BlackBerry 10 – The Evolution from Beta to Gold

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I’ve spent many hours talking to members of our developer community both online and in person at our conferences and meet-ups, and I know you’re excited by these tools. Last week, I attended my first BlackBerry® 10 Jam in Toronto and I was blown away by the energy of the developers in attendance.

What to expect in this first Beta

The BlackBerry 10 SDKs don’t jump to awesomeness in their first iteration; it’s an evolution to greatness. In this first Beta we’ve provided the foundational building blocks and a great start for developers to see where we’re heading. The SDKs allow you to create the BlackBerry 10 user experience with core controls and a great application framework to build the necessities of your application around networking, storage and other foundational pieces. It’s not like we’re starting from scratch; all the functionality provided in the SDKs for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet is also available.

We’ve also made sure that the core UI controls in the Adobe® AIR® runtime have been re-skinned to provide the BlackBerry 10 look and feel along with updating bbUI.js for WebWorks developers to provide the same BlackBerry 10 experience as you find in Cascades™.

Did you just say “first Beta” – and what does it mean to evolve?

We’ll be providing a series of Beta releases on the road to the gold BlackBerry 10 SDK. I want to make sure I set expectations with the community on how we’re approaching the beta cycle. As we evolve each of the SDKs, it means that on top of adding functionality we may need to make changes to functionality released in a previous beta. We are making sure that we examine all the possible angles before we make changes that could affect your application’s code during the Beta and are trying to minimize these changes as much as possible. However, there are times when we’ll have to make changes to ensure that we have solid footings for moving forward with follow up releases. As we move closer to gold, our goal is to make sure that changes in the SDK do not affect compatibility with your code.

What about PIM, BBM, Share and Invocation Framework APIs?

RIM has a strong heritage in delivering fantastic deep integration into the core BlackBerry experience and providing a differentiating factor for your application on the platform, and this will continue with BlackBerry 10. As we evolve the BlackBerry 10 SDKs, these deep integration APIs will be made available, but they aren’t quite ready for 3rd party consumption yet.

These APIs are still seeing refactoring as we move through all the use cases of our core applications. We want to ensure that both our core apps are using the same APIs as 3rd party developers and that the APIs see minimal changes after they are made available in a Beta.

I won’t list all of the APIs that are coming, but I’ll list the hot topics where I usually get inquiries:

  • BBM™
  • PIM (Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes)
  • Messages/Email
  • NFC
  • Share/Invoke Framework
    • Adding your menu item to an existing app
    • Invoking and being invoked by another app
  • String pattern registry
  • Geocoding & reverse geocoding
  • Bluetooth®

All these and more will be coming in follow-up Beta releases, so make sure you grab the SDKs and start building the core of your application to ensure that you’re ready to integrate these features as soon as they’re available!

About Tim N.

Tim leads Application Platform & Tools Product Management at Research In Motion. This includes APIs, Frameworks and Tools for the BlackBerry Platform. He can be found hanging out in the development forums or Twitter (@brcewane) trying to help out where he can and to bring your feedback into the next releases of BlackBerry tooling. You’ll also see Tim presenting various topics at the BlackBerry Developer Conferences and BlackBerry World so be sure to stop by and say hi. Just don’t start talking about cars or Batman or you won’t be able to get rid of him.

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