UCOSP Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects 2013 Midterm Update

Announcements

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Our open source projects with university students from across Canada have been going superbly this term with many excellent contributions to the BlackBerry Open Source community. This is our second post this term, the first one being about the kickoff sprint at Facebook headquarters. First let’s hear what Amritpal has to say about what he’s been up to.

“Being a part of the Blackberry team through UCOSP has been a world of firsts: contributing to an open source project, bbUI.js, and developing my own mobile application.

In the first month of UCOSP, I was contributing to bbUI.js with bug fixes and features. About three weeks ago, I learned that BlackBerry extended their limited edition device upgrade. From that point, the race was on to create fully functional and entertaining application (who needs productivity!). I chose to create a 2D game in HTML5. Having not created a mobile application before, the entire process was a learning experience that encompassed the canvas element to using bbui.js in real life applications.

During the process, my go to resource was the BB10 Sample apps repository. With a variety of applications that make use of a diverse set of BB10 elements, it provided helpful launch pad and reference. I was able to use code to get my application set up (config.xml and index.html examples specifically), and see examples of API calls, and bbUI.js use cases.”

Here are some helpful tips for a new BlackBerry 10 WebWorks developer:

  1. Set up your development environment such that you don’t have to recompile after every modification. (See https://devblog.blackberry.com/2009/12/update-your-blackberry-widget-without-recompiling)
  2. Test your application on device frequently! Don’t assume Ripple is an exact replication of the BlackBerry 10 experience. From my own development experience, I had my biggest ‘oh-no’ moment when I tested my application on device after hours of development time and it was not functioning properly. After dreading the hours of reverts I would have to make, I was able solve the issue through a quick search on the WebWorks forum.
  3. Finally, use the Web and WebWorks Development forum! Tips, helpful developers and an archive of other issues faced by developers

Since this posting is somewhat delayed from when Amritpal initially wrote it, his application has actually been approved so you can download it to your BlackBerry 10 device and check it out. Another student, Willie, had this to say about his work so far:

“Since the code sprint in mid-January, I mostly focused on getting myself acquainted with BlackBerry WebWorks and the bbUI.js components. Working on bbUI.js allowed me to get my feet wet with mobile web development, and the entire project is a great resource to get acquainted with Blackberry and developing web applications on the platform.

I’ve been mainly focusing on developing a mobile application using HTML5 and jQuery Mobile with PhoneGap to test and deploy on BlackBerry 10 (a health activity tracker). This has been my first experience with mobile development and in the past month it’s been extremely rewarding. Working with the various PhoneGap plugins that is provided allowed me to access the Blackberry camera functionality easily and the built-in Ant build and deploy scripts make it very easy to test on an actual device. The next step is to add bbUI.js elements to give any application a native look and feel, which is all easily accessible on GitHub.

As the technical lead at a mobile health technology startup, it’s been challenging to navigate through the mobile space and its fragmentation. BlackBerry 10 WebWorks has provided an easy and logical way to develop for the BlackBerry 10 platform while also giving the flexibility to use web frameworks that can work on a variety of platforms. BlackBerry has made the development process smooth and seamless for even people inexperienced with mobile development to jump in!

For the rest of the term, I’m looking forward to completing/refining my application and also continue contributing to bbUI.js”

As you can see, the students are doing some great work. In our next update we hope to showcase some achievements in WebWorks Extension development. Until then, maybe you’d like to get involved in Open Source at BlackBerry?

About Tim W.

Tim works on the Developer Relations team at BlackBerry, focusing on WebWorks, HTML5, and Open Source.

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