RIM’s BB10 inspiring new generation of developers

They had to work out a few things, but once they did, RIM’s relationship with developers got a whole lot better.

At the BlackBerry 10 Jam software developer conference in Toronto Thursday, Martyn Mallick, vice-president of global alliances and business Development at Research in Motion Ltd., told his audience that the new BB10 SDK was designed for them “from the ground up.”

“It really is an application development platform,” said Mallick. “What does that mean? It means that developers get to build their application from the technology that is most relevant and suitable for them.”

For example, he said, C or C+ developers would benefit from the Cascades UI framework, while the platform’s top-notch HTML5 capabilities would keep Web developers happy. BlackBerry and PlayBook are “at the very top of the charts for HTML5, “ he added, for “compatibility, fidelity [and] performance.”

Mallick described what RIM sees as the three main concepts behind BlackBerry 10. The first is “flow,” in other words, seamless integration within and across applications. The second, “connect,” he described as things like “ BBM integration within the BlackBerry market” as well as links to social networks. Finally: “extend.” BlackBerry applications should be able to interact with all manner of other devices, he said, from smart phones to smart cars.

Above all, RIM (TSX: RIMM) has designed the BB10 developer tools to be much easier to work with than previous incarnations, which some developers had complained were outdated and cumbersome. But today, it seemed like their efforts have been appreciated, at least by two young, enterprising developers.

Ryan Robinson is vice-president of Causer Technology, a two-person operation that develops BlackBerry applications for churches. His company developed a hymn book application that can tell you if members of your congregation have certain songs and lets you view them, as well as a Bible app complete with study tools.

As far as he’s concerned, there is “beauty” in BB10. “It’s being able to work in all the different frameworks, some very low-level, very powerful ones, and some very high-level simple ones,” he said.

“It just does a lot of the design elements for you very well.”

The sentiment was echoed by another young conference attendee, Mahmood Riyadh, BlackBerry developer and president of a startup called Devcellent Solutions. Among other things, he’s created an app that lets BlackBerry users superimpose small pieces of artwork in digital images and share them with friends.

After giving BB10 Dev Alpha Simulator a test run, he said ease of use has definitely improved. “You don’t have to worry about various nitty-gritty things. You just have to worry about your innovation.”

The versatility of the SDK compared to other platforms like iOS, which release multiple versions for different devices, is also a plus, he added.

Right now he does BlackBerry development on the side — a fun project, he said. But could the power of BB 10 help his business grow into something bigger? “I hope so,” he said.

Martyn Mallick is hopeful, too. Well aware of the beating RIM has taken in the media in recent years, he said he looks forward to BB10 giving the impetus for more positive stories. From what he’s learned from his media contacts, sometimes good news sells better than bad news.

“They love carnage, but they love a comeback story even more.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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