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Tivo Remote with QNX for BlackBerry Tablet

04.28.2011
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For my next foray into mobile development with Flex and AIR, I'm trying an application with the default UI of the BlackBerry Tablet, the QNX api.

QNX is the company behind the BlackBerry Tablet OS. They provide an ActionScript library for creating components for the BlackBerry tablet. It's what most of the native apps use, and to get that native feel, this is what you are going to use.
For me, coming to this from Flex, not having the framework to fall back on was a little scary. Ultimately I did get it working. I did suffer from the same disgust I had for the last remote project.


BlackBerryQNX Tivo Remote

Encouraged by my success with that last project, I applied some of the same techniques. I changed some of the colors, positions and layouts. I'm still not happy with it, but the failings are mine, and not QNX's. 
Lessons Learned
Flex rocks. Not having to spend time laying out stuff, add child objects to the stage, and generally being able to style components directly through an attribute or CSS is a huge productivity boost. 
That being said, ActionScript only projects aren't terrible. Performance is better, the file sizes are smaller. In the case of the BlackBerry tablet, it's the native look and feel. The PlayBook starts in landscape (and the emulator can't turn to portrait yet). It forced me to really think about how I needed to lay things out. In the end, I'm not happy with this one yet. I need to get better at laying things out.


BlackBerryQNX Tivo Remote with bad fonts
Finally I learned that by default when you run a QNX app on your system you don't have the fonts to make it look good. Even if you install it, it still won't look good. I had to manually add the font as a text format to all of my controls. Annoying, but worth it. The text is listed as something like BBSans, but it is actually called DejaVu and is freely available. Thanks to Kevin Hoyt for pointing that out. 
Resources:
AIRTivoRemoteQNX on github
DejaVu Font

 

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Published at DZone with permission of Terrence Ryan, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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