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BlackBerry Themes & Animated Graphics

Posts: 61
Registered: ‎11-04-2010
My Device: BlackBerry 9900

Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

Hello fellow developers and RIM moderators,


My name is L. Marco Miranda and I am a BlackBerry theme developer known on the web as Pootermobile. I am here asking RIM to please update Theme Studio for BlackBerry OS7 devices. I know that RIM has their hands full with OS7 and QNX application development but themes need to also be addressed.


As an avid BlackBerry theme developer and user themes have been a huge part of my love for the platform. No other platform out there can be natively themed like a BlackBerry can. So many people share my love for themes as well.


I hope Theme Studio for OS7 is being worked on as I type and I'm pretty sure it will be released sooner or later. What has me looking ahead, and worried, is QNX. Although I know QNX will be a huge inprovement for the BlackBerry platform I can't help but feel something at the pit of my stomach thinking about the future of BlackBerry themes. About a year ago a moderator helped me make a petition for themes for the PlayBook and here we are with no themes for the PlayBook. With QNX coming for BlackBerry handhelds will we face the same fate as the PlayBook? Will theme developers be out of a job and income?


I am not too worried about themes on OS7 as I know they will come but what I would like is if a moderator started a petition to have themes for the QNX platform for BlackBerry handhelds. And for my fellow theme developers please support this petition if you would love to have themes on your QNX SuperPhone!


Thanks for reading and keep being awesome.



- Pootermobile

Posts: 52
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
My Device: Samsung Galaxy S II/BlackBerry PlayBook

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

I agree with Pooter, and wanted to share the article that I posted on my own blog.  It's time that we speak up as a collective group of theme developers.

I have been sitting idle on the sidelines watching the public statements made by a few application developers release public letters/blog posts/rants or whatever you’d like to refer to them as, you know which ones I am talking about.  It’s time that the theme community spoke up, because your complacent disregard for us will hurt your consumer business if not potentially destroy it if it doesn’t change.  I have been a BlackBerry user since the release of the Pearl 8100, which I bought on my own so that I could do my job better.  My company used an Outlook Exchange web mail setup and my new BlackBerry allowed me to maximize my professional efficiency by sending and receiving emails in the field at the point of contact rather than waiting until I got home.  This added efficiency shortened response times by at least 24 hours and helped me be the best at my job.  Shortly after I became a BlackBerry user I discovered themes and was immediately enraptured, my excitement developed into a craving for themes a real addiction.  One day the discovery of Plazmic Theme Studio changed my life forever.  I won’t spend too much time on the evolution but during the process of learning to develop themes I learned a plethora of skills that Ii had no training for, from graphics editing and design, to web design, to SEO, and more.  Somewhere in this process I also became an evangelist for the platform, every member of my family with a cell phone is carrying a BlackBerry, almost all my friends are BlackBerry users, I have even interrupted Best Buy employees and lobbied for the platform while they were being swayed towards Apple or Google products.

One of the reasons I am writing this post is that I am not anonymous, we’ve met.  I have been to 3 conferences as a member of the press.  I have reviewed multiple products that you have sent to me and while I admittedly don ‘t blog as much as some of your other press sites, I feel that I give my all in these reviews and provide an honesty that’s not always available when the author is concerned about keeping butter on their bread.  I have always been honest about my feelings in regards to the BlackBerry platform cheering as well as jeering but always maintaining my strong desire for BlackBerry to remain on top.

Since the very beginning being a Theme Developer has felt like being the illegitimate child of an ashamed parent, when’s it going to change RIM?  You release public statements and ask us constantly to help you tell the world that it doesn’t suck to develop for BlackBerry yet you gave me beta theme development software at the 2010 BlackBerry Developers Conference that turned my brand new BlackBerry Torch into a brick.  If I weren’t an advanced user I wouldn’t have known how to use software made by OTHER USERS to salvage my device, please don’t step over the irony that 3rd party software recognized a phone that YOU MADE but the software YOU MADE was useless in the process of recovering my device to a usable state.  Speaking of Devcon, do you have any intentions of offering any clinics that will benefit someone who has actually made a theme before?

