BlackBerry 10 BBM Integration for the Work Space

Enterprise

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes to us from Maurice White, Senior Enterprise Developer at BlackBerry

By now, you’ve heard of BlackBerry Messenger, one of the world’s most popular instant messaging applications. But it’s more than just that, it’s a platform leveraged by millions of users – one that empowers users to:

  • Share photos, videos, voice notes and files
  • Create BBM groups to message multiple contacts at once
  • Video Chat and share screen with contacts using BBM Video
  • Switch your BBM conversation from text to call using BBM Voice
  • Chat with BBM users on Android and iOS devices

See what I mean now? A platform! Imagine leveraging some of the aforementioned features as a developer, by creating apps that integrate with BBM. This could truly increase the value of your mobile app, opening up a world of possibilities to you and your user base. This blog post is meant to provide an introduction to integrating apps with BBM. These apps will run in the Work Space of BlackBerry Balance enabled BlackBerry 10 devices.

Although the BBM application exposes features through the BBM Social Platform API, as of 10.1 some of the features are limited in the Work Space. However, using the very powerful Invocation Framework on the BlackBerry 10 OS, you’re able to invoke BBM and some of its features from your custom application by sending along an Invocation request. This makes it easy to integrate with and leverage features of existing applications, preventing developers from having to “recreate the wheel.” Your application would pass along an invocation request containing the following details:

  • Target: The unique ID of the target application
  • Action: The action that should be performed on the data
  • Data: The data that should be acted upon

The Target, Action & Data parameters for each of the core applications on BlackBerry 10 OS can be found here.

In this posting, we’ll be invoking the BBM application using specific actions related to BBM features. We’ll be interacting with individual BBM contacts and BBM Groups. The code samples will be done in Cascades and you’ll be surprised as to how simple this is to implement.

Invite users to BBM/Invoke a chat

You can programmatically add users to a BBM contact list and/or Invoke a chat leveraging the same code with the Invocation framework. Let’s walk through the following code block:

bbm2

Upon successful execution of the above code, you will see:

  • The “Invite” window (if the contact is not in your BBM contact list)
  • An invoked chat (if the contact is in your BBM contact list)

bbm1

Sharing Image with a BBM Group

It’s possible to programmatically share images that reside in the work perimeter of your device to users in a BBM Group. Imagine being a field service representative, needing to quickly share images with the staff back at the office. You could build a custom app to leverage BBM to do just that. Since the prior example already explained creating an InvokeManager and InvokeRequest, I won’t discuss those pieces, I’ll just dive into setting the Target, Action and Data of the request.

bbm4

Upon successful execution of the above code, you will see:

  • The BBM groups window will be displayed where you select the BBM group where you’d like to share your pic.
  • You then enter a caption before posting the pic to the group

bbm4

In Conclusion…

It’s really THAT simple to integrate custom apps with BBM. This helps you as a developer to build deeply immersive applications that allow your users to communicate on the go, without leaving your app to initiate chats and share with colleagues! The above examples where meant to whet your appetite, so I’ve taken the liberty of posting a fully built sample implementing the above on BlackBerry’s public GitHub repository here.

Hopefully this post has sparked some creative ideas as to how you could build applications for your enterprise that integrate with BBM. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @MoReeseMo or share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Ali Rehman

@AliRehman81 is the Enterprise Social Marketing Manager at BlackBerry. He is involved in managing social media program for the B2B community. Also focusing on developing engagement and awareness across various social properties. Outside of work he is a massive aviation fan and big supporter of the 'Blue Angels (USN)' aerobatics team.

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