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Introducing BerryBlab v1: Must-Have App for BlackBerry Users Who Frequent Web Forums Powered by vBulletin!

By Kevin Michaluk on 12 Feb 2010 03:54 pm EST
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I've been anxiously waiting for a few weeks now to get BerryBlab officially announced here on the blogs (I'm in a mad-rush right now packing to fly out to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, so we tag-teamed this one and Adam did up the video above). Until today BerryBlab was still in beta, but it has now gone version 1.0 and is ready for the spotlight. So what is BerryBlab?

BerryBlab is a new BlackBerry app that is a real must-have for those BlackBerry users out there who frequent web forums that are powered by vBulletin, such as our own CrackBerry forums. Rather than browsing the forums via the BlackBerry web browser on your device, you can now surf them via the BlackBery app which provides a smooth user experience. It works on both touchscreen and non-touchscreen BlackBerry Smartphones, and provides all of the basic functionality you'd expect in a mobile forum viewing experience: you can view forums and subforums, post and reply to threads, view images, get PMs, etc. The app allows you to access multiple forums as well, so you can jump back and forth between all your favorite forums.

One key point to make note of here is that the forum administrator MUST install the BerryBlab plugin into their forums in order for the app to work with that site. In the case of CrackBerry, we've had it up and running for weeks now as beta-testing progressed on the application. If you buy the app and the vBulletin forum you want to visit does not have the plugin installed, be sure to point them to BerryBlab's site so they can grab it for free.

BerryBlab sells for $2.99 and you can grab it at the link below. Keep in mind that though it's now out of beta, as it is a new app it's possible you could experience some glitches. The BerryBlab dev team has been very responsive, so if you find any bugs or have any ideas on how to further improve the app be sure to drop it in the comments and they'll get it tackled. 

Reader comments

Introducing BerryBlab v1: Must-Have App for BlackBerry Users Who Frequent Web Forums Powered by vBulletin!

47 Comments

I visit a few different forums that are powered by vBulletin, and this would be useful. However, I have a real problem paying for shortcuts to the internet.

...it felt like a really great way to access the (CrackBerry) forums from my BlackBerry, but somehow it didn't just cut it and navigation was awkward (opening a thread and going to the next one required a bit more than patience).

It was good as a freebie, though I won't be paying the $2.99 for it. Wapforums work fine enough for me.

For the record....This will be the best $ you've ever spent if your frequent forums often. I've been using this now for a few weeks and I must say that it works great. Support is very responsive if you have any issues! Only issues that I've been having are from different forums that haven't installed or updated the plugin for their site.....GREAT APP!

i had this app since before they started charging. I upgraded the app when it prompted, am I still gonna have to pay?

Do Forum Admins have to pay anything?

This sounds like a great application. However, two issues:

- being just out of beta and prone to bugs
- no way to tell if the forums I frequent have (or will have) the plugin

There really should be a trial for this application. No trial, no purchase for me.

The plugin is pretty easy to install!

If you can contact the admin of the forums you are on, I'm sure they will gladly install the free plugin for you!

Let me know if I can help at all.

Ever since BerryBlab came out I have used it instead of going to the wap website. I find it simpler and easier to use. It's quick to check out what's new and reply to posts. More features will be coming soon, so I would definitely check out this application and would list it as a must-have. The free version will allow you to view the forums. You'll need to upgrade to the paid version to be able to reply and post. It's not a shortcut to a web page, it's an actual application that lets you browse the forums. Make sure to let the developer, footose, know your opinion and suggestions. This app is only bound to get better. :)

I just downloaded this for free the other day from the berryblab website. I believe there are 2 versions, the free 'lite' version and the full 2.99 version which offers more options. I'm loving the free version so far though.

If you read any vBulletin forums, this software is a MUST have. It makes reading, following, commenting and participating so easy! It is well worth the 2.99.

