Home Just in Time for PlayBook’s Launch, New SDKs from RIM

Just in Time for PlayBook’s Launch, New SDKs from RIM

Today, Research in Motion (RIM), has released two new SDKs for developers: the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK 2.0 for Tablet OS and Smartphones and the final version of the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR. The former is a major update involving architecture changes, and the latter of these two, the Adobe AIR SDK, introduces a number of changes that allow developers to build tablet applications using Adobe AIR technology. Says RIM, this allows publishers to share code across desktop, smartphone, mobile and television platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more.

The changes are rolling out on the same day that the BlackBerry PlayBook goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada.

WebWorks 2.0

According to RIM, the WebWorks SDK 2.0 introduces the following changes:

  • JavaScript APIs are now separated from the OS. This new architecture will allow developers to modify and enhance the existing APIs and package them with their BlackBerry WebWorks application. It will also simplify adding new APIs to applications.
  • The BlackBerry WebWorks framework and all of the APIs are open sourced and are available on GitHub. Developers can now contribute and participate in the evolution of the BlackBerry WebWorks project.

RIM added both the Individual Contributor Agreement and the Corporate Contributor Agreement to the BlackBerry WebWorks Open Source Software Project on GitHub back in March, as well as the source code for the WebWorks SDK and the APIs. In other words, the information about open-sourcing this framework is not new, it’s just a notable update.

The WebWorks SDK lets developers build apps using standard Web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Those apps can then be distributed via BlackBerry World and installed on BlackBerry smartphones and the newly launched tablet computer. The 2.0 version, specifically, is meant to better align the two platforms (phone and tablet).

BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR

The other major release today is the final version of the Adobe AIR SDK, which introduces these changes:

  • Special APIs for the BlackBerry PlayBook Plugins for Adobe Flash Builder
  • A BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Simulator
  • A Getting Started Guide

Adobe is bringing a lot more tools and services to the new PlayBook tablet, too, in addition to Adobe AIR. The complete list includes the following:

  • Adobe AIR (as noted above)
  • Adobe Connect Mobile, a Web conferencing app available as a free download from the app store
  • Adobe Content Viewer, a viewer for rich media publications (i.e. tablet-ized magazines) created with the Digital Publishing Suite.
  • Flash Player
  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe LiveCycle, a mobile version of the LiveCycle enterprise suite

Whether any of this will actually help get the tablet computer off the ground is debatable. A Reuters report from this morning claimed a NY Office Depot sold just 3 PlayBooks after the store’s opening. As we’ve noted, the tablet received mixed reviews from the press due to issues with missing core apps (email, calendar, notes, contacts, etc.). These will be added later this summer via software updates. In the meantime, current BlackBerry owners can tether their phone to the device for access to these items. It’s a system designed for enterprise users with security in mind, but today’s tablets are meant to have consumer appeal as well. The PlayBook may get there eventually, but it’s starting out rough.

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