q&A from the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Webcast series

Events

The BlackBerry® PlayBook® Tablet Webcast series wrapped up a couple of weeks ago with the final session around BlackBerry App World™, and in my opinion, the entire series was a big success. I really hope everyone came away with something that you can use in your own applications so that we can get them up onto BlackBerry App World, and hopefully get a device out to you!

Over the course of the four webcasts that I took part in, we received hundreds of really great questions, and we tried to answer as many as we could while on the air. Going over the questions afterward, I wanted to post some of the most common questions that came in and address the most common themes that came up. In no particular order:

Q: What are the SDKs that will be available and when will they be released?
A: The BlackBerry PlayBook OS will support application development in Adobe® AIR®, HTML5 and BlackBerry® WebWorks™, Native C/C++ with support for OpenGL and Java. The Adobe AIR SDK for BlackBerry PlayBook is available today. More details on the availability of SDKs for developing in HTML5, BlackBerry WebWorks, Native and Java will be coming soon.

Q: Is Flash Builder 4 required to build apps?
A: No – in fact, anything that can generate a SWF file can be used to build BlackBerry PlayBook tablet apps. Webcast #2 went through how to use Adobe® Flash® Professional CS5 and we are planning on building a Flash Pro plugin to help developers build apps. The webcast also showed how to use the command line to package an application for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. We also recently released a new version of the SDK which works seamlessly with the preview version of Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 (Burrito) as well.

Q. What types of persistent storage are available on the BlackBerry PlayBook?
A. There are 3 different types of persistent storage on the data:

  1. SharedObject – This is the standard AIR SharedObject API used to store limited amounts of data in very quick access memory. Typically, you’ll store variables or other information that you need to access very quickly or frequently in the SharedObject store.
  2. SQLite – The standard AIR SQLite API’s can be used to leverage the SQLite database on the device. Generally, you’ll be storing any medium to large sized data in the SQLite database. Since SQLite is in memory, this is typically the best combination between speed and size for data storage.
  3. FileIO – The standard AIR File I/O API’s can be used to store data or files in the device memory. Any types of multimedia or images will typically be stored using File I/O. The tradeoff for being able to store essentially any file size is that this is typically the slower of the mechanisms for retrieving stored information from the persistent store, however for any type of media files, this is the recommended approach for storing them on the device.

The other major line of questions that came during the webcast focused on BlackBerry App World and the free BlackBerry PlayBook tablet offer. We’ve since been able to clarify the offer and provide more details on it, which you can find here.

The press release posted here also offers a lot of answers to the questions that came in during the session. Also, at Adobe MAX, there was a presentation given that will undoubtedly help out a lot of developers in building UI’s for apps: Developing Adobe AIR apps for the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

For even more information on developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and answers to questions, please feel free to watch any of the webcasts that were recorded:

Week 1

  • Setting up your development environment
  • Creating your first “hello world” Adobe AIR application for the BlackBerry PlayBook
  • Packaging your Adobe AIR application for the BlackBerry PlayBook
  • How to test your applications on the device simulator

Week 2

  • using Flash Builder and Flash Professional to create applications targeting the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
  • Use the Adobe AIR SDK and BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK to create applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
  • Test and Debug your application using Flash Builder and the BlackBerry Tablet Simulator

Week 3

  • Adobe AIR 2.5 device integration APIs
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS device integration APIs
  • Testing and Debugging your application BlackBerry Tablet Simulator

Week 4

  • Creating an application icon for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
  • Building optimized screens for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
  • Learn how to apply skins to your UI controls

Week 5

  • Walkthrough of the BlackBerry App World Submission Process
  • Selling your app on BlackBerry App World and how revenue is paid
  • Overview of the BlackBerry Commercial Services (Advertising and Payment)
  • Best Practices for Global Distribution of your Application

And lastly, I have also started up a forum thread on the BlackBerry Developer Forums in order to try and get more of your questions answered. If you have anything specific you’d like answered, please feel free to post a message on the forum so the entire community can benefit from the information.

Please feel free to post a question in the comments section below if you’d like. Thanks for tuning in to the webcasts and joining us on Dev Blog!

About Prosanta B.

Prosanta is a member of the BlackBerry Developer Relations team specializing in Web Development. Prosanta’s focus is on developing out the web platform and tools associated with web development while supporting the development efforts of a number of Independent Software Vendors. Prior to joining RIM, Prosanta had worked on numerous web portals for major multinational firms writing both front and backend code.

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