Blackberry 10 developer tools banking on choice

Waterloo, Ont. – After a lengthy world tour singing the praises of the upcoming BB10 development platform, RIM returned to its home and native land on Thursday. Waiting patiently were scores of BlackBerry developers from the area, eager to get their hands on a Dev Alpha device.

Patrick Mollins, BlackBerry’s developer evangelist, admitted that sometimes there was more pressure when playing for the home team. “When you’re called home to the mothership it’s a little intimidating.”

But RIM stayed on message: the BB 10 developer tools will offer a great deal of choice for developers in terms of how to build apps and was simpler than ever to use. Porting applications to BB10 is “super easy,” said Alec Saunders, vice-president of developer relations and ecosystems at RIM.

He dismissed criticism of BB 10, saying that “because we can do options, it’s somehow confusing to build for BlackBerry 10, is total malarkey. The Dev Alpha devices, which RIM has given out in droves, to developers, are identical to those that BB teams themselves are working with, he added, putting them on a “level playing field.”

Jeremy Hutchings, lead mobile developer at Loyalty Match Inc, works as a developer for a Kitchener-Warterloo area company that only began to focus on mobile last year. He was brought on board to hed the mobile development. The company provides software-as-a-service for loyalty programs.

While the company develops for multiple platforms, he said, “being a Kitchener-Waterloo company we have focused on BlackBerry. When we develop for mobile we’ll develop for BlackBerry first.”

“We’re quite excited for BB 10,” he added. We’re looking at integrating our systems more closely with POS [Point-of-Sale] systems and BlackBerry 10 offers us the great advantage of using NFC [near-field communication], and as POS systems move towards NFC, we’re looking to integrate our loyalty programs in NFC as well.”

Another conference attendee, a full-time IT professor at Conestoga College and software engineer at SAP AG, had even brought his two sons to see future in the making. Mayer Tanuan said he was mainly interested in learning more about the BB10 Cascades framework. His main reference for APIs and development and testing in his classes will be BB 10 due to its rich API, which is particularly suited HTML5 development, he added.

“What does that mean to my students and to developers like me? It means that it can take advantage of all the HTML5 features that are available on the desktop and a lot of them will end up on the device.”

His younger son, Marco, 16, a high school student, said that his father had brought him to give him a true picture of what was going on at RIM. “It’s just a way to let me see what’s the actual golden side of this BlackBerry and prove that it’s not actually just going to go down.”While he isn’t sure what he wants to do as a career, he does give dad ideas for mobile apps, including one that would track items checked out of school such as books and musical instruments.

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