Must Have Book For Aspiring BlackBerry Developers: Beginning BlackBerry Development

Posted on 23. Jan, 2010 by in BlackBerry, Product Reviews

What is one thing we true BlackBerry addicts love about our devices?  I am sure each of us will give a different answer, but in the end I would be willing to bet that the majority of answers have something to do with some sort of 3rd party application.  I would also be willing to bet that for the majority of BlackBerry die-hards we have all had that light bulb moment where we have each thought of a new application we could see not only ourselves, but a ton of other people using.  Having an idea and sitting down to actually write out the application are two vastly different things.  About six months ago I had an app idea, and hired a developer who knows way more than I do to write the application for me.  I was amazed at the income potential there is with selling an application for BlackBerry’s. From that point on I was determined to learn Java and using it to write applications for various mobile platforms.  Even after picking up a book like Head First Java and other online tutorials which can be found after a simple Google search, I wasn’t able to connect the dots from what I was reading in the book to turning my ideas into a working application.  I sat on the sidelines as friends and people I talk to from time to time went to DevCon ’09 and was extremely excited with all of the great news announced regarding BlackBerry application development at DevCon.  I was having a conversation with Jake from BlackBerryThemePark about not being able to connect the dots and my frustrations regarding it when he offered to send me a book he picked up at DevCon.  The name of the book: Beginning BlackBerry Development by Anthony Rizk.  I took him up on the offer and could not wait to get this book in my hands.

Continue reading after the break..

Finally, I had the book in my hands… now what?  Well I spent the first few nights just flipping through it, reading it and getting the hang of the writing/teaching style.  Now, it was time to dive right in.  The book is great in the fact that it covers both the official BlackBerry JDE and Eclipse with the BlackBerry Plug-In so the developer can use their preference.  The first few chapters go over the very basics of BlackBerry development, the ins and outs, and include plenty of working examples.  Before getting too much further into this, I need to mention that the book makes it clear it is written with the mindset that the reader has some previous experience with Java development, of which I had none.  As I worked my way through the chapters I began to understand some of the things I have learned previously in my attempted self-teachings of Java, and I also started to understand more of how they all tied into BlackBerry Development.

Before I knew it I had actual working examples of applications on my BlackBerry to show and brag to all my friends about.  Granted they were working examples using the exact code from the book, but hey I had taken the time to type it into Eclipse and compile it so that is worth something..right?  Each chapter in the book gets progressively more in depth covering topics that also increase in difficulty of understanding (for me at least).  The book covers such topics as; What Makes A BlackBerry Application, User Interface Basics, Storing Data, Location Based Services, and Making Network Enabled Connections to name a few.  In total there are nine chapters, of which I named five.

The book is well written, easy to understand, and is a huge first step for someone who has always wanted to turn their ideas into an actual application.  I recommend you purchase both Head First Java and Beginning BlackBerry Development and use them to supplement each other, especially if you have no prior experience. A quick search of the publishers website reveals many other titles to help as a developer gains in experience, including a book about writing games for BlackBerry’s.

I would and have strongly recommended this book, and will continue to do so.  By no means did this book make me a full-fledged application developer for any platform let alone BlackBerry, but I have been able to piece together an application that I hope to release in the near future.  It’s a start, and sometimes that is all we need.

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No Responses to “Must Have Book For Aspiring BlackBerry Developers: Beginning BlackBerry Development”

  1. CD Smith

    24. Jan, 2010

    I purchased the exact two books a month ago myself. Head First is Great and The Beginning Blackberry book is well organized with clear explainations on the topics he presents. However, it is only the basics. I am looking at some the blackberry apps out there like reference books and bible apps and I am trying to understand how to create such apps. I am trying to create a reference book app. You will quickly find the notice some of the information gaps of the book and that there is not a lot of information on how to program Blackberrys whereas there is a pleatora of IPHONE development material out there. Mr. Rizk has a website called thinkingblackberry.com but he does not respond readily to questions or update the site.

    • Jason Cipriani

      25. Jan, 2010

      There is an advanced BlackBerry Development book on the Apress site. You may have more luck with that book. In now way will you be making complex apps after reading this beginners book. Good luck!!