Quick Facts

  • Leveraged BlackBerry® 10 WebWorks™ SDK
  • Discovered ways to mimic native BlackBerry 10 look and feel on USA TODAY® app
  • Development time of only six weeks
  • Received important support from BlackBerry Developer Relations team
  • USA TODAY for BlackBerry 10 hit the market on the BlackBerry® World™ storefront to time with device launch

BlackBerry Developer Success Story — USA TODAY

USA TODAY was founded in 1982 and is a multi-platform news and information media company with an average circulation of 1.8 million readers daily. reaches a combined 5.9 million readers daily. USA TODAY has more than five million downloads on mobile devices.

As Senior Director of Mobile Engineering at USA TODAY/Gannett Digital, Brett Coffman spoke about the importance of capitalizing on market momentum and the ease of mobilizing the USA TODAY app on BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Application development partner, Sanjay Malhotra of Clearbridge Mobile, also shares his insight on working with the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK and the BlackBerry Developer Relations team.

View details in BlackBerry World
USA Today menu image

Q: Why was it important to develop a USA TODAY mobile app for BlackBerry 10 devices?

Brett: At USA TODAY, we’ve always found it important to place ourselves into the app stores very early, if not first. When our readers pick up any mainstream phone or tablet, they are going to be looking for USA TODAY and we want to make sure they can find us. Generally users will be looking to populate their mobile device as soon as they purchase it so you only have the one opportunity to capture the users attention while they are browsing the app store for applications they want to try. After that, they really need to search for you.

Q: What were your main goals in building the USA TODAY app and how did you achieve them?

Sanjay: USA TODAY wanted a BlackBerry 10 WebWorks app that was unique, compelling and able to take advantage of BlackBerry 10 navigation, gestures and user experiences, such as peek and flow. At the same time, we wanted to make sure that a current USA TODAY mobile app user had seamless navigation. To achieve these goals, and create a mobile experience that’s equivalent to a Cascades native app, we used technologies like Backbone.js and RequireJS. By using these frameworks, we were able to achieve a high level of performance. These frameworks also allowed us to create an app that would mimic many aspects of a native BlackBerry 10 app, including peek and flow, menu slide-out for app navigation and an application menu that would appear with a swipe-down. The BlackBerry Developer Relations team was instrumental in helping us make our technology choices.

USA Today pictures image

Q: How did you find working with BlackBerry WebWorks SDK?

Sanjay: We chose the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK because it’s the fastest way to build a BlackBerry app that creates a compelling experience. We were able to build and release the USA TODAY app within six weeks of the start date using only two developers. As a result, we were able to have the app available before the global launch of the BlackBerry® Z10 smartphone.

Our developers liked the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK, because development and testing were easy. BlackBerry WebWorks allows access to BlackBerry features like BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) and sharing news articles through a set of APIs. These APIs are available through common technologies like JavaScript® and HTML5. As result, our developers were able to jump into the development phase quickly because there was effectively no learning curve. For testing, our team was able to use common emulator tools like Ripple™. Given that BlackBerry WebWorks is built on Internet technologies, our developers also had the flexibility to use any integrated development environment (IDE).

Q: Are you pleased with the experience of developing an app for BlackBerry 10?

Brett: We are very satisfied with the product we launched – the feature set is on par with all of our other mobile products. In the near future we will be looking to enhance our application further to provide users an even more robust experience utilizing BlackBerry 10 gestures. When you combine a great design, rich APIs and a well-documented HTML5 framework, development will go quite quickly.

Sanjay: Yes. The experience was painless, given we had the web skills in-house and that the BlackBerry Developer Relations team provided expertise as needed. Our key contacts from the team came to our office before the project started and helped guide our team in validating our architecture and design. You don’t get that with other platforms.

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