- Leveraged Cascades™ framework to port BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet application to BlackBerry® 10 platform
- Created user interface (UI) using Qt Modeling Language (QML) in 30 minutes
- Benefited from robust documentation and sample applications
BlackBerry Developer Success Story — OSBB Dev
After attending a BlackBerry Jam event in September 2012, Duke decided to try porting his BlackBerry PlayBook app to the BlackBerry 10 platform using the Cascades framework, which contains tools and APIs to build rich applications using Cascades Native C/C++ libraries and Qt libraries. Not only did Duke want to learn Cascades to help create content for tutorials on the website, he also wanted to build a responsive, native application that delivered a strong UI.
Duke talked about working with QML for the first time, how important the robust online documentation and sample applications were, in addition to how valuable it has been for him to interact with Research In Motion® (RIM®) staff and other developers at BlackBerry events.
Q: How easy was it to create your UI using the Qt Modeling Language (QML)?
Duke: The UI was by far the easiest part. I built it in under an hour with no content, as I read through documentation, and watched video from the BlackBerry Jam Americas event in San Jose. It became clear to me that RIM did their homework as far as Cascades goes, because the instructions provided were very well put together and straightforward. I’ve found Cascades to be quite powerful. I’ve also added additional features from what’s currently available in the Space TV app for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. If you’ve ever done any programming, I think you need to look at Cascades. A lot of the work is done for you, and many useful features are baked in, but you still have the ability to implement customized features.
When I started this project, my intention was to use HTML content with a Cascades UI. However, I soon realized that the gap between technologies used by web developers and Cascades was not difficult to bridge. I’m not a C++ developer, so it was invaluable that I did not have to hand code any C++ for the application. The ability to create a functional application solely using QML was the only way I would have been able to develop an app like this in the time frame that I did.
Q: How important were the online resources that you had at your disposal?
Duke: A lot of times when you’re developing an application and learning a new programming language, you have to scour the Internet and try to piece together information. Unlike other systems: when developing with Cascades, I quickly found that the resources provided by RIM were more than adequate in most situations. The robust documentation and sample applications were very useful for me to test different things, and with each release, any existing gaps seemed to be filled by RIM or the developer community. The sample applications featured commonly-used elements like news feed APIs and the native video player in QML, as well as more specific features like pulling external data into a scrolling feed. By having the ability to compile different features, run them, and see what worked best for me, it made it easy to build my own knowledge base.
I had never used QML, Cascades or QT before this application, and it only took me three weeks to nearly finish a complete version. As a part-time developer still fairly new to mobile app development, it was crucial to be able to refer to documentation that would help me build such strong core functionality in a short timeframe.
Q: How valuable is it for you to attend events like BlackBerry Jam and interact with the RIM team and other developers?
Duke: The online documentation provided by RIM has been extremely valuable, but it’s also always beneficial to be in an environment where you can ask questions and get answers in person. Not only can I ask the RIM team questions, but I also get the opportunity to network, which is another motivation for going to events like BlackBerry Jam. Developers can definitely make or break a platform, so it’s crucial to realize that RIM has undeniably made a big effort to embrace them with the upcoming launch of BlackBerry 10.
The majority of developers that I’ve spoken to are enthusiastic and optimistic about the BlackBerry 10 platform. There seems to be agreement that the BlackBerry 10 approach is not just, ‘what can your phone do,’ but rather, ‘what can your phone do for you,’ This app-centric, person-centric approach, combined with everything I’ve seen on the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, suggests that it really is a unique offering. I’m really excited!
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