I have always been frustrated with Theme Studio and Composer, but I recently learned how to write my own SVG file from scratch.  Upon completion of my first hand written SVG I achieved clarity, wow your software sucks BAD!!  Did you know that a simple composer file with 5 icons that will utilize device application order exports an SVG with 1,871 lines of code!?!  I just completed a fairly complex SVG with 6 icons, an intricate animated control panel, and all of the meters and banner elements coded in as well that came out with 640 lines of code.  I don’t think I need to explain how it could adversely effect a device that has a limited amount of available memory and processing power, trying to read thousands of code lines that are completely unnecessary to render a UI for the user.  On top of all the excess code, the file created by composer doesn’t even render properly.  It cuts off the edge of the icon as well as the notification.  I wish I could say that efficiency was the limit of the frustrations encountered with Theme Studio and Composer but its just the tip of the iceberg.  Theme Studio crashes more than any software application I have used…. EVER!  It has gotten to the point where I not only save almost every single change I make, but I close the application and open it fresh in between each and every theme file that I get into.  Even with these precautions I have to use the Windows task manager several times a day to close Theme Studio because it locks up.  Oh and lets not forget about the simulators that don’t run outside of Windows XP, what gives?  Is it really fair to expect us to jump through all these hoops just to get your software to function?

Now lets discuss, support and documentation.  There is none.  There is an SVG that provides some documentation, it hasn’t been updated since OS 4.2…. you’re getting ready to release OS 7.0….. but I’m sure nothing has changed right?  Not that it really matters because the document contains no reference to any practical examples, usage scenarios, or even reference any elements that we’d like to include in our themes.  Android has a beautiful web based documentation of all the elements that you can use in their nicely supported and frequently updated SDK, you should check it out.  You do have an official support forum for BlackBerry Themes & Animated Graphics where I can go to answer questions for people that are so new to the scene that they’ve never heard of CrackBerry and listen to the crickets on a quiet summer evening.  Ultimately I’d love to see an Eclipse plugin for theme development but I realize that would alienate a massive portion of current developers so I would be happy with stable and current software.

The good thing is that the product of this situation is that some of us Theme Developers have started congregating in an effort to share knowledge.  I would like to start documenting the things that I have learned so that hopefully more avid fans either continue to or start making themes as well.  I am literally begging you to stop ignoring us and bring us into the fold.  How much revenue has passed through App World since you allowed the submission of themes?  I quit my job to develop BlackBerry Themes full time 2 years ago, so I am pretty sure there is a substantial amount of money being spent across the industry.  At least enough for us to get some valid tools and support, WE’RE DEVELOPERS TOO!

New Developer
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎08-14-2010
My Device: Bold 9650 OS6 (primary), Curve 8530 OS5

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

I started developing themes almost five months ago, at which point I just began downloading software, and hit the ground running. In the process of doing so I've learned a huge deal as I was someone who jumped in with absolutely no knowledge of what I was doing whatsoever.  Which was a huge obstacle for me with Theme Studio 5, but one I quickly overcame. Unfortunately the release of Theme Studio 6 put me right back at square one with its instability issues, which seem to be ever growing.


But if it weren't for some of my fellow developers, I know I wouldn't have made it as far as I have today, and that alone makes me proud to develop for BlackBerry. I only wish I could say the same for RIM, who seems to have nowhere near the respect for us that we do each other.


At that I will just close by saying that I really can't articulate this any better than Pooter or micjenks did, but I couldn't agree with them more! And thanks to the both of them, as well as anyone else who speaks up on our behalf. We may be a competitive community, but we're a community none the less :smileywink:


JB Designs

Posts: 47
Registered: ‎02-18-2011
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

Good petition for a good cause.

BlackBerry Theme Lab was made to help theme devs get started from nowhere. I brought all the information to the beginner and created a place for other devs to get icons if they wish to do so.

