The new BlackBerry WebWorks platform brings together existing BlackBerry web development tools as well as new tools and platform services. It provides developers with a comprehensive toolset for creating rich applications that offer customers the benefits of deep integration with core BlackBerry features, true multi-tasking, true Push technology and access to the full range of BlackBerry services, such as the Locate service or the newly announced BlackBerry Advertising Service.
"BlackBerry developers have discovered the value of building web applications that can leverage the unique characteristics of the BlackBerry Platform, such as running in always-on mode and integrating with native BlackBerry applications," said David Yach, CTO for Software at Research In Motion. "The new BlackBerry WebWorks platform takes the power of existing web tools and enhances and adds to them in order to allow developers to build sophisticated applications using their existing HTML5 skill sets with no compromise in functionality or performance."
BlackBerry WebWorks also includes updates to the web application packager, new web APIs and the BlackBerry Web Plug-Ins 2.5.
Web application packager 1.5
The web application packager is used by developers to package their web applications in the same way a BlackBerry Java® application is packaged, and with the same file formats. BlackBerry web applications can then be distributed via BlackBerry App World™, BlackBerry® Desktop Manager, OTA (over-the-air) or BlackBerry® Enterprise Server.
BlackBerry Web APIs
BlackBerry WebWorks includes a set of new web extensions that enable a deeper integration with native applications and other functions of the handset.
- Send a text message from within the application
- Read call log data from the phone application, check if the phone is currently in an active call, check the number of missed calls
- Play an audio file as well as create APIs for playing, pausing, stopping and seeking of the audio file from within the application's UI
Web Plug-Ins 2.5
Updates to the Web Plug-Ins for BlackBerry WebWorks include multiple entry points, which give developers the ability to start their application in the background, in addition to launching from the homescreen or a download folder. Applications can also continue to run in the background. Web Plug-Ins 2.5 also gives developers the ability to cache web pages and content to the handset's system memory for faster performance.
"RIM has always firmly supported industry standards and believes in embracing the needs of the developer community," said Alan Brenner, Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Platform. "We started supporting open source communities through our work on the BlackBerry 6 WebKit browser and the response from the open source community has already been very positive. We are tremendously excited to see where the developer community will take this initiative and the code that we are presenting."
The BlackBerry open web application platform initiative allows an application to fully integrate with a BlackBerry smartphone, using the same security, packaging, code signing and distribution infrastructure that BlackBerry Java applications use. Further, developers who utilize the open source initiative are able to create these rich applications using familiar web tools.
"The Dojo Foundation is ecstatic about RIM's open source initiative. BlackBerry 6, integrated with our mobile strategy (dojofoundation.org/mobile/), is a platform that will give web application developers extreme control over developing mobile web applications. We are thrilled to be working with RIM to build mobile platform support into several Dojo Foundation projects."
- Dylan Schiemann, CEO at SitePen, Inc., and VP of the Dojo Foundation
"New innovations in BlackBerry 6 have made it possible for PhoneGap developers to build engaging and sophisticated BlackBerry apps. The new BlackBerry open web application platform will further encourage developers in the growing PhoneGap community to write more apps for BlackBerry smartphones."
- Andre Charland, CEO at Nitobi Inc.
"We're very excited that the full power of the BlackBerry platform will now become easily accessible to Sencha developers. HTML5 is the new lingua franca of mobile, and as the first framework to fully leverage it, we're looking forward to putting it to work for BlackBerry developers."
- Abe Elias, CEO of Sencha
The BlackBerry open web platform is available within partner open source communities now: