Thursday, November 5, 2009

Learning How To Test Mobile Device Applications (Part 3) - BlackBerry

In this HOWTO series, we've covered two popular mobile device platforms, webOS and Android, in these articles:
Learning How To Test Mobile Device Applications (Part 1) - Palm webOS
Learning How To Test Mobile Device Applications (Part 2) - Android
Today we'll look at BlackBerry. As we've stated in previous articles, our goal is learn enough from developing simple apps on each platform so that we have a better understanding of the platform as testers. And we want to accomplish this without having to buy each mobile device or any development software. Fortunately, developer offerings from RIM meet these requirements, albeit with less hipness than webOS and Android.

Their "Getting Started" info is somewhat buried on their BlackBerry Java Development Environment page, and most of the info is provided as PDFs.  Which is OK, but not as convenient as having online reference web pages, particularly since some of these PDFs load slowly.  Basically, here's what you'll need to get started:
  1. Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor (minimum 3 GHz)
  2. Microsoft® Windows VistaTM, or Windows® XP 
  3. Java® SE Development Kit (JDK) version 5 or version 6 Version 6 is required if you
    are using BlackBerry MDS-CS for debugging
  4. Eclipse IDE for Java Developers version 3.4.0
  5. Blackberry tools (Java Application Development tools)
They do say you can develop on Linux or Mac OS X, but the "easiest and best supported is the Windows 32bit platform."  Interesting, especially since the minimum Windows systems needs to be 3GHz.

Here are the step-by-step instructions for setup:
  1. Download the JDK at http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads index.jsp. The current version is JDK 6 Update 12 which includes the JRE
  2. Select required platform and language, agree to the licence agreement, and proceed with the download
  3. Download the Eclipse IDE at http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/
  4. Select Eclipse IDE for Java Developers and the version you require
  5. Save the file on your computer
  6. Download the BlackBerry tools at http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/resources/devtools.jsp. Here you will need to download the BlackBerry Plug-in for Eclipse, as well as the BlackBerry JDEs
  7. Download all available JDEs (currently 4.3 to 4.7) so that you can test your applications on most current BlackBerry devices. You will need the plug- in and at least one JDE.
  8. Once you click on the link you want to download you will have to sign in (or register if you are using this service for the first time) 
  9. Use this video to learn how to install and configure the BlackBerry plug-in for Eclipse.
The above will get you to the point where you can create your first app.  RIM provides a detailed, step-by-step tutorial on creating a "Hello World" app.  This includes instructions on how to run it on their BlackBerry simulator.  Follow their instructions and you'll have your first app up and running and ready to test. And you'll find a wealth of testing and debugging information in their How to Debug and Optimize guide.

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