BlackBerry SDK and tools – Getting Started Tutorial

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This tutorial has helpful pointers for developers who are just getting started with BlackBerry development. This includes information on tools, IDEs, tutorials, videos, etc.

IDEs and Simulators

JDE 4.6

You can download the JDE (Java Development Environment) here. The JDE includes an IDE, simulator, debugging environment, build tools, and API docs. I don’t recommend using the JDE as the primary IDE, since it’s hideous and old. Use IDEA or Eclipse to edit source code, and use the JDE to build, debug, and test. To learn how to use the JDE read this tutorial on it.

Eclipse JDE Plugin Beta

You can download the beta Eclipse development environment here. There are some problems with this environment. It’s a pretty huge leap forward from the JDE, however, the Eclipse plugin is very fragile and clunky at this time, and has lots of problems. I don’t suggest using this until it gets more mature and stable. To learn how to use the Eclipse Plugin read this tutorial on it.

Eclipse, ant, and JDE

If you want to do away with using the JDE or Eclipse plugin, here’s an article that talks about how to configure Eclipse to do Blackberry development just using ant and a JDE installation.

Books, devices, and accessories

If you’d like to buy BlackBerry devices, accessories, or user guides, from click here.


RIM’s developer site has a lot of fairly useful videos that will help you get started if you’re totally unfamiliar with Blackberry development. It’s great for getting an idea of high level architecture, and what the IDE, and simulators look like, etc. But it’s not useful for much more than that. The following is a list of useful videos:

  1. Introduction to the Blackberry platform
  2. Introduciton to Blackberry Java development
  3. Supported Java specifications requests on BlackBerry smartphones
  4. Best practices for mobile development
  5. Network transports
  6. BlackBerry JDE Plug-in for Eclipse installation and configuration
  7. BlackBerry Java Development Environment installation and configuration
  8. How to debug your BlackBerry JDE application
  9. Introduction to BlackBerry Simulators
  10. Introduction to code signing on BlackBerry smartphones
  11. Installing and using new simulator packages
  12. BlackBerry smartphone over-the-air download via web browser
  13. How do I use Javaloader?
  14. Browser specifications

I’m not really going to focus on developing web apps specifically for the Blackberry browser. I’m going to focus entirely on creating Java applications using Blackberry specific APIs (not Midlets). There are plenty of books and resources on Midlets.

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  1. Here’s a link to the JDE 4.6.0 API docs.
  2. Here’s a link where you get code signing keys from RIM (will cost you $20).
  3. Here’s a link to product manuals for JDE 4.6.
  4. More product manuals.

Tutorials and How-to guides

This link has a variety of sample code and how-to guides from RIM itself. It’s good for learning how to use Blackberry specific APIs. Here are some highlights from this knowledgebase:

  1. Java sample code.
  2. How to guides on simulators.
  3. Plazmic Content Developers Kit.

Here is a list of tutorials from various sites to help get you started (these are quite old, and I will have a full suite of tutorials on itself):

  1. Getting started
  2. Programming with Blackberry and J2ME
  3. Blackberry development FAQ
  4. RIM’s Lab tutorials
  5. RIM articles and tutorials
  6. Writing a Blackberry game
  7. Writing a Blackberry app
  8. Writing Blackberry GPS apps

Other resources

  1. Here’s a link to RIM’s support forum for Blackberry development.
  2. You can download icons of Blackberry devices from here and here.