Kathryn Lahrs

Quick Facts

  • Most popular apps include Mash and Santa Tracker
  • Mash application took only three weeks to complete
  • Releasing new, fully integrated BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) v6.0 apps
  • Uses HTML5 and JavaScript® + advanced tooling in BlackBerry® WebWorks™
  • Takes advantage of Research In Motion (RIM) support

BlackBerry Developer Success Story - Lahrs Apps

To carve out a presence in the mobile app world, Kathryn Lahrs needs the developing process to be simple, easy and fun. As a part-time developer, Kathryn has harnessed the BlackBerry WebWorks platform to create several successful applications, from the nostalgic game MASH to the family-friendly Santa Tracker.


Her current challenge is a huge opportunity: two applications that will be fully integrated with the new BBM v6.0 platform. Kathryn works to find time to develop apps – and it's hard to come by between her job and her one-and-a-half year old twin daughters.


Kathryn tells us about using the WebWorks platform, working with RIM and what exciting BBM v6.0 apps are coming in the near future.

View details in BlackBerry World

Q: Tell me about the apps you've been developing for BBM v6.0. How are they integrated with native applications?

Kathryn: The first app is PowWow, a social gathering app. You'll be able to connect to any of your contacts, invite them to events and track their RSVP status. And the event details go straight into the calendar on your BlackBerry smartphone. The basic version will be free and in the paid version you'll be able to check your friend's calendar for their availability–you'll even be able to check their current GPS location if you're lost or waiting for them.


One of the best features is that it is all running in the background on BBM–you don't even need to have the app open. The other app will also be plugged into BBM, but based on study groups. Doing these apps has been almost addictive. It's been a great deal of fun and I have been able to build them from scratch.

Q: Why has the WebWorks platform been so useful for you?

Kathryn: I'm comfortable with environments like HTML, JavaScript, and Visual Studio, so BlackBerry WebWorks was really simple to get into. After a quick learning curve, it's pretty easy to see how everything functions and how data is passed and what I need to look for in apps. It also gives you options when working with Java code, so you're not limited. And I really like the way the web apps look and feel. I think BlackBerry WebWorks is going to take apps to the next level. I'm a mother of twins and developing part time and it still only took me three weeks to develop Mash.

Q: How has your relationship with the RIM team helped your app development?

Kathryn: RIM has been really helpful in a couple of ways. RIM feels like a family environment where everybody truly wants you to do well. I started with the BlackBerry WebWorks environment in its infancy and connected right away with RIM over email. They introduced me to a broad network of people within the company and they were all really supportive. I just didn't see that hands-on, help-me-in-any-way-possible atmosphere anywhere else.


The forums are the same way. BlackBerry developers genuinely want to help each other. Anytime I've come up against a problem, I put it out there to other developers and typically I receive a great response.

Q: Tell me about the response that the Santa Tracker application received.

Kathryn: The Santa Tracker app was a fun Christmas time app that received a lot of attention. It sold more than 3,000 copies at $1.99 per download. The response was wonderful and families really enjoyed being able to use an app with their kids. When RIM found out about the app, they helped give it an extra push.






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