Those of you following around my BlackBerry apps will probably know of my Smart App Shopper app. It was launched about a year ago, in the hope to provide a price watching service similar to those available for iOS.
Unfortunately, can’t say that the project was a success. With only 30,000 users and 1,000 active users per day, it is not much. It is probably the fact that BlackBerry doesn’t really allow you to change your price to free and back to paid again. I guess that is the main driving force of these kinds of apps.
But anyway, I was keeping it running for those that were still using it. However, after the saddening news of the Amazon Store integration in BB10 and the diminish of the actual BlackBerry World, I realized there is no real reason behind attending the web service and keeping the thing rolling. It’s a dead end.
So please take notice that Smart App Shopper will be pulled from BlackBerry World on July 17. After that you will not be able to download it, and those that have it installed will not be able to use it.
Continuing after my latest post about porting existing iOS games written in C/C++ to the Android platform, here I am again writing about my latest porting endeavor that brings Pop Corny to the third platform! Ever thought of porting your iOS game to the Blackberry Playbook? Well, here I will share some insight of what to expect.
If you are like me you will probably think that the Playbook has something to do with the tech that used to run Blackberry’s phones. This misconception was so strong in me that I didn’t even consider a port to it. The truth is however, that the Playbook is based on the new platform that Blackberry is creating based on the QNX operating system, and will also be used on the BB10 phones. Things started to look better on the porting front with these info, but there is always a fear that Blackberry could be Google and force everything to Java and only support native after a long time has passed. It turns out that things are much better than I expected. Not only Blackberry allows you to write native apps, but its Native Development Kit (NDK) is a complete solution for developing on the platform. Not like Android for example, where the NDK is just a crude exposure of the native Android’s build system, supports minimal functionality and requires Java calls for most stuff. On Playbook you can write a full native app and never look at Java again. The NDK will provide C level APIs for all that you are going to need. From screen handling and input, to in-app purchases.
The Blackberry provided development environment is QNX Momentics, which is based on Eclipse, but also you can easily do everything with command line tools if you prefer. I chose to go with Momentics even though I find Eclipse slow and sluggish, because it is very nicely setup for native C/C++ development (with debuggers, profilers, etc) and I wanted to see how far it will get me until I started missing the command line. Surprisingly, it did all the way. Had no problem with it, which is a first for me and Eclipse.
You also get an emulator for trying out your, code which is based on VMWare. This didn’t strike me a good thing because you have to buy VMWare to run it. Sure there is the VMWare Player version that is free, but you can use that only on Windows and Linux. The Mac users, like me, will have to use the 30-day trial of VMWare Fusion, or buy it.
Next I will go through the major porting areas to keep this consistent with my corresponding article for Android.