Getting Started With Your Blackberry

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Getting Started With Your Blackberry

Research in Motion has captured our attention with its range of BlackBerry phones. With the launch of the Pearl they even got into the smart phone market. For the first time they offered a beautifully styled product for the discerning consumer who didn’t want a phone as enterprise-oriented as other BlackBerry phones were.

You, yourself probably ignored it because you found that your applications did not suit its customer base or its enterprise orientations. Now, perhaps you should give it a second look.

Java: All recent BlackBerry handsets have been developed using Java. You need to update your Java skills if you’re not strong on Java programming. If you’re used to C# programming then you should make the transition pretty easily as the languages aren’t that different.

There is no point in picking up the latest editions of Java like the functional and fancy Java 1.5. BlackBerrys are built on the Java Micro Edition Platform, a derivative of Java 1.3.

Library classes you may be familiar with will also be of not much use. Only a small subset of Java Standard Edition classes is supported – some that are BlackBerry specific.

Java ME: You need to check out and understand Java ME once you have brushed up on your Java skills. The Java 2 Micro Edition, also known as J2ME is the particular platform you need to pick up. Configurations and profiles, along with MIDP and CLDC standards are things you will have to get a grasp of. Check out this, as well as any other, article for more information. The sun Microsystems Mobility Development Center is a great source for reference material, articles and tips on Java ME programming.

The BlackBerry Platform: Once you have explored Java ME its time to check out the BlackBerry platform. The BlackBerry is based on the CLDC and also includes MIDP 2.0 support. Now you will be faced with a choice.

Should you write a MIDP application or a BlackBerry application? MIDP will restrict you to the use of APIs exposed by MIDP and CLDC standards which means that you will be unable to use the BlackBerry’s special features. You can use tools that are MIDP compatible like Sun Java Wireless Toolkit for CLDC.

Most developers prefer to develop applications that are BlackBerry specific. In order to do this one needs to know BlackBerry- specific APIs include new user interface classes and use the BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE). You won’t even need a handset as this free-to-download program comes with JavaDocs and includes a BlackBerry simulator.