BlackBerry WebWorks 2.1 Released

ANNOUNCEMENTS / 05.19.14 / kjwallis

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Many of you have already been enjoying BlackBerry WebWorks SDK version 2.0, which included our new GUI tool and a whole bunch of Apache Cordova goodness. Since the 2.0 release, we have been hard at work addressing your feedback and building some new features specifically targeted at our Enterprise development community.

Last week Tim Neil announced the release of BlackBerry WebWorks SDK version 2.1, so let’s take a closer look at what’s new.

Native Services

Developers using the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK have been able to leverage background and headless applications for a while now. With this release of WebWorks, we added an additional command line option for creating new projects that include a headless native service. For more information from the command line, type “webworks help create-headless”. Once you run the “webworks create-headless” command and create a new project, you will notice a new HeadlessService directory in the root of the project, which containsthe native service code.

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We’re also providing a number of sample applications that will demonstrate some highly demanded use cases that can only be addressed with a native service, such as automatic Push registration for a WebWorks application, as well as email and SMS listening and processing. Stay tuned for updates on the Samples page.

Work Perimeter Debugging

If you’ve been working on an app that’s deployed to the work perimeter, you’ve only been able to debug it over Wi-Fi. You also needed to have the BES administrator deploy the application through a software configuration.

With BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2, an IT Policy was introduced to allow you to deploy applications directly to a device over USB. With the release of BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.3, things have become even simpler. For devices running BlackBerry 10.3, you’ll be able to debug an enterprise app deployed in the work perimeter using Web Inspector over USB.

Tool Enhancements

While the new GUI tool provides almost everything you need to configure, build and deploy your application, we added a few advanced items to this latest release. Particularly when dealing with enterprise apps, developers often need to transit through a proxy in order to communicate with BlackBerry’s signing services. The GUI tool now allows you to configure proxy settings.

In addition, for enterprise development shops that use a common developer signing certificate, you can now set a remote location for the developer certificate, for example, if it exists on a network drive.

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We also added the ability to manage multiple deployment targets from within the GUI tool. You can now define targets for any number of simulators or devices and provide their IP addresses. This means you can now deploy over Wi-Fi to a device.

Once you have defined your targets, you can select which one you wish to use from the project build page. If you leave it on the auto-detect option, it will deploy to a USB-connected device or running simulator.

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New APIs

We recently analyzed download and usage trends for Community APIs that are getting a lot of traction and decided to promote a couple of them to be fully supported in the SDK.

The Prevent Sleep community API allows you to prevent the screen from timing out and turning itself off. In promoting this to the full SDK, we moved this functionality into the com.blackberry.display API. A popular use case for applications that need to keep the screen on indefinitely is navigation. However, it’s important to be aware of the impact this may have on battery life, so use this judiciously and ensure you turn it off whenno longer required for the current operation of your application.

The com.blackberry.screenshotAPI allows you to take a screenshot of what is currently being displayed. Pretty self-explanatory!

So that is the high-level summary of the latest release of our BlackBerry WebWorks SDK. You can get started right now by downloading the new SDK here. We’d also love to hear feedback on the new features in the forums (using the new direct link in the GUI tool!) or on Twitter at @BlackBerryDev!

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