Editor’s Note: Today we present Part Two of our three-part series on developing enterprise applications for BlackBerry 10, written by Richard Balsewich and HyunJun Jung, both Senior Enterprise Developers at BlackBerry. Click here to read Part One.
Welcome to Part 2: Sewing it all together!
Part 1 of this series, App Understood in 5 samples, gave you all the pieces to the puzzle so now let’s talk about the application big picture and how to put them together. Since I already showed you the end result is a cool carousel, 99.999998% of you will just stop here, grab the application source code from our BlackBerry GitHub repository, make the simple changes to the URL endpoints, and boom you’re done reading. So instead of wasting time step-by-stepping the sewing process, I’ll use the remainder of this article to highlight a few key points from each of the samples.
The Carousel UI Sample gives you good application bones to start with, so focus on getting this sample running in your environment. This means getting your Signing Keys, debug tokens, and bar-descriptor files updated and operating on your simulator or device. HINT: Use BlackBerry Momentics IDE and it’s a breeze. Then you will need to change out the application graphics to meet your needs. Make them intuitive! If you can get this up and running you’re 60% done. If you run into any problems getting up and running, there are hundreds of KB articles and blogs to get you through it.
Ok deep breathe, backup your work, and let’s <code+paste> some features of the samples to make it better.
Interaction with the user when decisions are needed or when the application is dang busted is a good idea. Why not just take the code that was already written for this from the Dialogs Sample. The code is pretty generic and we’re <code+paste> the Dialog and AlertDialog classes from the sample for our application. Now your application will have a way to interact with the user in the event you want to have more conversations with them, application to human and vice-versa.
Saving data and user preferences is critical to any application. Heck users assume this kind of plumbing is included in every app. Wouldn’t you hate having to save your preferences each time you ran the app? I would. Small pieces of data that rarely change can always use “properties” type development approach available on every platform. Some platforms use a registry concept, some use XML, and since BlackBerry 10 is a POSIX Unix environment we use Qt’s QSettings. The StarShips Sample shows you exactly how to interact with the user through a “Settings” type screen. Replicate that function in your application, or just look at our source to get an idea of how we did it.
The feature we <code+paste> gives the user the ability to invoke any of the URLs as a Browser or Card. So if your web pages are not mobile-friendly, and require a navigation wrapper then they would use “Invoke in Browser” and users will be directed out of the application. Otherwise, if your company has adopted responsive-design in your web pages then users can “Invoke as Card” allowing them to stay within the application.
Understanding and replicating the functionality that this sample shows will make all your apps super apps. Reason is the BlackBerry Invocation Framework handles the interaction between your application and the platform for you. So invoking the browser, email client, and other features will be handled by this one core piece. We <code+paste> the Invoke Email feature to make it simple for the user to provide instant feedback on features for the future. Easy way to plan for Release 2.0!
And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed the concept and try to build other cool enterprise grade applications simply from some of the GitHub samples we have provided.
So far we’ve covered the creation of a clever user interface, networking, data, platform features, and ecosystem interaction – complete with samples that you can check out for yourself. We then gave you the location to the application source code and the dissection of each sample to <code+paste> from. Finally we will cover how to launch your application using the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 and Beyond. Stay tuned, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @BlackBerry4Biz to stay in the know before everyone else.
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