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Devs: Share Your “Unconference” Ideas & Win a Free Pass to BlackBerry 10 Jam + Hotel

 Working Together

We told you earlier that RIM was doing something unconventional at BlackBerry 10 Jam called an “Unconference” at their first ever BlackBerry 10 Jam developer conference. An Unconference is where RIM lets the attendees let them know what topics they want to cover. It allows them to better serve devs and round out the conference with last minute session topics on the subjects developers want to cover.

RIM has already reached out to attendees asking them to suggest topics for the Unconference but now they have taken it a step further. You can win a free pass to the BlackBerry 10 Jam developer conference along with a three night hotel stay. All you have to do to enter is suggest a topic for the Unconference in the comments below. We will choose the best suggestion submitted by Tuesday April 10th at 11:59PM EST and hopefully notify the winner shortly thereafter. Check out the details on BlackBerry 10 Jam here.

I recommend you flesh out your topic suggestions beyond a simple basic subject. For example, “How do I execute a successful public beta for my BlackBerry 10 app” is a good suggestion but free free to frame the reason for why the suggested topic is important to you as a developer! Good luck!

NOTE: This is a developer conference and will be held from May 1st until May 3rd 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Please do not enter if you are not a developer and cannot make it for the conference. This contest is for a conference pass and hotel stay and does not include anything else such as airfare.

17 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Session Idea: Taking it Offline

    This would be a presentation about the best practices for making your WebWorks App function like a native app when data coverage is spotty or non-existant. Topics would include caching application files, data storage schemes, syncing ( + queueing) application generated data, and how to best process/store the large amounts of code and data your application may need when off-line.

    Rationale – This would be really handy as a WebWorks dev to improve the user experience for a data intensive app when no internet connection is available

    • Hmm that is a good one. It is getting to be a really important topic as devs keep on pushing the limits of HTML5 into true app replacements.

      • Glad you like it :) It is a topic I have been trying to muddle my way through for my full-time job and my BB app development. So many answers/points of view, so few best practices.

      • HTML5 allows for the caching of assets and localstorage or WebDB (prefered) can be used to cache data.

        • True – For a less experienced dev the topic can be hard to navigate (even more experienced devs don’t have a good answer). i.e. When do you use webDB vs. localStorage, what to do with a multi-platform app when webDB has been deprecated. Queueing/syncing can also be tricky to get right.

          I have done a lot of research on the topic and it is still clear as mud in some areas, thus it would be an interesting topic to discuss at an unconference.

          In the end the ideas and hooks are all there but how best to use them and how to do it efficiently.

          • This is probably not the place to discuss this, but here are my thought ;)
            Based on dev forum feedback, localstorage is unreliable, so if you really want to have persistent data, you should use WebDB, except that it won’t work on iOS anymore, so you may not be able to implement a pure HTML5 solution. WebDB is also a much better option if you need to upgrade your schemas and run complex queries. I think localstorage is great if you only have a few tables to deal with and you don’t know SQL.
            Regarding depreciation, I wouldn’t worry too much about it if you’re using WebDB since you won’t need to change your SQL statements.

            And you’re right, queuing/syncing is no walk in the park, especially if you’re dealing with real time data, but there are plenty of libraries which can do it for you: http://stackoverflow.com/a/2313945

            So, for me, at the end of the day, it’s very much a personal/team decision based on your requirements and skills. RIM can show you one way to do it, but it probably won’t be a one size fits all solution. Having said that, RIM did provide a swipedown library for people who didn’t know how to make an API call… and I guess anything that can speed up development, especially for smaller teams is a plus for both RIM and the devs :)

            If this convo hasn’t been started in the dev forum already, I think it would be worth starting :)

            • I don’t think I have seen it come up in the forums yet, I have seen individual parts come up but not the whole puzzle. If I remember tonight I will post it for discussion, I am curious to see what others have done. :)

              I personally love webDB, but it could be dropped from any platform at any time now. Probably not until the IndexedDB spec has been stabilized a bit, but it is a lot of effort to have to re-write (I have re-written some indexedDB code 3 times now for a proof of concept app.)

              Having helped with the swipemenu.js drop-in (and now porting it into bbUI.js), it was borne from necessity, copying and pasting code for each project and tweaking it can sometimes be time-consuming. As a one dev shop, only doing it part time on top of that, having ‘the one way’ as you said makes things faster/easier to get up and running.

              I thankfully get to look at HTML5 stuff for my day job as well so I can re-use my research/learning for both, but for new devs that may not be an option.

  2. I would like to see BB turn there entire OS over to Microsoft, were Mircosoft would operate there Apps etc and also make XBOX Gaming accessable for BB usuers (Phone/Playbook).

  3. Idea: “Transitioning from WebWorks to Native C++/Cascades development”

    An overview of how best to make the leap from Web development with WebWorks/JS/HTML/CSS to using C++ and Cascades with the native SDK. How to adapt your web development skills to native. What are the main differences and how best to start learning. What are the major differences conceptually.

