BlackBerry Dev offers his take on developing for BlackBerry and why he does it

By Bla1ze on 5 Jul 2011 04:14 pm EDT

While everyone else was busy discussing the open letters sent to RIM execs and concentrating on the all the doom and gloom surrounding the situation -- one BlackBerry developer took it upon himself to write up his own open letter. Not to make the situation worse, but in an effort to show people it's not as bad as some would have you believe.

“Letter from Outer Space” was written up by a developer named Ekke over at his personal blog -- Ekkes Corner and having been a long-term BlackBerry developer Ekke highlights the many reasons he sticks with BlackBerry development and his thoughts on all these letters from purported RIM employees. Ekke touches on a lot of things in his letter and even offers his outlook on the future of RIM in a portion he titled "RIM – Research in Motion in Transition", quite fitting really.

If you've not read the letter as of yet, and are tired of all the dramatic horror stories then it is certainly a suggested read. As each day passes, more people are ready to put the final, final nail in RIM's coffin but Ekke offers a his perspective from the outside looking in -- something that more developers and users should be doing. 

Read the full version of “Letter from Outer Space”

Reader comments

BlackBerry Dev offers his take on developing for BlackBerry and why he does it


Finally you got this posted, guess it took a while to get over your google drivel.

It a nice article that all the whining morons who usually post here should read.

Well said. After I read that Google crap I was so ticked off that I took time off rather than post a seriously nasty reply.

Even in its darkest days Apples fans did not desert it, they stayed truly faithful and i expected this site to be one of the faithful - unfortunately I was mistaken.

The day Kevin posted the google drivel (as you rightly point out) Berry Review posted this article, which finally showed up here.

May be this site is going the way the pinstack site did (from BB to Android). What would it be called? Crackberrygoog? Crackberrydroid?

Come on Kevin et. al '- spend time finding positive stories to counter the crap that is going on.

If I wanted to read berry doom articles why would I bother ever showing up to this site?

I am especially pissed because I have spent more money at the crackberry store than any other. Gotta rethink, hum.

Totaly agree. Last night i read this deep and nice article in BerryReview, great! In other position, in the same night, i had a bad surprise with google drivel in CB. Now it's time to look for the future with hope and beleaving that will RIM back to the 1st front.

I think that is very difficult filtrate many bad news and opinions. With more of the same negativity, it's time to think differently and think positive.

Well said. The google drivel set me off royally. I had to check where I was -I couldn't believe what I read was really on crackberry.

Then came Ekke's insightful post. Thank you kindly for the time you took to write it. I hope it inspires developers and confidence in RIM.

It (almost) relieved the twitch Kevin's article gave me.

couldn't agree more, the trolls won over Kevin. advice to so called crackberry leaders, learn something from you sister site precentral.

This is an article I would expect to be written by a crackberry leader.

I think blackberry fan no.1 is now too busy with the new blogging enterprise and it fell to blackberry fan no. 1,000,000.

It's very sad that this site has lost its leadership and got a meme from BGR.

We should ask Ekke to found a new crackberry blog and forums:

I couldn't agree more... I just started down the road of developing a few mobile apps recently. I released my first BB phone app "Baby Names" a couple of weeks ago and found the Eclipse IDE and BB Java framework to be very intuitive and easy to learn. In terms of revenue, I've been getting about $4 a day, without any marketing, which seems decent to me.

I then implemented the app in Android and found I was pulling my hair out trying to do some very simple things. It's not that Android isn't a well thought out environment, but the learning curve was noticeably steeper. I published my app and here are the day-by-day sales: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, ... zero sales.

From there, I've moved on to implementing the app for the iPhone. The development tools have such a steep learning curve that it was impossible to go be feel and had to revert to buying a book and reading the book. I'm very surprised that Apple has had so much luck getting devs to write apps given how foreign its tools are and that you have to do your development on a Mac for crying out loud.

So anyway, I'm just one dev and in terms of mobile, I'm just starting out, but my experience has been the inverse of what these noisy letters seem to protest.

I really wish you would hear more about how difficult it is to develop for the iPhone. The "buzz on the street" always seems to be that iPhone development is so simple a 3-year-old could do it in a lazy weekend. Not only that, but you could crank out 10 iPhone apps in the time it would take you to download the BlackBerry SDK!

Until your post, the only counter to this popular conception is an ex-coworker of mine (who I actually trust as a smart and capable software engineer) who started working on iPhone apps last year. He could probably post a 10-page rant about how convoluted, confusing, and incorrectly documented the whole process is. (And yes, he actually is an Apple fanboy.)

Daniel, have you tried developing your app for Windows Phone 7? Apparently the platform is really nice to develop for.

