Recently we posted about a rant by Neil, the developer of BBSmart HTML Email Viewer, on his blog DevBerry.com. It seems that Neil is not alone. Jonathan Fisher, the developer of BlackBerry Web Shortcuts and a few freebie games, has added his thoughts to the mix.
Both of these developers are essentially making some very similar complaints. RIM has not made the BlackBerry OS platform and API developer friendly. I am hoping the added publicity will get RIM’s attention to fixing these issues.
The complaints as I understand:
- Lack of proper documentation!
- An API held together with scotch tape and twine
- Terrible developer support
- The developer forum is just downright shameful
- Lack of a bug tracking mechanism
- No clarity provided to the developers into the development process such as known issues and broken compatibility in new OS versions
- Pitiful developer tools when compared to other mobile Operating Systems.
Seriously check out the RIM developer forum and you will see what they mean.
Combined together I can understand why developing for the BlackBerry platform can be a real challenge. The one common thread I have heard from everybody is that the system favors those who have an inside connection. Many of the top applications you know of for the BlackBerry are developed by ex-RIM employees or companies that have a strong insider connection to RIM.
This is one of the fields where RIM needs to really get their act together. They need to welcome 3rd party developers instead of deterring them. This is one of the main reasons there are more than 100 times more Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Palm applications even though RIM has over 10% of the smartphone market!