Plazmic Content Developers Kit - Its Current Issues and a Look At What is Possibly Ahead For It

By Bla1ze on 27 Oct 2009 12:55 pm EDT
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Plazmic

The last time we took a look at the Plazmic Content Developers Kit it was due to the fact RIM had removed the Plazmic.com homepage and placed it on the BlackBerry Developers page. It was later explained to us that this move was completed in order to get Plazmic in line with the rest of the BlackBerry developer tools as Plazmic was now going to more of an "in house" mission to get it top notch. This time, we're going to have a look at where Plazmic is hoped to be heading and a quick review of some of the issues theme developers are now faced with when making themes for BlackBerry devices.

At this time, the last action we saw from Plazmic was just a basic patch which allowed for themes to be made for some newer devices such as the BlackBerry Tour and the BlackBerry Curve 8520. While this patch did allow for those devices' themes to be created, it was far from a full implementation of Plazmic's potential as it left a lot of things unchanged and others just impossible. Easy things such as changing the font on the call screen were never corrected, among other things such as issues with fonts, irregular crashes and just overall bugginess.

Lately there has been a lot of talk about the current issues with Plazmic affecting 5.0 OS devices, mainly the BlackBerry Storm 9530 as this is the first device to officially have OS 5.0 available to it. Theme developers have recently been inundated with emails from Storm owners due to the issues seen on the device when being used in conjunction with OS 5.0. Landscape mode seems to cause glitches where themes are no longer sized right for the device, and while fixes have been found, they do not correct the issue 100% nor does it work on all themes. Another noticeable example of errors is with the offical OS release by Verizon, where certain icons are "squished" even on basic Precision themes. This however could fall under an OS or Plazmic issue.

The issues I addressed here are indeed not the problems of theme designers and I'm positive if you look around the CrackBerry forums you will find many more issues that users have with Plazmic.  The problem is, at this time, theme developers do not have the tools needed to fix themes correctly. The things here to consider or ask yourself are: Is RIM aware of these problems? Do they have plans to address and correct them? I can assure you RIM is aware of them and they will be addressed, it's just a matter of time. The BlackBerry developer community has grown quite a bit as of late with the launch of BlackBerry App World, the BlackBerry Developers Blog and RIM's own customer support forums.

As such, with the community growing, RIM has been more and more involved with actively listening to developers, collecting feedback and putting that feedback to work for them. The correcting of Plazmic's fallbacks is on their radar. While I cannot say for certain when we will see all this work come together, I can say that when looking at the BlackBerry developers conference session catalog a lot of focus is being placed on the utilization of developer tools to create advanced graphics. And certainly with RIM's focus on making Plazmic a better tool for developers, we should be seeing some of this focus at work at the developers conference as it is a widely used developer tool.

Reader comments

Plazmic Content Developers Kit - Its Current Issues and a Look At What is Possibly Ahead For It

11 Comments

Great post. I too wonder if RIM is aware of these issues. If themes are indeed coming to App World in November, it would be interesting to see how fast they pump out updates to the developer tools.

Also thank you for pointing out the glitches and bugs are not due to the developers work, but due to RIM's tools.

I was so excited when my RSS reader showed the name of this post as "Plazmic Content Developer's Kit - Its Current." It cut off the title so I thought there was a new release and IT IS CURRENT. No such luck. Thanks for keeping tabs on all of it for us.

why does it only seem that themes on storm are the most affected? most phones running one form or another of OS5 seem fine, but not the storms, wierd one that!
i remember reading in the blackberry forums that there was a new one on the way but it wasnt being discussed due to `upcoming models` featuring, so now the storm2 and bold 9700 have been announced, lets hope rim give us all an early xmas present

Because the Storm is the only phone that the home screen has to rotate with the device, the rest of the phone there is only one way to look at the screen.

Reading this article, I had a thought. The iphone has many application that are only available through their app store, thus confirming that Apple gets a piece of the fee for each app or owns the app entirely. If RIM is going to offer themes through their app world in November and a majority of theme developers are independant and have not ties or loyalty to RIM, would it be safe to assume that RIM is going to only offer their updated software to theme developers that want to abide by their rules.

It makes sense financially for RIM, does it?

RIM's development tools have always been free.. I always assumed it was a way for them to sell more BlackBerry devices...

I understand that the problem where SMS messages sent by third party application appearing on the today screen is a Plazmic bug. To me, this has been one of the most obvious non-5.0, non-Storm problem with themes. I find it hard to believe that this error has not been fixed...

It's a NIGHTMARE.

I've never seen such a P.O.S. piece of software patched so loosely "together" ... I tried making a few themes for my Tour, and it's beyond a joke how sad the software is.

Plazmic needs a major, and I mean MAJOR overhaul. And for what it's worth, they also should have a version for Mac - because most every designer I know uses a Mac, so design + programming = win. I've run Plazmic on a PC and on a Mac using VMWare and the "experience" is less a burden when using a Mac as it's always bogging down my PC.

But the 4.7 update to Plazmic is more like a one-day project from some intern working at Plazmic, who was told to write a program even though he was qualified only to get coffee for the CEO. It's that bad.

Blackberry needs to get their s**t together because honestly, the market is catching up to them, Droid is a huge topic, and the open-sourceness of it seems to allow for a tremendous amount of customization.

With Plazmic, you can surely customize the call screen on 4.7 for the Tour, but guess what? It doesn't work, and that's confirmed by everyone. Why have an option that doesn't work?

I'm starting to get over RIM. Focus less on a billion handsets and more on STELLAR software for users and developers. And STOP skimping on phone quality - trackballs, click screens, nightmares. Put a glass screen on everything and make a solid product that runs the way a BB should out the door.

But who am I kidding, RIM won't wake up neither for their developers nor their userbase until it's way too late.