2009 was a HUGE year for BB development. It started with BlackBerry App World, and has steadily snowballed from there. At DEVCON, RIM broke the news on several stunning new additions to the BB development world, highlights being Open GL, the 5.0 API library, and Widgets. With New Year's fast approaching, addicts the world over are looking forward to 2010 as a banner year for development. I am totally pumped to see the offerings brought forward this year by the development community as a whole.
Are you excited at the possibilities? Interested in getting involved, or maybe know someone who is? Perhaps you're already a developer, and you've been thinking about developing for BB? We would love to see what you can do! I would love to see our developer community grow, producing more and better apps for us to toy with.
To get you started, I'm going to compile the best of the links for developers from RIM, and finish off with some reference materials to give you a place to learn from. I'll start with Java apps, then cover Widgets. More info after the jump.
First thing you will need is the basic tools to get you started.
Number one on the list is the Java SE Development Kit, or JDK., which you can download from http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp
Most of the RIM tutorials use the Eclipse SDK, which can be downloaded here. Select the Eclipse IDe for Java Developers, and the version you require.
You will then need to get yourself the BlackBerry Plug-in for Eclipse, and JDEs for any OS you wish to develop for. These can be found here.
NOTE: If you don't wish to use Eclipse, you can get the BlackBerry JDE here. This is a stand alone tool which will provide you with the no-frills basics.
Install the JDK first, then Eclipse, then move on to the BlackBerry tools. The installation for the first two is quite simple, and a video can be found here on how to install the Plug-I.
Let's Get Going
Now that you are up and rolling, you need to learn how to develop using the tools you have installed. RIM has provided some excellent labs and tutorials to get you started both here and here. These will have you writing and compiling a basic app in no time, but in order to create some of the best applications we have seen to date, and the better ones to come, you will need to have a good understanding of the Java programming language.
You can find several titles which will get you pointed in the right direction on Amazon.com, or even in your local book store.
If you are a complete rookie to Java development (like me) Head First Java is an excellent starting point. I have used it myself, and it really focuses on helping you understand what you are doing, giving you a better grasp of the language overall. You can find it and purchase it at Amazon.
A good title to start with is BlackBerry Development Fundamentals by John M. Wargo, which will give you the basic knowledge you will need to get started writing for the BlackBerry OS. You can purchase it at Amazon.com.
As you gain more understanding of development, you can move onto heavier titles, such as Advanced BlackBerry Development by Chris King. This will get you moving towards creating better, more involved apps. You can purchase it here.
Now that you have an understanding of what a Widget is, let's set up the tools required. Just as in Java development, the first thing you will need is the Java JDK, found here. You will also need to install the Widget SDK from RIM here.
*Quick note: at the time of this article, the Widget SDK is not compatible with 64 bit systems, or Windows 7.*
The next step now that you have the right tools installed will be to get some knowledge into your brain on how to create these wonderful Widgets. RIM has articles and labs available (NOTE: this link will also provide you with several other resources, such as installation guides for the tools above, should you run into trouble.
While texts specific to Widget development for BlackBerry have yet to really make a presence known, as the tools are still in Beta, rest assured that some should be published within the next few months, as they gain popularity. This should give you a good head start. Now, get coding and show the CrackBerry Nation what you're made of!