WebWorks SDK for BlackBerry smartphones offers devs notification and camera APIs

BlackBerry-Webworks

WebWorks, RIM’s development environment for folks who prefer to use CSS, JavaScript, and HTML, was recently updated for the BlackBerry PlayBook, but they aren’t about to leave their smartphone devs in the dust. WebWorks 2.1 has been released recently, with a few new capabilities. The main one is access to the notification area, so whenever new data is pushed to the app, it can have a specific icon at the top of the screen. Developers can now invoke a camera API in their apps, and the push functions have been improved. Aside from APIs, the new SDK cranks up rendering speeds of apps without loading screens, and expands security authentication options.

Aside from enabling devs that aren’t familiar with (or inclined to learn) the nitty-gritty of BlackBerry-flavoured Java, WebWorks is also an open-source project, so dedicated developers can help build the SDK. WebWorks has been the only alternative to Adobe AIR when it comes to making PlayBook apps, and as a result, a lot of the stuff in RIM’s App World for tablets look a lot like mobile websites. There’s nothing bad about that necessarily, when you consider the richness of some mobile web apps, like Untappd. Since it’s available for both RIM smartphones and their tablet, WebWorks can also act as a common ground for developers that want to port apps from one form factor to the other. One nice tool RIM has released for WebWorks devs is a web-based device emulator, called Ripple (pictured above). It allows devs to have their apps running on a separate server, so they don’t have to compile code and run the emulator locally, hogging up time and resources.

While I don’t intent on ever diving deep into BlackBerry development, I imagine if I were, I’d start with WebWorks. If you’re a developer interested in giving this a shot, head on over to the BlackBerry Developer Zone.

[via IBB]

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