No, that's next on the list after iPhone/iPad... I've enjoyed using Microsoft's development tools for many years, so I'm looking forward to implementing it for Windows Phone!

Barely legible article full of innacuracies. A developer should be aware that IOS Android and WP7 can ALL deliver timely push e-mail; full 128bit encryption, as well as utilize various 'lock down policies. The fact that he starts out indicating they don't, shows me that he is within the same dark part of the moon as RIM.

Further, most, no, make that the vast and overwhelming majority of worldwide BB users are on legacy devices - that is, pre-6.0 OS. In fact, Basille commented on call some months ago that more than 50% are pre-5.0. Saying that one should develop only for 6.0+ cuts off most users from your apps. Not bright. This fragmentation of OSes and capabilities is why there are so few OpenGL applications for BB.

Java is easy to program for, if it's what you know. Otherwise, not so much. And RIM makes it harder. I have Beta tested so many BB apps/Themes in the last 3-4 years I can no longer count. Developers always ask what would you like to see, and it is a constant refrain that, " RIM will not let you do that. " Or "RIM no longer lets you do that."

RIM's problems are not getting fixed this year. They're not getting fixed next year. RIM needs to not only develop and push out QNX handsets, but they need to burn off several prior generations of handsets. And that includes the OS7 devices when they release in the 8th or 9th month of this year.

RE: Barely legible article full of innacuracies. A developer should be aware that IOS Android and WP7 can ALL deliver timely push e-mail; full 128bit encryption, as well as utilize various 'lock down policies. The fact that he starts out indicating they don't, shows me that he is within the same dark part of the moon as RIM.

Hi 1magine,

...don't want to discuss about your experiences with RIM, because I'm independent and can only talk about my own experiences.

But your complain about innacuracies I want to answer, because this isn't the way I'm working:

I didn't wrote about email pushes - I wrote about "Push Services" - per ex. to push orders to a truck driver. If you compare Push Services between different platforms (Android, iOS, WP7, BlackBerry) there are huge differences:

If you have the requirement of QoS to get notified directly after delivering a push message to a device and also get notified if a push message couldn't be delivered in a time frame, then BlackBerry Push Services Plus SDK is the only one with this level of QoS.

If you want to push a order to the truck, then this works best with BlackBerry: you can push up to 8 KB data (payload) - enough for a normal order. Android and WP 7 let you push 1 KB - could be too less. and iOS lets you only push 256 Bytes. So - if you have to deal with Push Services not from BlackBerry you have to develop your own workflow to handle this: per ex. sending a GUID and then let the mobile device get the payload from server in an extra step.

If you have the requirement to know that a push was delivered, then you have to develop this by yourself for iOS, Andorid, WP7 - per ex. sending acknowledge back to server and if server doesn't get this in a timeframe to push again. BlackBerry notifies you directly from Push Service. ... all this reducing development costs.

I could wrote much more... it's part of a session about PushServices I'm regulary talking about at national and international conferences - if you're interested I can give you slides about this.

I'm a Freelancer and can only live if my customers are satisfied - so be sure I'm always looking for the best solution - and believe it or not - in many cases this is BlackBerry.


I don't know where you got your idea about legacy installed base, but the reality is that almost all app purchases come from devices running OS 5+. You can Google for the stats. I have apps that support OS versions as early as 4.2, but see very little activity from pre-5 OS versions. Practically speaking, OS 5+ is where the app sales are. It does not make commercial sense now to target older OS versions when developing new apps.

Give Ekke a break. English isn't his first language, yet he's still far more legible than most non-English-speakers who are constantly asking for basic programming help in the RIM forums and on Stack Overflow.

correction,activcesync as you think is a not pure push service, it is a pull and push where as BES/BIS is a true push service.

1magine, care to answer Ekke? From my POV, his english is absolutely fine. And from his answer, he seems more competent than you are.

This confirms what i already supected the BGR letters are a fake, the developer stated that whoever wrote the letters has no idea what he or she is talking about.

Reading this was a serious breath of fresh air. I'm really looking forward to the future of RIM - Research In Transition. Why else would their acquire the companies that they've recently acquired, if they weren't planning something big with them. As to BGR's intentions with what they published, I'm sure he got what he wanted at the end of the day. But as for RIM, they are a big company and they will see themselves through this dark period. I don't write this comment because I'm a blind follower or fan boy, but as someone that has tech needs that RIM has met for longer than I can remember. As a pure communicative device, the Blackberry will still lead the pack regardless of all the hype that everyone is hyping about and the lack thereof of certain entertainment centric factors that others feel they need. So only time will tell, because it's time that they have provided they play their cards right.

My 2 cents...

