BlackBerry Jam: A developer preview from a developer [Weekend Coder]

By Brian Scheirer on 11 May 2013 06:03 am EDT

Alongside the consumer focused BlackBerry Live Conference is the BlackBerry Jam Americas developer conference. We all expect most of the exciting announcements to happen during the “Live“ side of the conference but there are some sessions that could lead to some interesting insight of the future of BlackBerry 10. So in this “Conference Special Edition” of the Weekend Coder series, I thought I’d highlight a few topics from a developer’s point of view. As well as give some conference pointers and tips for any fellow developers attending.

First it should be noted that there is a good spread of introductory level sessions in whatever platform you choose to develop (Air, Android, HTML/WebWorks, and Native) and you should definitely attend if you are new to that platform to get a good overview. I don’t expect you’d hear anything earth shattering in those sessions. Going a bit deeper, you’ll see there a wide variety of topics and a complete list of sessions can be found here. There you can see the more newsworthy goodies are in more advanced sections. Here’s my breakdown of the ones I think have a good chance of interesting news:

  • JAM10/JAM27/JAM29: “Three Devices, One App! Developing for Tablet, All Touch and Physical Keyboard form factors” for Android, Cascades, WebWorks, respectively. Even though BlackBerry 10 for PlayBook has been confirmed in the past here is further proof that it is coming. Plus it is a good sign that it is coming soon, because developer usually get tools a few months beforehand to make sure apps are ready when it does happen. It is great to see they are breaking it out into specific environments to speak on a finer level of detail.
  • JAM22: “Welcome to the new and improved Momentics IDE” Momentics IDE is the primary environment used to create Cascades (Native) apps and everything in this session description leads better/easier developing experience. I admit I am partial to Cascades development (and indirectly end users are too because native apps tend to run the best) so anytime things become easier for developers the end result is better and more apps.
  • JAM34: “Automotive 101: The Automotive Market for Developers” BlackBerry has previously announced QNX concept cars but not much has really come of them to the everyday developer. Here we might find some deeper integration of BlackBerry 10 into the automotive world. This could lead to some really exciting integration between your smartphone and car and/or an entirely new market for BlackBerry 10 developers to tap into.
  • JAM47“Background Services – Event Driven Processing for your Application” Shao128 has already done a great write up on this session but I just wanted to reiterate that headless apps will open a lot doors for developers.

Again these are just the few I think could result in some interesting news on the developing front. Plenty of other sessions on various developing topics ranging from APIs features to pricing/marketing your apps. So there should plenty for all types and levels of developers. One more session I feel worth noting is:

  • JAM42: “Simple Game Development in Cascades” Okay you caught me, this is my session… But here’s another reason to check it out. Everyone from kids to your grandmother likes playing a game once in a while. Making games is fun and odds are you aren’t going create next super complex 3D shooter game, but it is very possible to make the next Angry Birds. This session will go over the basics of level selector screen, game screen and game logic. I promise a good time.

Next, aside from the sessions, there is an equally important aspect of the conference. You guessed it, the parties! I’m only half joking here. Between sessions most developers and BlackBerry employees hang out in the Jam Space (open lounges) and that is a perfect time to network, share ideas, ask questions, etc. I have had all kinds of conversations on things such as asking/explaining how to do something in developing, discussing new app ideas with fellow developers, and promoting my apps. I know starting conversation with others can sometimes be intimidating, especially if you are new to developing, so in the evenings there tends to be events where BlackBerry provides you liquid courage that can spark all kinds of conversations. You never know who you might meet or what you might learn in these conversations so I encourage everyone to make the best of these opportunities.

One final note, unfortunately there is no live stream of any of the breakout sessions but they are usually made available a few weeks after the event for on-demand viewing. Currently you can view sessions from last year’s Jam Americas and Asia as well as this year’s Jam Europe.

Don't forget we'll also be live blogging the keynote and will have a crazy amount of content coming from our CrackBerry Live show.

Should be an exciting time and I look forward to learning about some new BlackBerry 10 features as well as meeting some of you guys!


Reader comments

BlackBerry Jam: A developer preview from a developer [Weekend Coder]


I love it until it gets all glitchy, or freezes then I wanna throw it at the wall.

Come on Bb10 for PlayBook come sooner!

Posted via CB10

This was a great informational article on the side of BlackBerry im unfamiliar with! I sure hope these jam sessions increase and us as end users reap the benefits from the brilliancy of developers out there.

"I admit I am partial to Cascades development" I love cascades. I have used MS Visual Studio for years, and the momentics IDE actually rivals Visual Studio (which I would consider one of the best IDE's in the industry - don't forget this is Microsoft's bread and butter).

It is super intuitive and easy to work with... only one annoyance is that you need to set up a slot just to load an image from the web rather than just being able to set the ImageView image to the url, but this is minor.

Great choices. But maybe one should also consider JAM 83 "Lab: Hands-on with Qt in the Multi-Screen Age"
You would learn to build your app (almost) once and for all for Linux, BB10, Windows, Mac (and even Android soon) thanks to Qt. You only have to adapt the user interface to the platform in Qml.

Thanks for the write-up, Brian, makes me wish I knew how to code and develop apps. Hope y'all have fun!

Posted via CB10 & loving it!

I tried to highlight some sessions that would not only appeal to devs but give some insight to the average user that something in there might affect (in a good way) them soon. Also, could take a stab a learning to code, its really fun :)

As a PlayBook user, I will be F5'ing CrackBerry like crazy over the course of the Jam to get info. I sure hope the news is promising...

Get one of those clever lads to make z10text/ keyboard usable without glasses.
If i zoom to see; i lose the letters on the edges of the keyboard. I can't use predictive cos i cant see.
I only use +1 reading glasses but the fone is almost useless without this upgrade .
I have the screen type set bigger as i did on my curve.
Come on developers!
I will be happy to pay and take these glasses off..
People, put this notice in front of someone who can sort this please.
This usage is why i have used bb not an i or a samsong'n dance. HELP :)

Posted via CB10

I wish I 'd gotten the complimentary pass earlier so I would had time to plan the trip. One week before is just to close.

Hope to see the videos posted soon!

Posted via CB10, from my DarthBerry