What's a BlackBerry WebWorks app?

A BlackBerry WebWorks app is a web application that runs on a BlackBerry device.

As of BlackBerry WebWorks 2.0, the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK is now built on Apache Cordova, an open-source development framework that lets you create applications using web technologies. Be sure to check out some of the BlackBerry WebWorks Samples.

Although adopting Cordova as the development standard has resulted in some changes to the way WebWorks applications are structured, the process is not complicated. Creating a BlackBerry WebWorks app involves the following high-level steps:

  1. Create your project: Use the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK web tool or the command line tool to create the folder structure and template files for your new WebWorks project,
  2. Design and develop your app logic and resources: Create the HTML, CSS, JavaScript files and other resources, or reuse existing ones, and save them in the appropriate locations in your project's /www folder.
  3. Add the required plugins: A plugin represents a set of APIs that allow your app to access the features of the platform by binding the JavaScript functions to the native methods of the device code.
  4. Build and test your app: Use the web tool or the command line to test your app in a simulator or on a device.
  5. Distribute your app: Build and sign your completed app and submit it to BlackBerry World.

Why create a BlackBerry WebWorks app? Some reasons to consider are:

  • portability
  • integration with core BlackBerry apps
  • ease of access, even when users do not have an Internet connection available

Portability

Because you create them using common web standards, BlackBerry WebWorks apps are not platform-dependent. When you port to other mobile platforms, such as iOS or Android, you can reuse many of your existing web assets.

By aligning with Apache Cordova for BlackBerry WebWorks 2.0, your WebWorks apps will now have an even greater level of compatibility. Cordova provides a common development layer, and makes adapting the output to multiple mobile platforms much simpler. You create an app using the languages you know, and Cordova handles the bindings to the native layer of the various platforms.

You can also take advantage of popular mobile web frameworks, such as Sencha Touch, jQuery Mobile, Dojo, and others. These frameworks provide a wide range of useful APIs that can greatly simplify cross-browser web development. Many of these frameworks also provide a BlackBerry theme to help you achieve the same look and feel as apps written in C/C++. See Frameworks for more information.

Integration

BlackBerry WebWorks APIs let you integrate your app with BlackBerry hardware, core apps, and services.

Standard HTML5 provides access to some BlackBerry device features, such as geolocation information and device orientation, but the BlackBerry WebWorks APIs allow you to access BlackBerry specific data. For example, you can check the battery power level, find out whether the device is holstered, or get brightness information from the light sensor.

BlackBerry WebWorks APIs let you integrate with many of the core BlackBerry applications. For example, you can integrate your app with BBM, Calendar, or Contacts.

You can invoke a single screen (called a card) from another app while in your app. This lets users interact with another application to perform a specific task, such as picking a contact, composing an email, or previewing an image, without leaving your app.

You can use BlackBerry WebWorks APIs to access:

  • App Integration: Launch another application in your app's UI.
  • Payment Service: Offer digital goods for sale in your app.
  • Push Service: Enable direct, near real-time content delivery to your application users.

For more information, see Adding Features.

Ease of access

An app packaged with BlackBerry WebWorks can use server data if it needs to. Load times can be reduced because most of the logic and presentation layer of the app are already on the device. If you can make your application's resources local to the BlackBerry device, users will be able to access your content even when they don't have an Internet connection.

When you package your web app as a BlackBerry WebWorks app, you can publish it to BlackBerry World, where users can find and buy it. No registration fees or submission fees are required to become a BlackBerry World vendor. To learn more about publishing your app, see BlackBerry World on the BlackBerry Developer website.

Last modified: 2014-04-03

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