1magine, you sure love spreading the FUD. Get your facts right before you rant, 68% of BB subscribers are on OS 5.0 or above as of May 31, 2011 (easily over 70% by now). I would only develop for 5 or up as anyone still on four probably is not buying a lot of apps in app world, paid app downloads on App World are 94% 5 or higher, with 54% of those being on OS6. People who buy new phones buy apps, a simple fact, it's easy enough to code for different versions, people do it everyday for Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7.


Uncanny headshot, this blogger looks like Billy Bob Thornton. Hey Billy, CBC will welcome The Boxmasters and you back on your next release.....

Sorry I couldn't resist the temptation at bad schtick.

Massive thanks to Ekke for taking the time to write such a thorough article. Very insightful! Made me even more pumped to get that bold 9900! =)

Downloaded apps may be a majority 5.0+. Makes sense, earlier devices don't have allot of memory. But in terms of devices in use: the streets of the developing world are clogged with earlier blackberries running pre-5.0 software.

Not that any of this matters. It's all about apps. and developers have looked and made their choice.

You people should have figured out everything you need to know about the current BB OS by listening to RIM itself. Look at the OS on the Playbook (Conspicuously not a BB OS), Mike's statements about the 2011 devices and RIM's plans 4 months after releasing its 2011 devices.

Pretty lame come back my friend. The first mistake you make is to come on here and think that most of the people are dumb. Hey if we are on here it means we own blackberries (unless we are flaming apple fan boys).

This means we know ALL of the issues with most of the blackberries we don't need people like you to post the kind of SH*T you posted in your initital post WE KNOW IT ALREADY!!!

The purpose of a site like this is to find out some news about BB, new apps perhaps new products coming out etc. not to read crybaby posts like yours. Honestly go back to your post read it and ask yourself what is the value in in?? If if what you said was right (which as Ekke pointed out is not the case) it would still offer NO VALUE!

Something like this article is what I was hoping to hear from the leader of this site- not the Google crap that was posted here the other day!
We need more of this kind of article to stop scaring people away!!!!!

I've lost most of my respect for Kevin as well, doesn't seem like someone that should lead Crackberry nation when he's such a lover of big bad Google. Anyway, this letter is a valuable read. There's got to be other devs who feel the same way.

Who said Kevin is a Google-lover? One can live, eat and breathe one smartphone manufacturer and respect another. I don't recall him slamming BlackBerry in that Google article (or ever, for that matter).

If Kevin or any of the Crackberry staff show shards of frustration with RIM, they're only reflecting the sentiment of the majority of BlackBerry users and industry watchers. It's not their job to be cheerleaders!

Oh stop defending crackberry, with all the crap they have put out about RIM over the past year they should learn what it feels like to be called to task when you are not doing your job well.

Kevin's intial post about the playbook was bad. Even he admitted later it was a bad article. That post probably killed off thousands of sales of the playbook, which I own and love.

Did you listen to the last podcast? Pathetic. That's right guys pathetic, pick up your game. Even when posted the group apologizes and say the next one will be more positive.....

Craig.... do I need to say more... the guy will defend Apple to his death, including putting out crap about big bad Microsoft which I've posted about on here before.

Posting articles entitled RImmageddon..... say ohh ahhh here is what BGR is doing while not pointing out that BGR is a seriously biased blog site..

Sorry crackberry team but just as your bit&h and complain about RIM or Jim and Mike you should experice what it feels like when you yourselves fall down on the job.

As I have said above what you shouldn't forget is that WE ALL OWN BLACKBERRIES we know what the issues are with them and we don't come here to read endless complaints about the laggy OS etc. WE KNOW IT!!!!!! So think about what a blackberry owner would come to this site for and serve your customers better.

This article should have been posted as a sticky so that it stay at the top of your site for a while.

If you are indeed the #1 site for blackberry users why not stand up to the crap being spewed by sites like BGR.

Why not as been asked for MANY MANY times put up vote buttons so that comments by apple fan boys can be voted into oblivion?

If you think that what you are doing makes your site better, think again. And when you do keep in mind WE OWN BLACKBERRIES AND WE KNOW THE PROBELMS!!!!!!!!!

RIM is history.

I've used blackberries for many years 7100, 8800, 8900 etc. My last blackberry was the worst. The main problem and bottleneck is the software. It just can't keep up with the market. The Developers at RIM are probably old and are used to slow release cylces.

Every new version of BB OS brought out lot of new bugs and crashes, something which was absent in older blackberries. And installing too many apps from app market used to crash the OS leaving me with a blackberry with a sad face.

The best thing RIM can do to solve its problems big time is embrace Android, they way Nokia did Microsoft. But I'm guessing that may be too much of a change for RIM. They might still be under the illusion that they have a great OS.