-frank

This app is a must for CrackBerry forum users. I use it everyday, it's fast, and easy to use. Can't wait for phpbb and IPB support. It's easily worth $2.99!

I tend not to download apps that don't have a trial period option.
In addition I don't see why I would pay to speed up posting comments by a few seconds.

i hardly ever buy apps and the only other paid one i have is quicklaunch. i saw this and went out and bought it straight. fantastic app this is! im trying to push my administrators to add the plugin to their forums now. super app!

I run a medium size forum myself. A lot of my users are BlackBerry owners, and they had problems using the site on their phone. I didn't own a BlackBerry for a long time, but once I got one I also found it difficult to do simple tasks on the forum - Login - View Threads - Post a Topic .. etc.

A lot of smaller forum owners can't hire Developers to create WAP themes, or dont' have the knowledge / experience to do so. Developing a custom template for vBulletin and smartphones is such a hassle IMO. Regardless of what you do, it's still difficult to browse certain parts of ANY forum. This way, the plugin and BerryBlab completely negates the need for a WAP version of a site.

Given the above, I wanted to make an application that:

- Loaded the forum quickly and easily
- Used native BlackBerry functions - scrolling, highlighting
- Had all of the basic features of the forum - Read, View, Reply - etc.

The more I developed this app, the more I understood that many other forums had to have this problem, thus BerryBlab was born. It allows you to add any forum that has this plugin installed.

Because of the way I developed the plugin, the data that needs to be transferred to your phone is pretty minimal, much less than WAP and other plugins / apps that are currently available.

For example:

Loading the main CrackBerry forums from WAP.CrackBerry.com takes approximately 70kb's.

Loading the same forum using BerryBlab takes less than 20kb's, which cuts loadtime by ~70%.

Also, the big part of this for me was making it specifically for BlackBerry. I just really couldn't stand surfing my site on the Browser.

I have also purchased an assortment of test devices to make sure that BerryBlab will work on all 4.5+ keyboard devices as well as 4.7+ touchscreen devices.

I personally think the CrackBerry WAP site is fantastic, well laid out and I'm sure many people will continue to use it.

However, I feel BerryBlab is a more efficient way of viewing and replying to sites. If anything, BerryBlab will provide people yet another way to access CrackBerry (and many other forums) quickly and easily. I don't think it's a "full replacement" for the crackberry wap site *YET*, but I do know that it will be in the coming months, from a feature prospective.

I would totally give away this software if I could afford too do so. I'm an independent developer, and the only reason it's $2.99 is that I have spent close to $X,000 (closer to 10) in development and hardware on this application. I really just want to recoup costs, I'm not out to "make it rich" by any means.

Supporting software like this is also difficult, particularly when its free / demoware. Sometimes I will find a solution to someones problem in minutes, and other times I will spend a week on it. Regardless of the length, it does cost me "time" to support software like this. I always find a solution though :)

I hope that the price point isn't "too high" for everyone, but I understand that not everyone will think it's worth it. I on the other hand, do ( although I may be bias :) )

The great thing about BerryBlab is that you will receive lifetime upgrades and support! For 2.99, I think that's fair. Also, with the help of the CrackBerry community, BerryBlab will only continue to get better. I can also comment that BerryBlab will be support Wordpress, Drupal, vBulletin VMS and Joomla soon, so you will also be able to read the main site also! Exciting! (Probably a few months away on those features tho)

It did not require. The forums to be vBulliten and require the berryblab plug in. I want a solution that will work for most websites

Right now I use opera and it works great. That and most bulliten sites have a mobile site

The developer is wanting to add support for more message boards like phpBB and others. This application uses a plugin to create a API for BerryBlab so we can get the best experience through a application on our phone.

that is good news, when I first heard of this product I was quit excited. I was out off by its limitation, I wass not able to add any of the sites I follow, but I'll definitely keep an eye on the product as it matures.

As a user I'd more inclined to pay for a product that provides an experience as easy as VIiGo, where I am at the mercy of wheither the admin wishes to add the plugin or not.

