- Developed first version of FileScout in three weeks
- Uses the BlackBerry® Java® Plug-in for Eclipse® development platform
- GPS Logger II app was Second Runner Up in the 2011 BlackBerry® Developer Challenge (EMEA) backed by the BlackBerry Partners Fund™
- FileScout chosen as one of sixteen app finalists for 2009 BlackBerry® Developer Challenge
BlackBerry Developer Success Story - Matthias Marquardt
Little did Matthias Marquardt know when he started developing for BlackBerry smartphones in January 2009 that he would be competing at the BlackBerry Developer Challenge at BlackBerry® DevCon Americas in San Francisco less than a year later. Marquardt took advantage of his vast Java® experience to develop a number of successful BlackBerry apps, from FileScout to GPSLogger, which have been downloaded thousands of times. After updating a number of his apps to integrate with BlackBerry® Messenger 6 (BBM™6), Marquardt continues to enjoy success working with the BlackBerry platform.
Matthias talked to us about developing with the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse, upgrading his applications to become BBM-enabled, and how he distributes his apps.
Q: How did your previous Java experience help you develop for BlackBerry smartphones?
Matthias: I've been working with Java since the first JDKs existed and I worked with previous versions of Eclipse, which is now a very common EDE for Java development. It was easy for me to download the simulators and EDE plug-in, run it on my notebook, and then write some classes. From a coding perspective I had an advantage, especially when working with frameworks like Spring or Hibernate.
Now, I only use the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse and the simulators. I'm really happy I can use Eclipse, and while the tools aren't always perfect, if you know how to program Java, it's a piece of cake to write a BlackBerry application. If something isn't working properly, I can simply write an application to do it, not only because of my Java experience but because BlackBerry app development is so flexible it allows you to make many modifications that you simply wouldn't be able to do on other platforms.
Q: How easy was it for you to develop BBM-connected apps?
Matthias: The documentation for the SDK package was excellent and everything you needed to know was there. Research In Motion® (RIM®) provided two sample code classes, which made it easy to integrate my code and get the functionality working. When I've run the debugger and realized something wasn't working the way I had planned, it was easy to go back to the material and fix it. I've gone through four releases of the SDK and any issues that come up are constantly addressed.
Q: How did you develop a BBM-connected app in one day and submit it to the 2011 BlackBerry Developer Challenge?
Matthias: Once I upgraded my BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse and got used to it I was able to integrate BBM into my apps GPSLogger and FileScout. I submitted both of them to the Dev Challenge, but on the final day I decided to submit a third. I was able to take my code from FileScout and add almost the identical code to my third submission, Iconify. I had the experience and knowledge of how to do things like load the dynamic library, so everything was there in the background. Because I knew the code and had tested it with other applications, I could test the new application in a couple hours. As a Java developer, once you have the code and understand the concept it's a simple process.
Q: How are your applications distributed and monetized?
Matthias: About ninety per cent of all purchases are done through the BlackBerry World™ storefront. It's been a nice experience with good feedback, especially with the BBM 6-connected applications. Being featured in the carousel also helped push downloads of GPS Logger through the roof.
In my opinion, BlackBerry World is secure and becoming easier and more intuitive for the user every day. I offer two versions of my apps, a light version with more limited functionality and a paid version. I don't use an ad service for my free version because I don't want to ruin the user experience. Instead, I put links in the app that lead to websites that have ads. I was surprised by the number of hits, ad impressions, and income that was generated after that update. The uptake of the free to paid versions of the apps has also been strong.
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