Sunday, 30 September 2012

Blackberry Native App Coding

The latest free Blackberry Playbook offer has hit the developer's plate, and brings with it a 32gb version shipped to your door along with a whole lot of learning fun! The only catch - you have to submit an app written with the Marmalade SDK, a native C++ library designed to make it easy not only to port your app to Blackberry, but also to iOS and Android with relative ease.

At first, writing code using the Marmalade SDK (or any native SDK for that matter) seems over-whelming. A good grasp of C++ won't save you completely, as there are thousands of function names, classes and other structures that are unique to the SDK. Fortunately, there are plenty of "Hello World" type examples and some amazing tutorials by DrMop ( that help you learn and provide code snippets to grab for your app. Marmalade itself offers a huge library of tutorials and has online forums where developers can share their coding conundrums!

So why go through the bother, just to get a $149 Playbook 32gb? It is about the challenge! It is also about learning to develop in native (versus HTML webkit only) and having an app that can be ported to all major platforms. It is about the potential to make money with the app, especially if a pay version is released. And all you need to get started is the willingness to put in some time and effort.

Microsoft Visual C++ Express 2010 is available as a free download, and forms the development environment to work in. The Marmalade SDK installs and works seemlessly together with it, even providing a simulator to test your app and emulate different devices. Everything required to get coding, including Blackberry signing keys, is free along with a Playbook. Anyone with the drive to work hard and learn has the potential to make the next "Blockbuster App", an Angry Birds of their own!

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