I Don’t Typically Do This

by Martin Gordon

Developing for BlackBerry in 50 Easy Steps

  1. Sign up for the RIM developer program.
  2. Find the SDK download page.
  3. Select “Download”.
  4. Whoops, forgot to answer “No” to question about whether you want to receive spam from RIM (this happens on every download page).
  5. Download and open SDK installer.
  6. Installer is not built for Intel (you know, the processor that has been in all Macs for almost 5 years), so install Rosetta.
  7. Installer requires USB drivers, need to download and install BlackBerry Desktop Manager (which requires a restart).
  8. Re-run SDK installer.
  9. Open the BBEclipse folder on your Desktop (the default install location) and launch Eclipse.
  10. Whoops, there’s no BlackBerry Simulator for the Mac.
  11. Install VMWare Fusion.
  12. Install Windows XP.
  13. Download and install SDK.
  14. Develop app.
  15. Run app in simulator.
  16. Whoops, there’s no UDP support in the simulator.
  17. Drive down to the store and buy a phone.
  18. Whoops, can’t activate the phone without service books from AT&T.
  19. Call AT&T and find out they won’t give you the service books without a one-year contract, despite having paid full price for the phone.
  20. Drive back to the store and return the phone.
  21. Find a friend to loan you a phone, or pick one up from eBay.
  22. Run app on phone.
  23. Whoops, can’t run app without signing the app.
  24. Request code signing keys from RIM. Despite them being free, you are still required to enter your credit card number.
  25. Wait four hours for the keys to arrive.
  26. Install the keys via the IDE tool.
  27. Sign the app and try to run it on the device.
  28. Whoops, it says there’s no device connected.
  29. Download BlackBerry Desktop Manager.
  30. Whoops, it requires Service Pack 3.
  31. Install SP3.
  32. Check email. There are 30 new emails from RIM notifying you that you signed your app. Despite it being one app, you must sign each of the 10 debug files with three different keys.
  33. Install BlackBerry Desktop Manager.
  34. Try to debug app again.
  35. Whoops, Eclipse still says there’s no device connected.
  36. Since your app gets signed each time you try to install it on the device, you just got another 30 emails.
  37. Google for a way to disable the emails.
  38. Find out you can’t. It’s a security feature meant to alert you that someone is signing apps with your keys.
  39. Set up Gmail filter to delete those messages.
  40. Settle for at least trying to get your app to run on the device, even if you can’t debug it.
  41. Try to install app using the Desktop Manager.
  42. In order to install the app, you need to install an OS update that can’t be disabled.
  43. In the process of installing the update, the BlackBerry restarts, breaking something with VMware Fusion. The device works, but the Desktop Manager doesn’t recognize that the update was run.
  44. Try 40-42 few more times.
  45. Realize that the reason you went to Windows was to use the simulator.
  46. Try to install app using Desktop Manager for Mac.
  47. Find out that in the process of installing the app, the Desktop Manager verifies the checksum of all existing apps, and that for some reason some apps are failing.
  48. Try an OS restore.
  49. OS restore worked, and now the app does install.
  50. Yay! We have the app running on the device!

If you’ve made it this far, here’s a sneak preview of the process for actually debugging an app…

  1. Open Eclipse on the Mac.
  2. Debug the app.
  3. Whoops, the signing keys aren’t installed.
  4. Install signing keys.
  5. Whoops, no more registrations left for the keys.
  6. Request new keys from RIM (yes, enter your credit card number again).
  7. Wait for keys…