In my last post, I was pretty negative about the available BlackBerry user interface controls. While that fact hasn’t changed, I didn’t want to leave the impression that the BlackBerry API’s provide nothing to developers. The API’s provide lots of interesting functions including the ability to extend menus within other applications. Take a look at the following from the default messaging application on a 4.5 device.
Before Facebook Installation
This shows the menu in this application before installing the Facebook application. After installation, you can see that the Facebook application has added a new menu item to this application.
After Facebook Installation
This is a pretty nice feature of the API. Although I don’t have actual code to show for this, my assumption is that this is provided by using:
API’s like this allow for incredible integration with the rest of the applications on the device, opening up many very interesting opportunities.
I continue to be impressed with the build quality and overall polish of the BlackBerry Bold as an end-user device… at least for basic functionality. While some may not like the way BlackBerry push email works, I find it to be pretty nice.
As a developer, I’m much more disappointed developing using the BlackBerry native API than I expected I would be when I started playing with my little ZBerry project. Marcus Watkins offers excellent insight into the world of BlackBerry development, which I won’t try to rehash here. The part that I find incredibly frustrating is the lack of decent reusable user interface controls. As Marcus details in his blog post, the provided UI functionality has the bland look and feel of the base operating system. Even more frustrating to me is how little flexibility there is even within the standard controls. For instance, I wanted to provide the user the ability to customize the font used in the text display. Using the standard functionality yields the following dialog. Read more…