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!


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