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RIM Releases BlackBerry WebWorks Platform

09.29.2010
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At this week's BlackBerry Developer Conference 2010, Research In Motion (RIM) launched its new open source web app development platform.  BlackBerry claims over 50 million customers and most research firms are still finding that they have the largest smartphone market share in the US.  However, Apple and Android are threatening to push the Java-based OS into obscurity over the next two years.  That's why BlackBerry is trying to gain some momentum among mobile developers with a new platform for building web-based applications.  

BlackBerry has made the code for WebWorks open source, so that outside developers can contribute to the ecosystem.  RIM is working with frameworks such as Dojo, GitHub, JQuery, Nitobi, and Sencha right now to add their functionality to the platform.  Similar to what Titanium does for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, the new WebWorks platform lets developers use their existing HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript knowledge to build apps that work seamlessly with the BlackBerry platform as if they were written in Java.  WebWorks provides web app access to many BlackBerry-specific services, like their multitasking, push notifications, the locate service, and the new advertising service (like Apple's iAds).  BlackBerry says these not-truly-native applications don't make any sacrifices in performance.

WebWorks also comes with updates to BlackBerry's web application packager (now version 1.5), BB web plugins 2.5, and new web APIs.  Web apps are packaged the in the same way that a Java app is packaged - with the same file formats.  These applications can then be distributed with BlackBerry App World, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, over the air, or with BlackBerry Desktop Manager.

Developers can use the new platform to make web apps that can access text messaging, call logs and other files.  The apps can run in the background and launch from many locations.  Web pages and content can also be cached in the phone's memory for higher performance.

RIM also announced the release of it's new tablet called "PlayBook" this week.