- Compatible with BlackBerry® 7 OS
- Used Java® to develop for BlackBerry® smartphones
- Successful paid app distribution on BlackBerry World™ storefront
BlackBerry Developer Success Story - Bist LLC
From the picturesque Alps to the Olympic-worthy Whistler Mountain, Bist LLC has developed an app that helps to satisfy skiers from around the world. Allowing users to search trails, record GPS tracks and receive live trail analysis, the small firm's GPS Ski Maps application now includes more than 550 slopes. Having found success developing for BlackBerry smartphones and distributing the app on BlackBerry World, founder Manoj Bist is excited to continue expanding the worldwide compatibility of the app and his newly released GPS Nautical Charts app.
Manoj discussed why he thinks running background processing is easier on BlackBerry devices, and why he thinks a misconception exists about developing for Research In Motion® (RIM®) and why distribution through BlackBerry World has been a positive experience.
Q: How do BlackBerry devices help make it easy to run multiple programs at once?
Manoj: When we started developing for the BlackBerry platform in 2009, RIM, in my opinion, ran the only true multitasking operating systems, which in many ways I feel still holds true today. With BlackBerry smartphones, you simply have to write the piece of code that runs in the background and another single line of code to add an application to the background.
In comparison, from my experience if you want to do the same thing on Android™, you need a clear demarcation between the UI component and the background component. Background processing is crucial for us because when a user turns on our tracking feature we do complicated calculations in the background, and doing this on BlackBerry smartphones was very easy compared to other platforms.
Q: How did your previous experience with Java help you develop for BlackBerry smartphones?
Manoj: My experience with Java definitely helped, but RIM does such a fantastic job providing sample codes that I think developing for BlackBerry smartphones would be simple for any developer. Even if somebody was familiar with a different programming language, the samples cover the entire gamut of APIs and functionality that BlackBerry devices support. You'll be able to find a sample project to build upon regardless of what type of application you're developing.
There's a common misconception that developing for RIM is difficult, and it might be because RIM hasn't been pushing the fact that every time you download the BlackBerry Java Development Environment you come across great sample apps.
Q: Give one specific example of how you took advantage of a sample API?
Manoj: We need to store a lot of data on the BlackBerry device since we don't want the app to require Internet connectivity when people are high on the slopes. In order to ensure that people could use the app without the Internet, we wanted to look at RIM's underlying file system. There is a sample API called File Explorer that allowed us to go through the file system with no trouble. This holds true for all of the features that a BlackBerry device supports, like Bluetooth® and GPS. If you want to use a sample API, it is offered as part of the BlackBerry Java development environment.
Q: What has made your experience on BlackBerry World a positive one?
Manoj: Before our apps were available on BlackBerry World we offered them on other third party app stores, but we've pulled our apps from there and now distribute solely on BlackBerry World. Those other channels either had maintenance issues or didn't always have the basic features that an app store should have, like allowing us to upload multiple binaries. Another important point is that BlackBerry World is very open and allows us to distribute our apps to users for beta testing. This user engagement and feedback is important to us.
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