It’s great to see more and more companies bringing apps to the BlackBerry platform and recently, we’ve had a huge addition to those supporting BlackBerry 10. IBM has been around for over 100 years providing a range of solutions and services to Enterprise customers from consulting to IT managed services. We’ve enjoyed working with them to bring BlackBerry support to IBM products like Lotus Domino, Lotus Sametime and Lotus Connections. Now, we’re excited to share that IBM Worklight is ready to support BlackBerry 10 for app development for both the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones.
Last year, IBM purchased a mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) called Worklight. IBM Worklight is IBM’s standards-based platform for building and managing applications for multiple mobile platforms such as BlackBerry as well as Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8. Earlier versions of Worklight only supported BlackBerry 6 and 7. Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working with the IBM Worklight team and as of version 126.96.36.199, IBM Worklight fully supports BlackBerry 10.
Build Apps with a Native Look and Feel
IBM Worklight allows developers to import and use native libraries for BlackBerry 10 to create HTML5 apps with a more native look-and-feel, leveraging BlackBerry UI aspects and gestures like swiping down from the top to provide settings and options.
Porting an App is as Simple as Checking a Box
IBM Worklight has made it really easy for developers who’ve built iOS and Android apps using Worklight to output a BlackBerry 10 version with the click of a checkbox. By opening an existing Worklight project and selecting BlackBerry 10, Worklight will create the necessary environment and folders to create a BlackBerry 10 version of the app. There may need to be some custom BlackBerry 10 coding and styling necessary, but Worklight will help developers keep BlackBerry 10 specific code well contained. This is especially helpful for developers familiar with the complexities of multiple platform support in hybrid apps. Developers can then submit the app for general distribution in BlackBerry World or deploy within an Enterprise through BlackBerry World for Work.
Use Skins to Support Multiple Device Form Factors
As mobile devices come in many different sizes and form factors, developers also have the ability to optimize UI layouts based on the device form factor by means of skins. Worklight Application Skins allow developers to manipulate certain UI elements such as buttons and move them around the app interface depending on the device form factor, allowing you to define specific sets of UI resources and activate them at runtime (based on device activation). One great benefit is that this approach completely separates specific UI elements based on device, keeping the code clean and easier to maintain. Device detection at runtime can be easily done through the ‘user agent’ string, which can be used in conjunction with BlackBerry’s ability to define a user agent for ‘touch’ devices and another for ‘keyboard’. This is a great feature especially for BlackBerry users who have the option of a full-touch device like the BlackBerry Z10 or the much anticipated QWERTY device, the BlackBerry Q10.
We’re excited about the apps that developers will build using IBM Worklight and we will continue to work with IBM to add more functionality and bring richer integration to BlackBerry 10 apps built with Worklight. For more information, visit: www.IBM.com/worklight.
How will IBM Worklight’s support for BlackBerry 10 benefit your enterprise app development? Share your favorite feature in the comments below.