Back in August of 2013 the fine folks over at MoDev teamed up with BlackBerry to host the Built for BlackBerry $5K Contest. The goal, as you may have guessed by the name, was to help developers create great apps that would qualify for the Built for BlackBerry program. There were cash prizes to be won and each developer who entered would also get a free BlackBerry 10 device. In the end, three winners were chosen: Magic4Square, Aerize Explorer and Charlottesville Ballet.

The developer of Charlottesville Ballet, Steve Jernigan is CEO of Cloudspyre, LLC, has now taken to the MoDev site to explain a little bit of the background process for entering the contest and why it was such a great experience for him. The title of his blog posting says a lot about it - Why BlackBerry is Awesome. Though I do encourage you to read the full post for yourself, here's a bit of what Steve had to say.

We all know the app development opportunities in D.C. are red hot.  As the CEO of an app development company that does work for government contracting firms, it was only a matter of time before I got asked the question “Yeah, but what about BlackBerry?”.  And as the CEO of that same very small app development company, that left it to me to go figure out the answer to that question.  Luckily, MoDev worked with BlackBerry to sponsor a free class on building BlackBerry apps in the middle of last September.

My goal was to create an app that was “Built for BlackBerry” certified.  That means that the app couldn’t be some Android port, but had to be built specifically for the BlackBerry platform so that it conforms to how BlackBerry has engineered their user interface standards.  This meant that I was definitely doing a Cascades app.  These are coded in Qt with a little C++ behind the scenes.  Qt was ridiculously easy.  I think I started building my app during a 1pm Sunday football game and had all the screens flushed out by half-time of the 4pm game.  It was that easy.  The learning curve is by far easier than Android’s SDK and iOS.

So in 3 months I went from doing my first BlackBerry app to being featured in the #1 spot on Built for BlackBerry on the device.  What other platform could that have happened on?  Best of all, when my clients ask me “Yeah, but what about BlackBerry?”, I have the answer.

Once upon a time, developing on BlackBerry OS was a pretty convoluted process. Once upon a time developing on BlackBerry caused some serious frustration issues for developers. In the time since the initial release of the BlackBerry 10 SDK though, that sentiment has changed as have the tools offered to developers. Today, development on BlackBerry has been vastly improved all around. The tools are all available for free, the developer account is free, and the community support is there when needed.

Read the full Why BlackBerry is awesome post