Easy Activation and Authentication Delegation

Easy Activation and Authentication Delegation are two features of BlackBerry Dynamics that every BlackBerry Dynamics developer should be aware of. They’re a core component of BlackBerry Dynamics apps, which make life easier for all users. The best part is that you don’t need to write any code to make use of them, the BlackBerry Dynamics Runtime provides these automatically. So, what exactly is Easy Activation and Authentication Delegation? Let’s find out.

What Is Easy Activation?

When a user runs a BlackBerry Dynamics app for the first time, they are prompted with a screen like the one below, which asks them to enter their email address and access key.

The access key is generated on BlackBerry UEM (or Good Control) by the user using the BlackBerry UEM self-service portal or by their administrator using the admin console.  After these two pieces of information are entered, the app activates with their BlackBerry UEM (or Good Control) server.  Performing this once isn’t too bad, but we don’t want to force users to go through this process multiple times to activate multiple apps on their device.  Easy Activation to the rescue.

Once one app has been activated, other BlackBerry Dynamics apps can leverage it to activate against the same server, saving the user from entering in additional access keys.

The screenshot below shows the Easy Activation screen.  BlackBerry Work was already activated and can be used to activate other apps.  All the user must do is click on “Set up using BlackBerry Work” to activate this app.  As you can see you still have the option of manually entering in an email address and access key.  The option of manual activation can be useful when a user needs to run apps activated against a production server and also run apps activated against a development or QA server.

Easy Activation Requirements

The BlackBerry Dynamics Runtime provides easy activation support automatically, there isn’t anything you have to code in your app to support this.  However, there is some configuration required on BlackBerry UEM to support this.  For internally developed apps, you need to populate the Package Name of your Android app, Bundle ID of your iOS app and so on for other platforms.  These identifiers are entered in the BlackBerry Marketplace for apps made available there.  Once that is done, your app will support Easy Activation.

Authentication Delegation

During the BlackBerry Dynamics activation process, a user enters a password that will be used to unlock the app.  This could lead to potential complex scenarios, where the user may have chosen a different password for each app.  An app could also reach its idle timeout while the user is using a different BlackBerry Dynamics app, which could inconveniently prompt them for their password in the middle of a task as they switch between apps.  Authentication delegation makes this easier, allowing the user to have a single password to unlock all their BlackBerry Dynamics apps, which all operate on a single idle timeout lock.

A BlackBerry UEM administrator can select up to three apps to act as the authentication delegate on behalf of other apps, so that users do not have to create a password for each BlackBerry Dynamics app that they install. After an authentication delegate is configured, each time a user opens a BlackBerry Dynamics app, the device displays the password screen for the authentication delegate instead of the app that they are attempting to open.

Any app could be chosen as the authentication delegate for other apps, but it is recommended that the most commonly used app be the primary authentication delegate.

Authentication delegates are configured in the BlackBerry Dynamics profile on BlackBerry UEM, as shown below.

Make Use Of Easy Activation and Authentication Delegation

If you haven’t yet made use of Easy Activation or Authentication Delegation, go configure them now.  It’ll make your life and the life of your users easier.

Mark Sohm

About Mark Sohm

Senior Technical Solutions Manager on the Solution Architects team.

Mark Sohm joined BlackBerry in 2003 and currently works as a Senior Technical Solutions Manager on the Solutions Architects team. Mark Sohm has been helping developers create applications using BlackBerry technologies for over 15 years, starting way back with the very first BlackBerry JDK on BlackBerry OS 3.6 through to BlackBerry 10 and now Android with BlackBerry Dynamics and Android Enterprise.