Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Running Magic xpa apps on BlackBerry PlayBookTablets

As the news is filled with daily stories about the demise of RIM and the BlackBerry, I have to say I hope not. But I will say that if I were developing apps for BlackBerry Playbook, I would definitely leverage the Android capability of the device. In that fashion, the Magic xpa Application Platform can be used to develop and deploy your apps and you maintain the option of easy portability to Android tablets and iPads.

A Magic developer has three options when creating apps for BlackBerry PlayBook. First. you can deploy mobile client apps developed with Magic xpa on BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet 2.0 and above using the Magic xpa Android Client on the BlackBerry PlayBook Android runtime.

To deploy your Magic apps during development for development purposes, you can use the blackberry-deploy utility available in the BlackBerry SDK tools.
You can run the mobile apps you have created using the simulator or on the PlayBook itself.

The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet can run Android 2.3.3 platform applications. So with Magic xpa you first need to create an Android APK file and then repackage the Android applications to the BAR file format. This is the compatible file format required for an application to run on the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

The process is fairly straightforward and is comprised of three basic steps. First you create an Android APK file.  Second, you get the code signing keys from RIM.  Third, you create a signed Playbook file. Remember to increment your version number each time you build and sign your app, the RIM utilities will not issue a new key for the same version.

The second approach for a Magic developer to create apps for BlackBerry PlayBook is based on HTML5. BlackBerry PlayBook Tablets will also run Magic xpa Merge applications in the browser. The Magic xpa Application Platform generates merge files that are incorporated with tags in the HTML5.

A third approach is a hybrid between running the PlayBook app on the BlackBerry OS and including inline HTML5 within the Magic RIA Client.
Regardless of how and when RIM pulls out of its current crisis, I would lean toward options one and three, depending on whether I needed to leverage any HTML5 wizardry.

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