Tuesday, February 12, 2008

RIM's Java Development Environment

The BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE) is an integrated development environment (IDE) that provides a complete set of tools and APIs for you to develop Java applications that run on BlackBerry devices. JDE requires the Java 2 SDK to run. It comes with a BlackBerry simulator for testing, but I recommend you obtain an actual BlackBerry device. I personally like the 7510 model, a data and voice handheld device for networks that adhere to the Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) standard, such as Nextel in the US and Telus in Canada. Other devices run on GPRS or CDMA2000/1x networks. To test your applications you must also sign up with a wireless carrier for a plan that includes data services. You can get voice service as well, of course, but beware: Having both phone and email services in a single appealing mobile device is addictive!

Through the JDE you can compile your Java source code, package it in a .cod file, which is in a proprietary format, and load your application into the BlackBerry, whose JVM will then run it. Note that, as in other environments, a preverification process occurs before classes are loaded into the device. The JDE preverifies code automatically before packaging it in .cod files.

The current version of the JDE is 4.1. I've used JDE 3.6 for this article only because the BlackBerry I'm using came with version 3.6 of BlackBerry and I haven't upgraded the OS yet. For a list of the JDE versions available that indicates what OS versions they support, please see the JDE download page. Links to that page and to other resources for developers appear at Java SDKs and Tools.

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