I just spent the better part of a week at the BlackBerry Developer's Conference, and had an overall good experience. Had good times hanging out with Ronen from BerryReview, Jessica from CNET, Simon from IntoMobile, Monica from BlackBerry Motion, and even got to see the infamous Crackberry Kevin! Of course I also met up with Eddie from Weatherbug and Travis from GWAVA, both of whom I first met at last year's conference.
A lot of exciting things are going on with the BlackBerry platform, many of which are continuations of what we started to hear about last year. As a developer, one of the most interesting items is the completely rewritten Eclipse Plug-in 1.1 that is now in beta. The original plug-in was considered to be a forceful mashing of the JDE and Eclipse, and did have its quirks. The new plug-in has been rewritten from the ground up, and integrates much better into the whole Eclipse framework. I've already installed it, of course, and will soon be migrating the LogicMail trunk over to using it. I recommend checking out the full list of Tools Announcements from the conference.
Many new features are going into BlackBerry OS 5.0, and I fully intend to embrace some of them. (Don't worry, I'll still jump through the hoops to support 4.2) Some of the more notable features include:
- Network API - This fixes the #1 gripe of us developers, and will help magically solve the "make LogicMail auto-detect which network connection to use" problem. I might still have to solve it manually for older devices, though.
- FilePicker API - This will provide a more polished alternative to my current attempt at the same thing, for saving/loading attachments
- BrowserField API version 2 - This will provide a clean and easy to use mechanism for displaying HTML content. The current Browser Field is an abomination of a hack to get working, and I'm looking forward to having a cleaner option for newer devices.
- AutoCompleteField API - I'm sure I'll find some place to use this, possible for choosing message recipients, depending on how it works.
While they weren't giving out free phones anymore, at least this year's presentations came with a lot more sample code. I'm drooling at getting back to the code now, and also eagerly awaiting the BlackBerry Bold 9700 coming to my carrier (T-Mobile) on Monday.
Now I just need to find an unlocked BlackBerry Storm 9550 for testing, to cover all the bases...