RIM Releases WebWorks Revamping Widgets and Open Sources WebWorks Code

RIM just announced at DevCon that they are revamping the BlackBerry Web Application Platform with a new WebWorks branded platform. This new set of tools will replace widgets from what we understand and will be built on the framework of HTML5 along with CSS and javascript. The new WebWorks platform is available today and can tie into the same functions as native Java apps.
The other big announcement is that they are opensourcing the web application framework and have opened the code for the WebWorksframework on GetHub. The idea is to bring the speed of web development cycles to BlackBerry apps with similar tools. They are also working with javascript framework developers like jQuery and motools to port them to the BlackBerry.

Here are my notes on their announcement and the press release below. Expect more analysis later:

    •    Available today and will work on both older and newer browsers
    •    Develop apps for BlackBerry using HTML5 css and javascript
    •    Can tie into the same services
    •    Wrap apps into an easy to implement javascript wrapper
    •    NO JAVA
    •    Bring speed of web development
    •    Opensourcing the web application framework to integrate the WebWorks platform into the BlackBerry
    •    Opensourcing WEBWORKS community name for GetHub for opensource
    •    Promoting the web framework
    •    Add your own integrations with the opensourced tools

RIM Launches Next Generation BlackBerry Web Application Platform, Releases Code to Open Source Community
New BlackBerry WebWorks app platform merges simplicity of HTML5 with the power of BlackBerry services, true multi-tasking, true Push technology and more
Developer community can now access and contribute to the BlackBerry open web application platform and tooling components
San Francisco, CA – BlackBerry DEVCON 2010 – Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced its next-generation web-based development platform, BlackBerry® WebWorksTM, which enables web developers to build full-featured applications for BlackBerry smartphones entirely in HTML-5, CSS and JavaScript. With the new web application platform, developers can leverage their HTML skills to create rich, integrated web applications for BlackBerry® smartphones that take advantage of advanced features through APIs and services, just as BlackBerry Java® applications can do today.
The new BlackBerry WebWorks platform brings together existing BlackBerry web development tools as well as new tools and platform services. It provides developers with a comprehensive toolset for creating rich applications that offer customers the benefits of deep integration with core BlackBerry features, true multi-tasking, true Push technology and access to the full range of BlackBerry services, such as the Locate service or the newly announced BlackBerry Advertising Service.
“BlackBerry developers have discovered the value of building web applications that can leverage the unique characteristics of the BlackBerry Platform, such as running in always-on mode and integrating with native BlackBerry applications,” said David Yach, CTO for Software at Research In Motion. “The new BlackBerry WebWorks platform takes the power of existing web tools and enhances and adds to them in order to allow developers to build sophisticated applications using their existing HTML5 skill sets with no compromise in functionality or performance.”
BlackBerry WebWorks also includes updates to the web application packager, new web APIs and the BlackBerry Web Plug-Ins 2.5.
Web application packager 1.5
The web application packager is used by developers to package their web applications in the same way a BlackBerry Java® application is packaged, and with the same file formats. BlackBerry web applications can then be distributed via BlackBerry App WorldTM, BlackBerry® Desktop Manager, OTA (over-the-air) or BlackBerry® Enterprise Server.
BlackBerry Web APIs
BlackBerry WebWorks includes a set of new web extensions that enable a deeper integration with native applications and other functions of the handset.
•    Send a text message from within the application •    Read call log data from the phone application, check if the phone is currently in an active
call, check the number of missed calls •    Play an audio file as well as create APIs for playing, pausing, stopping and seeking of the
audio file from within the application’s UI
Web Plug-Ins 2.5
Updates to the Web Plug-Ins for BlackBerry WebWorks include multiple entry points, which give developers the ability to start their application in the background, in addition to launching from the homescreen or a download folder. Applications can also continue to run in the background. Web Plug-Ins 2.5 also gives developers the ability to cache web pages and content to the handset’s system memory for faster performance.
Open Source
RIM is working with the open source developer community to allow developers to access and contribute to the BlackBerry open web application platform and tooling components and share in the evolution of the web platform. In addition to sharing source code for the BlackBerry web platform, RIM is working with leading open source JavaScript framework companies DoJo, GitHub, JQuery, Nitobi and Sencha to encourage developers to create web applications with advanced web and AJAX functionality.
The BlackBerry open web application platform offers ease of development and seamless integration with the BlackBerry platform. Developers will be able to quickly package web assets (HTML, CSS3, JavaScript and access to local resources) into easily deployable applications that take advantage of the BlackBerry platform’s unique value and Super App qualities such as access to hardware functionality, access to Push, access to contextual location services, access to native applications and integration with BlackBerry services for advertising, analytics and payment services.
“RIM has always firmly supported industry standards and believes in embracing the needs of the developer community,” said Alan Brenner, Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Platform. “We started supporting open source communities through our work on the BlackBerry 6 WebKit browser and the response from the open source community has already been very positive. We are tremendously excited to see where the developer community will take this initiative and the code that we are presenting.”
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The BlackBerry open web application platform initiative allows an application to fully integrate with a BlackBerry smartphone, using the same security, packaging, code signing and distribution infrastructure that BlackBerry Java applications use. Further, developers who utilize the open source initiative are able to create these rich applications using familiar web tools.
RIM is working closely with leading open source JavaScript framework providers to help accelerate mobile development and allow the open source community to help evolve the BlackBerry open web application platform.
“The Dojo Foundation is ecstatic about RIM’s open source initiative. BlackBerry 6, integrated with our mobile strategy (dojofoundation.org/mobile/), is a platform that will give web application developers extreme control over developing mobile web applications. We are thrilled to be working with RIM to build mobile platform support into several Dojo Foundation projects.”
- Dylan Schiemann, CEO at SitePen, Inc., and VP of the Dojo Foundation
“New innovations in BlackBerry 6 have made it possible for PhoneGap developers to build engaging and sophisticated BlackBerry apps. The new BlackBerry open web application platform will further encourage developers in the growing PhoneGap community to write more apps for BlackBerry smartphones.”
- Andre Charland, CEO at Nitobi Inc.
“We’re very excited that the full power of the BlackBerry platform will now become easily accessible to Sencha developers. HTML5 is the new lingua franca of mobile, and as the first framework to fully leverage it, we’re looking forward to putting it to work for BlackBerry developers.”
- Abe Elias, CEO of Sencha The BlackBerry open web platform is available within partner open source communities now:
http://www.github.com/blackberry
Quick Links:
For more information on the BlackBerry open web application platform initiative, please visit
www.blackberry.com/developers/webworks
For the latest news and information about the BlackBerry Developer Conference visit www.blackberrydeveloperconference.com.
For RIM insights into developing for the BlackBerry Platform, visit http://devblog.blackberry.com or follow @BlackBerryDev on Twitter. Visit the BlackBerry Developer Zone at www.blackberry.com/developers for the latest news, information and updates for BlackBerry developers.

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