The BlackBerry Jam Direct webcast for developers took place today and with it the release of the Gold SDK. We already saw the Dev OS updated to 10.3.0.700 for developers to use for testing and today we see Gold SDKs released, as well as the Simulator which let's you try out the upcoming BlackBerry Passport's touch-enabled keyboard. During the webcast, BlackBerry went through the new APIs available to developers, such as Bluetooth LE, new headless triggers and telephony (retrieve phone number, hold call etc).
We'll get more into what's expected to arrive in BlackBerry OS 10.3 in a different post but for now, here's some of the changes added to the Gold SDK made available today.
Enhanced toolbar - The updated toolbar focuses on launch configurations, and it is the starting point for launching your app. You can use the toolbar for tasks such as running an app, debugging an app (including headless apps), profiling C/C++ or QML projects, and performing memory analysis or code coverage.
New Device Properties wizard - If your device is not connecting correctly in the IDE, you can use the new Device Properties wizard to resolve problems that may prevent deployment of your app on a device.
QML Preview enhancements - QML Preview has some new features that make testing your UI easier. In the preview window, you can use the touch interaction feature to test how your app responds to touch events, or use the selection feature to find the code that implements a control. You can also see how your UI looks with colors, themes, and screen resolutions
Design units and UI adaptability - Design units and asset selectors make it easier to create adaptable UIs. A design unit is a unit of length that scales assets for different device specifications. You can use asset selection based on screen layout or asset selection based on screen density to minimize your code.
Themes and colors - You can now change the primary color of your app at runtime or in your bar-descriptor.xml file to a color that matches your brand. You can change the default visuals for many core controls.
Setting visual styles for your app - You can specify the theme of your app (bright, dark, default) by using the Theme drop-down list on the Application tab of your bar-descriptor.xml file.
New permissions in API level 10.3.0 - Using API level 10.3, you can access new phone and PIM permissions in your bar-descriptor.xml file. You can learn about a call in progress, add audio to a phone call, start an outgoing phone call without prompting the user, or view the logs of previous phone calls.
Later in the summer we should see a 10.3.1 SDK drop in beta and then a gold release for that too. The 10.3.1 SDK will provide key features for developers to create apps for the BlackBerry Classic and the "tool belt".
I'm certainly looking forward to 10.3 and can't wait for it to become available. I've tried out the beta OS and have just loaded on this latest release and I'm liking what I see. Just bear in mind that the latest release in a developer version so it is not good to use on your main device.
To download the 10.3 Gold SDK, head on over to the BlackBerry Developer website and download the SDK for your preferred system.