Themes for me has been an extra income that I can truely wish was enough so I can develop full time.

QNX will be a great addition to RIM and BlackBerry smartphones. Apps will be there and so will games - but will themes? I hope so!!

Give this petition alive.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

I couldn't agree more with what you're saying. I do hope that Theme Studio will be out for OS7 and QNX. I don't understand why RIM doesn't give the proper importance to themes. Afterall themes have a big share in App World. Don't get me wrong I love develop to BlackBerry it's a great community, is just not nice to feel that in one moment or the other we can be out of the Development BB platform. Because I feel theme developers give an add value to App World and to BlackBerry. Hope most devs participate on this :smileywink: is important!

Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: Bold 9900

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

Come on RIM! You should release the Theme Builder to the developers before you even release the new phones and leave the new owners stranded to the crappy default theme!


Please release the theme developer ASAP!!

Visit the BlackBerry Matrix website for all your OS updates and BlackBerry applications! http://blackberrymatrix.yolasite.com/

How to update your BlackBerry Operating System Guide = http://bbmatrix.freeforums.org/how-to-upgrade-a-blackberry-operating-system-with-apploader-t29.html
New Developer
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎05-02-2011
My Device: Z10

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

Hello fellow developers and RIM moderators,
My name is Robert Burnaccioni and I am a BlackBerry theme developer known on the web as BBmagic. I am also here asking RIM to please update Theme Studio for BlackBerry OS7 devices. I know that RIM has their hands full with OS7 and QNX application development but themes need to also be addressed.

I have been a web developer/graphic designer for over 12 years and have recently started developing blackberry smartphone themes. I have created themes in the past for my classic pearl 9100 and bold 9000 and really enjoyed doing it and loved the fact that I could customize my phone to my liking. Blackberry themes has always been one of my favorite features on my phone as an avid user. I love being a blackberry theme builder as I have finally found a way to channel my creative creations to millions of users while earning some money (I love my job).

I guess what I don't understand is why theme builders aren't released before devices so we are able to get a head start just like what is done with the SDK kits for apps and games. I really think QNX will be a great addition to BlackBerry smartphones. Apps will be there and so will games - but will themes? I hope so!! I guess I could go on and on but I will finish with PLEASE release theme builder 7!!!!


Robert Burnaccioni

Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-29-2010
My Device: Torch 9850

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

As a BlackBerry theme and app developer I too would like to add my support to this request. In a time of so much competition in the smartphone and tablet market, any feature that brings uniqueness to a platform is definitely in its creators best interests to support. Themes on the BlackBerry smartphone are an expression of the uniqueness of the platform, you only need to peruse the screenshot and theme threads on any popular BlackBerry website to understand the impact of this functionality.

This is also a time where RIM needs the support of its developer base to help promote their smartphone and tablet platforms through their creativity. Uniqueness is an expression of individualality that theme developers allow users to leverage in their BB's.

Please support your loyal users, developers and (not least) yourselves by putting priority into development of theme studio for OS7 devices as well as the playbook. Please also allow your developers and users to feel comfortable about the future prospects of the platform by providing a statement reference your intentions in supporting themes in QNX based devices.

Thank you for your consideration.

Russell Nash
Gray Matter Themes/Apps
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎11-18-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

I WANT Theme Studio v7 NOW!!!! lol


FYI - i do know of one theme dev who says that he has an early build that supports the 9900/9850 - and that about 80% of the stuff works. It was supposed up on the dev section for a very short period. So.. its in the works.


but as far as QNX i had heard there will be no theme support which is disappointing to say the least... apparently its quite difficult to make a theme for it so maybe its to complex to make a theme builder? I HOPE I AM WRONG!!!

for all your theming needs go to http://bbthemelab.com
Posts: 61
Registered: ‎11-04-2010
My Device: BlackBerry 9900

Re: Looking Ahead: Theme Studio for OS7 and QNX

Thanks for your support guys :smileyhappy: I really hope QNX will be theme-able RIM will lose a huge community of awesome people if not. We theme developers want themes on QNX!