Navigate your app more quickly: BlackBerry WebWorks for Smartphones SDK 2.3 released

Web Development

The latest version of the BlackBerry® WebWorks™ for Smartphones SDK v2.3 for Microsoft® Windows® and Mac is now available for download. The main focus for this release was to greatly improve performance of applications taking advantage of Navigation Mode for BlackBerry® smartphones with optical trackpads. Navigation mode allows the BlackBerry WebWorks developer to specify which fields in their application should be focusable, and the framework will automatically move focus in the application based on user input from the trackpad. BlackBerry WebWorks developers can take advantage of the speed improvements in Navigation Mode just by recompiling their applications with the new 2.3 SDK.

We included a number of other features in this release that certainly deserve mention. The full list of improvements includes:

  • Navigation mode speed enhancements and bug fixes
  • BBM™ 6.1 API support
  • Application Orientation lock (portrait/landscape)
  • Memory Management enhancements
  • Native-looking dialogs for selections, date/time, color picker

What can I do with the new BBM 6.1 APIs?

The BBM APIs for BlackBerry WebWorks have been upgraded to take advantage of the latest changes to the BBM Social Platform in BBM v6.1. The new Settings API allows applications to read BBM options for the application, such as whether the profile box is displayed. Applications can now send fire-and-forget content to contacts for later viewing using the Share Content API. New invocation points have been added for the Application Invoked API. Finally, you can determine which version of your application contacts are running.

Important!

Developers using the BBM APIs for BlackBerry WebWorks must be aware of the dependency on the latest BBM 6.1 at runtime. Your end users must have BBM 6.1 installed on their BlackBerry smartphone in order to use BlackBerry WebWorks applications that leverage BBM API capabilities for applications created using v2.3 of the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK. If you do intend on using BBM APIs, you can ensure a positive user experience by implementing a BBM version dependency check. Please go here for more information on developing a BlackBerry WebWorks application leveraging the power of the BBM Social Platform, and managing the BBM version dependency.

So what about those dialogs?

In the process of implementing the improvements to navigation mode, we needed to make some changes to the interface dialogs of the browser used for item selection, date/time selection, and color picker. We figured, why not make these dialogs general purpose and usable by our BlackBerry WebWorks developers in their own applications? Check out the updated API reference for more information on these dialogs.

How will your memory be managed better?

In BlackBerry WebWorks for Smartphones SDK v2.2, we introduced a “memory maid” that handled cleaning up after some memory leaks related to callbacks being held by the native Java® layer. The maid would, under certain conditions, trigger a Java garbage collection. In this version, we are fine-tuning the logic the memory maid uses in order to make this process less intrusive to the end user and will result in fewer hourglasses, especially the fairly prevalent one that happens immediately on load of some applications.
Please check out the BlackBerry WebWorks development site to learn more about how you can leverage your web technology skills to build applications for our >70 million smartphone subscribers and BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet users.

About Ken W

Ken is the Senior Product Manager for the WebWorks group at BlackBerry. He is responsible for WebWorks tooling and is heavily involved in the Open Source projects at github.com/blackberry and the Apache Cordova community. Ken has a particular interest in trying to bring the internal and external BlackBerry development communities closer together.

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