The RIM press release says it all … that developers will be able to repackage and resign existing Android apps to run on PlayBook.
Yeah … That’s what the developer community needs … more undocumented RIM SDKs to add to the existing, poorly documented and cumbersome family of RIM development SDKs!
The cost of writing mobile apps for RIM devices is already about (I estimate) 30% higher than any other device just due to the challenges of dealing with the RIM SDKs and hardware.
Is adding another build step really going to help?
I am excited to see new innovation come out of Research in Motion with the announcement of their tablet. And, I hope it works well.
What I can’t help wonder about though is the quality of the underlying development tools that will be shipped with that product. Is it JDK 6.0? One might assume, but we’ll see when it comes out. But that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is this:
Overall quality of a mobile device is defined as much by the software development toolkit as the device itself.
And that, my friends, is what I’m looking out for.
A healthy, super usable, software development toolkit means you’re going to get healthy, super usable software for the phone/tablet/device/whatever…
On Blackberry devices, the jury is still out. What is clear however, is that many IDEs have long set the standards for mobile development: great toolchains like those for iPhone, cutting edge Android development tools, great IDEs like Netbeans, and even not-so-great IDEs like Eclipse. Even Windows Mobile development tools have a history be being stable and working well. Will RIM finally step up to the plate?
I may have been the first to blog that the lack of an easy to use, stable development and debugging platform, threatens RIM’s domination in the market as much as anything.
In addition to the normal J2ME properties that go into a JAD file (.jad), RIM has a set of properties that are specific to the RIM platform that go there too. Here they are:
Properties of BlackBerry device application .jad files
The BlackBerry® Integrated Development Environment
lets you create a dual-purpose .jad file to support the downloading of MIDlets onto BlackBerry
devices and other wireless devices. To do this, create a .jad file that contains both the RIM-COD-URL and RIM-COD-Size attributes and the MIDlet-Jar-URL and MIDlet-Jar-Size attributes. On BlackBerry
devices, download the .cod files; on other wireless devices, download the .jar files.
|Required RIM attribute
||creation time of the .cod file
||list of modules that the .cod file requires
||name of the module that the .cod file contains
||SHA1 hash of the .cod file
||size (in bytes) of the .cod file
||URL from which the .cod file can be loaded
|Optional RIM attribute
||reserved for use by Research In Motion
||reserved for use by RIM
||name of the resource bundle on which the BlackBerry device application depends
||suggested position of the BlackBerry device application icon on the Home screen might not be the actual position of the icon on the Home screen