I really do not like the idea of paying for an application that does something which some forum software does by default. Other software does a very good job at creating a WAP based version of the forum that allows you to do almost everything you can do via the web version... but not vB.

It makes using forums so much easier on my bb. I actually almost prefer using my bb for posting over my PC now.

Hey Guys!

I'm the developer / owner of BerryBlab!

I'm glad everyone is enjoying BerryBlab! If anyone has problems, or suggestions don't hesitate to email me or PM me here on CrackBerry!

I try to get back to everyones email as fast as possible. If you have emailed me and I haven't responded within 24 hrs, please make sure you send me another one, There is a chance I missed it or haven't seen it yet.

Also, I have been in this thread:

http://forums.crackberry.com/f35/berryblab-vbulletin-blackberry-412171/

Constantly taking your suggestions and feature requests into consideration. if you are having issues, you should go there, there are many helpful users and I check that thread daily.

Harry

Won't let you post, but if you want to try it out you should download the free version first at berryblab.com

I've also installed the plugin on my own forum as well, its quite painless to install, just dump some file and it works.

Though I do agree it's quite nice, but maybe providing the "reply" feature for free isn't a bad idea. Maybe you can make everything else as a paid feature. That way you at least have a bunch of people using it. Regardless, it's quite solid IMO.

Showing avatar as a checkbox would be cool as well :D

But then 3 dollars is cheap XD considering its a lifetime. I like it.

Please enable ability to put preferred forum at top of list so we don't have to scroll to our favorite *OR* it would be better to include an option to have a default forum launch at startup.

The settings menu item on the opening forums list page is dead...only a white box appears where the menu was. (8330m 4.5)

I got a java.lang.NullpointerException twice

I told it to save my login but it still asks me for it when I go back in...sometimes. When I do press login blue bar, the login info screen comes up and there isn't a login button (just save, cancel and verify credentials) and pressing any of them does not make the login screen go away. At one point, the login blue bar didn't appear in the list of crackberry forums and I could get to private messages, reply etc. but then just selected themes subforum and login blue bar appears at top and now menu does not allow me to reply. So chose login blue bar, chose verify and save and now minute long hour glass and back to subforums list with login blue bar at top. So highlighted Login then hit menu and selected Login Info and now logged in to subforums list. Then selected Themes and Login bar again at the top of themes subforum but menu does not have Login Info as an option, just New Thread and so my paid version does not allow me to reply...

So I did a battery pull and crackberry opened without the login blue bar, have private messages menu etc., selected a subforum and login blue bar appeared again. Got a solution?

Upgrade to v1.01 fixed settings menu problem. BES users without WiFi on the device need to have WiFi and BES checked to fix the login problem. Harry has his hands full with all these suggestions but he is responsive. Worth the $2.99 IMO. I found I can be logged into the blog with the CB launcher and forums with BBlab simultaneously - Just an app switch away from each other. :)

I just found out about this. I like do frequent web forums that are powered by vBulletin, so I will have to find out how many of them I frequent have installed the BerryBlab plugin into their forums in order for the app to work.

I think this is a great app, but dont think that vbulletin site owners will install this on their server couse you sent them a request for this.....

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to let everyone know I found the issue with the 83XX series phones not showing the settings menu and I will be doing a quick fix release tonight

Also, will respond to all of your above comments tomorrow.. it's been a long valentines day tonight ;)

FYI to anyone considering buying this application: With every post you make through it, BerryBlab will insert an advertisement for itself. So along with your post, all other forum browsers will see "Posted from my BlackBerry using BerryBlab", with a link to the BerryBlab website.

Not only will many forum admins frown on this advertisement, it's pretty crappy to stick paying customers with it as well. I could understand doing this with the free version, but I've paid my $3 bucks, why am I forced to advertise for you as well?

I'm not using BerryBlab again until the ad is removed for customers who have paid for the application. If it's never, then enjoy my $3.