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Developer
peter_strange
Posts: 19,610
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

[ Edited ]

This was the second Blackberry Development book that I read this weekend.  Unlike BlackBerry Development Fundamentals, this book is focused on Java Development, and spends just a few pages setting the scene before we are launched into Java coding.

 

And the book does, to use an expression, what it says on the tin.  This is a good guide for people who are beginner’s to writing Java programs for the Blackberry.  Using this, you will learn to write Blackberry applications.  And you will get over the two most common hurdles, the Event Thread and the Network. 

 

Note that while this book is tagged “Learn how to build Java-based BlackBerry applications from scratch”, it is assumed that you have experience with Object based programming.  In addition, it focuses (quite rightly in my opinion) on RIM applications rather than Midlets.  So this is not a Beginner’s guide for people who are just starting as developers, it is for developers who are just starting to develop BlackBerry applications. 

 

But, in addition to people just starting, I suspect experienced developers will find something of use too.  For example, there are well explained sections on many of the more commonly questioned parts of Blackberry development, such as the UI controls, which clarified a few things for me. 

 

It is not perfect, timing has meant it is published just as OS 5.0 is being rolled out, so it seems to missing OS 5.0 details.  And of course Eclipse plug-in has just gone to 1.1 beta, which is not in the book either.

 

But, the book is good preparation (OS 5.0 aside) for the BCP-811 certification exam, (which is the second step to becoming a BlackBerry Certified Application Developer, find out more about this program here: http://na.blackberry.com/eng/support/programs/certification.jsp#application).  It is not enough, you will have research OS 5.0 and swot up on your basic Java (Threads, synchronization, optimization, …) too, but that is not a criticism of the book, it doesn't set out to teach Java. 

 

In addition to being good preparation for BCP-811, I suspect that a significant proportion of the questions asked on this forum, including some of the more complicated ones such as those related to the Event Thread, would be answered if everyone read this book before asking their question. 

 

For these two reasons alone, if you are new BlackBerry developer, I recommend that you buy this book.  For an experienced developer, the case is not so clear cut, however I will be retaining my copy, if that is anything to go by.  And I would like to point out, that I bought my own copy (from Amazon UK) and I do not know the author. 

 

You can find out more about this book here:

http://www.beginningblackberry.com/index.php?title=Welcome&action=edit

 

Note that Anthony is the blogger behind

http://www.thinkingblackberry.com/

which is a site I recommend. 

 

I have not found another review of this book – if someone has seen one, let me know. 

 

Finally, I would love Anthony to update the web site a little with a nod to OS 5.0 and the differences that this may have (to help people going for BCP-811), and also to reference his blog on Eclipse 1.1, so that people can install that rather than follow the instructions in the book for the older version. 

 

PS.  Comments about the other book can be found here:

http://supportforums.blackberry.com/t5/Java-Development/BlackBerry-Development-Fundamentals-by-John-...

Developer
RexDoug
Posts: 4,764
Registered: ‎07-21-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

Peter,

 

Thanks for reviewing these titles.

 

 

Developer
ksykulev
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎07-09-2009
My Device: Blackberry Bold

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

Hey Peter,

 

Have you heard anything about these other two books in the Apress series?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-BlackBerry-Development-Chris-King/dp/1430226560/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Learn-BlackBerry-Games-Development-Carol/dp/1430227184/ref=pd_sim_b_5

Developer
peter_strange
Posts: 19,610
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

In the UK, neither is currently available, the Advanced BB Development is apparently available in December, the Games book in Feb 2010.  I know nothing more about them than you will pick up of the web.  I will probably pick up the Advanced book, but as gaming is not my thing I probably won't pick up the Games book.

 

The list of BlackBerry books coming out doesn't end there apparently.

 

In Feb 2010, there is Wrox publication (I generally like this series) called Professional Blackberry Java Development due. I guess this ties in with Craig Johnstons' Professional BlackBerry book, which I have not read, as it was not as development focused as I wanted.  I will probably get the Development book when it is available over here.

 

In addition, I believe there is a book called Programming the Blackberry, from Sybex, also to be available in February. 

 

As they say, if you wait long enough at the bus stop, 3 buses will come at once!  In this case, I've been programming for 4 years with no books, then in 4 months will have 5!  Well I guess with RIM saying there are 200,000 Blackberry developers out there, publishers think there is now a market.

Developer
ksykulev
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎07-09-2009
My Device: Blackberry Bold

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

I'm a pretty new to BlackBerry development, and personally i'm really glad they finally came out with some books about it.  Also as for the certification exams you mentioned in your original post. I was considering taking them to ensure I am up to the standards of BlackBerry development. I think the whole studying process will kind of force me to learn some of the necessary topics. Are these tests very challenging? Something that is really made to crush newer developers?

 

Developer
peter_strange
Posts: 19,610
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

[ Edited ]

I'm not the right person to comment on this really, having done the tests after loads of practice rather than doing it as part of the learning exercise.  But no, I don't think they are designed to crush newer developers. 

 

I support the certification process, I think it will help raise standards.  I have taken over projects from other people and it was clear that they did not understand the Blackberry infrastructure, and the certification process will force everyone to have a broad knowledge of this.  .

 

However probably the best BB Java developer I know (also a contributor to this forum) has told me that he will not take the exams because some of the questions are stupid and/or wrong.  Like all tests, in some cases you have to answer what you know the questioner wants you to answer rather than what you think to be true.  And you get questions that ask you what code will do when you know full well that you would never, ever, write code like that and you would fire someone if you found code like that in their programs.

 

Remember however that the java component is the second part of the exam.  This book will not help you much for the first part.  The other book I reviewed will. 

Developer
ksykulev
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎07-09-2009
My Device: Blackberry Bold

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

haha interesting take on it.

 

I would fully plan on reading both books before i take any of the exams.

I saw there were some exam resources at the link you posted. However are there practice exam available?

Developer
peter_strange
Posts: 19,610
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

"are there practice exam available?" I think yes fpr 810, may not be there for 811 but will be. 

Developer
ksykulev
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎07-09-2009
My Device: Blackberry Bold

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk

Awesome. Thanks for all your advice. I really appreciate it.

Developer
peter_strange
Posts: 19,610
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Beginning BlackBerry Development, by Anthony Rizk