BB10 – more then a single product: a platform

image ‘steel framework’: from dreamstime.com (click to see the source)

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BlackBerry means more than just mobile app’s to develop – the real power is the entire platform:

  • BBM SDK– the BlackBerry Messenger (still growing from month to month)
  • Push Service SDK – use the BlackBerry infrastructure to push to devices and get reliable information if delivered to the device or app.
  • SuperApps with deep integration of custom applications into the underlying operating system
  • all in a secure environment
  • support for private and work (BlackBerry Balance) at the same device
  • managable by BlackBerry Mobile Fusion together with iOS and Android Devices

I have all of this implemted in recent customer projects and I know, that some of the highlights of my APP’s would not be possible on other platforms or only partially implemented or at a much higher cost. All of this was done by using the old platform based on Java ME.

That’s why I was shocked realizing that RIM’s commitment to QNX and BB10 means a “Switch-Off” for Java. In my customer projects I’m not only doing BlackBerry, but also Android or (with a little help of partners) iOS and Windows Phone. I’m knowing that no other OS gives me so much freedom to integrate my APP’s like BlackBerry 7.

With BlackBerry 10 and QNX the BB10 Platform goes way behind the current platform, because RIM put all the good things into the new OS and enhanced it. Owning the OS gives RIM the power to make it better from the beginning and of course it’s better to have features integrating from the beginning instead putting them later on top.

So I was looking for ways to continue programming for BlackBerry. As my heart beats for native applications, I ended up with Cascades.

Cascades – more then a UI Framework

image ‘cascades over rocks’: from dreamstime.com (click to see the source)

Cascades was designed and inspired by the Swedish UI – forged TAT, brought to RIM and there interwoven with QNX.

The way you’re developing with Cascades is well understood by Java developers like me. Often only a few lines of C++ code is needed to build cool applications.

Cascades first time was presented at BBDevCon in October last year. Cascades looks very impressive and I was fortunate to be able to participate in a closed beta from January this year. Unfortunately the API of this closed Beta contained only a fraction of what was needed to build applications and what was shown at the October conference last year. So I realized that there will be a long and hard way to Cascades becoming reality for developers.

But I don’t give up easily – so I invested my spare time into the first Cascades Beta, reported my requirements, explained my use cases and customer – requirements. The good thing: there are open ears at RIM listening
to developer needs and many of my ideas and wishes found the way into the SDK 🙂

Cascades is not just a cool framework – the developers, designers and architects of TAT behind Cascades are very nice people – I met some of them in SFO, Amsterdam and Orlando. For me a product is as good as the guys behind the product – and in this case all fits perfect together.

Update: Beta 2 of SDK provides some more cool UI – and Navigation Elements – please take a look at the UI Guide.

I’m happy that I could motivate some from TAT to be present at a german mobile developer conferences : Anders Larsson was at MTC in March 2012 in Munich and Staffan Lincoln and Johan Larsby will be at MTC in September 2012 in Frankfurt – come to their Keynote about UI Design and discuss later at the “BlackBerry Night”. (With some luck there’s also the chance to win one of 30 PlayBooks)

Cascades enables you to develop mobile applications with great UI and UX: simple to understand by users and easy to design and develop.

image: from istockphoto (click to see the source)

Yes: the spent time with the first incomplete Beta and the waiting was worth it. At the BB10Jam Conference I was able to review progress and I can confirm that this was a huge progress forward into the right direction. There will follow some other articles or series by me focussing on Cascades and I’ll also offer workshops on this topic to help others to start with Cascades.

If you want to try out Cascades: here’s the SDK to download and many Sample-APP’s are available !

Back to the BB10Jam Conference in Orlando:

next page →


  1. Intro
  2. Death Spiral’. Why developing BB, Who on Earth…
  3. How it all began, Farewell Java ME, the ‘old’ RIM vs. ‘not your fathers’ RIM, I’m independent
  4. BB10 is a Platform, Cascades more then a UI Framework
  5. Thorsten Heins: the hard Way to BB10, BlackBerry 7 is alive
  6. Alec + Chris rockin’ …, BB10Jam Conference, Creating intelligent Apps
  7. Connected Apps with Cascades, Anatomy of a BB10 App
  8. Native Camera API, NFC Apps
  9. Location-Based-Services
  10. Flow + Invokation Framework
  11. Party, SDK, AlphaDevice, Keyboard, Magic Moments
  12. Markets: Consumer, Enterprise, Government, Automobile
  13. BB10 around the World, Apps Apps Apps…, Open Source
  14. Mission RIM possible ?, Empower People like never before ?, Three Wishes

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