What's a WebWorks app?

When you hear the words BlackBerry WebWorks, think HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. Essentially, a BlackBerry WebWorks application is a web application that runs on a BlackBerry smartphone or BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

BlackBerry WebWorks is an open source project that you can find on GitHub. Be sure to check out some of the BlackBerry WebWorks Samples.

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

Your BlackBerry WebWorks app can be targeted to run on a variety of BlackBerry device models or ported to a different OS, such as iOS or Android.

Developing your app with BlackBerry WebWorks gives you the flexibility to target users of the latest BlackBerry devices and those who are using older models. Depending on the OS you want to target, versions of the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK are available for:

  • BlackBerry 10
  • BlackBerry PlayBook
  • BlackBerry 7 and earlier

Because you create BlackBerry WebWorks apps using common web standards, you can reuse many of your existing web assets when you port applications to or from another mobile platform, such as iOS or Android.

You can take advantage of popular mobile web frameworks, such as Sencha Touch, PhoneGap powered by Cordova, jQuery Mobile, 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 or C++. See Community frameworks for more information.

Integration

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

Although standard HTML5 provides access to some BlackBerry device features such as geolocation information and device orientation, by using BlackBerry WebWorks APIs, you can access BlackBerry specific information. 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 achieve deep integration with many of the core BlackBerry applications. For example, you can integrate your app with BBM, Calendar, or Contacts. You can invoke almost any other app from within your app.

You can invoke a single screen (called a card) from another app directly within 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 BlackBerry services. Services available include:

  • App Integration: Launch another application from within your app's UI.
  • Payment Service: Leverage the business model that's right for your application.
  • Push Service: Enable direct, real-time content delivery to your application users.

For more information, see Device & Platform Features.

Ease of access

If your app is easy to access and is readily available, users will likely use it more frequently. If you package your web app using BlackBerry WebWorks, users can access your app with a single tap on their BlackBerry device. In contrast, to access an app that lives on your website, users must open a browser, then navigate to your website. Even if they have your website bookmarked, it's a multi-step process.

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 millions of subscribers can find it 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: 2014-03-10

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