    Why: RIM is pushing these multiple development routes to attract developers of all areas, but there is limited information on jumping from one platform to another. I am currently doing WebWorks apps (see “Many Notes” on AppWorld) because I have previous experience with web but I want to hop over to native once Cascades is released. Knowing how best to make this transition will make it faster to get started and will encourage WebWorks developers like myself to consider taking advantage of the speed/performance of Native.

    Thanks for running this contest :-)

  4. Session: Building native (C++) extensions to use in your WebWorks apps

    Currently, WebWorks devs have less APIs than AIR devs, but with a little bit of work, they can use the AIR APIs in WebWorks by building extensions.
    It is still not ideal as devs are stuck with using whatever APIs AIR is exposing.
    By learning how to build simple C++ extensions using the NDK, devs could call native APIs or even (hopefully) run processes in the background.

  5. I think a good topic for the unconference would be how to create trial and full versions of a BlackBerry 10 app and how to best to integrate it with the various App World licensing schemes. It would be good to hear from playbook developers what has worked best so far and what kind of problems they have had.

  6. A topic of this unconference should definitely be:

    “The most viral uptake of my App was because I …”

    We can all geek out on tech specs, but once in App World, we need ways to be found and keep being noticed.

    In my own case I built Film App for PlayBook last year. Since then a few movie and film apps have appeared. I went to SXSW this year as a vendor to promote. I met Blackberry reps when they bought a house for a weekend, and encouraged attendees to visit their Blackberry Jam house. After hearing some of their ideas, I got a group of South African Filmmakers excited about my app, and they are creating filmmaker awareness in Johannesburg for my app. A few Film Festivals are going to use it as their calendar. A medical app I built for Physicians is getting uptake from independent physicians, because they like the portable size of PlayBook. All of this is hard work, actually going to physical places over a long period of time and repeated pitches.

    I’d like to hear from developers how they got sustained viral uptake. Honest uptake, not a big day because of a random tweet. Not just tech specs, HTML5, Android conversion, or optimizing the last ounce of IndexedDB for mobile. I get that we all wrap our heads around that every day (just starting to wrestle away from WebDB after a love affair with it to collect leads inside a barely wifi friendly SXSW floor). What have you done successfully to make someone want hardware because they love your software?

    From my perspective I want more people to buy the PlayBook because they really like the app, because they want to use it on this platform, and because it makes them more productive. This in turn gives BB some much needed love, and keeps them open to dev suggestions. I’m new to BB, only having developed for PlayBook for about a year.

    I’d very much like to hear from long time supporters of Blackberry; devs who have used tried methods which rapidly got uptake, got more people to buy the hardware, and ideas from BB reps, about what works best when pitching adoption of technology. I very much hope in the unconference we can get perspectives from marketers at BB. At the Blackberry Jam house at SXSW I got about a half hour with some genuinely nice, likeable Blackberry folks. But the cards they had all said, “Media Relations”, so I don’t know their names.

    Sorry about the long post; I’ll gladly bring my pictures, stories, and rants. Thanks for the pass+hotel promo; being a new father for 8 weeks, I very much look forward to seeing Florida with my kid.

  7. I thought of a second idea for a session, hope that’s ok!

    Idea: How to integrate “Social” into your app

    Detail: BlackBerry 10 Flow is all about smooth integration of apps and data, and BlackBerry users by nature are very social (BBM, Twitter, etc). A session detailing how we can integrate Facebook, Twitter, BBM, LinkedIn, and other social networks into our apps in a way that is as slick as the multitasking on BlackBerry 10. Go over how to integrate each network, how social can benefit apps (chat, sharing, information, collaboration, etc), and how BlackBerry 10 enables social integration.

    Why? I planned to integrate Twitter sharing into a PlayBook application that I made but had trouble implementing the user authentication that Twitter requires. This session would provide direction on the right way to integrate these social services and make it easy for us to get our apps out there and to empower our users to get more out of our apps and their social networks.

  8. Unconference ideas:

    -”Stage3D: creating a total phone/tablet gaming experience” A session about combining the best qualities of a tablet and a phone to create one consistent cross- and multi-device gaming experience.

    -”BlackBerry 10 UI guidelines”: the platform could really benefit from a more uniform UI experience, however with enough freedom left for developers to do their thing.

    -”Enterapps”: preparing and promoting your apps for enterprise usage

    -”Gamification”: increasing app usage by adding game elements

  9. I’d like to see an unconference topic about strategies to generate revenue from your app.

    1) What makes a compelling app that people would want to use?
    2) How do you get customers?
    3) How do you make money from them? (i.e. charge them? What price? Ads?)
    4) What are other avenues for revenue generation?
    5) Do you need actually need revenues?

  10. Unconference idea sessions:

    1.) How to change your location based Android app so that it works seamlessly on the Blackberry playbook?

    Currently the Android runtime on Playbook has quite a few bugs pertaining to GPS fixes, background services and power management that prevents location apps (inlcuding any turn by turn nav app.) from running seamlessly.

    2.) How to spend time & money most effectively on marketing your app to get the best returns? I would like to discuss what works, what does not and what to avoid altogether.

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