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Adobe AIR Development

New Developer
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎03-10-2011
My Device: Not Specified

What were your development experiences

I was lured to try and develop for the playbook with the free offer. I actually only found out about the offer after it after was extended to the 31st. 


So I was wondering how was everyone's experience with developing for the playbook? What was your level of experience before you started and would you continue to develop other applications?



This was the first time that I've tried to develop for a mobile device and the first time I tried to do anything in flash/actionscript. I normally spend my time coding backend stuff in C# and SQL. 


I decided to start and create something very simple just to get my feet wet and then try something more complex. As it turned out that simple app took way longer and was more difficult then what I was expecting and I didn't get a chance to even start on my other idea. 


For me, I found that:


1) I was initially confused with which development environment I should choose. Webworks or Air? I was initially tempted by Webworks but quickly changed my mind to try Air because the Webworks documentation appeared to be very thin. 


2) With Air, after watching the Flex in 90mins video, I initially thought that I would be spending most of my time with MXML. I even spent a couple of days doing flex tutorials on the Adobe site. However, after reading the development guide and reading the forum posts here I realised that I should code everything up in ActionScript.


3) Discovered that Actionscript was actually a strongly typed version of Javascript. Learning the language was fun. 


4) I spent almost my whole time trying to code the UI. The lack of a visual designer really makes experimentation slow. Also I was surprised that managing and navigation between screens had to be completely coded by hand with no help from the API. 


5) RIM needs to improve their documentation especially with regards to Lists, binding with the DataProvider classes and CellRenderer interaction. 


Would I create another Playbook app? Probably, yes. I still got my other idea waiting in the wings. But this time I might try and do it with Webworks just for fun!? 



Posts: 1,269
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Re: What were your development experiences


hidden_au wrote:


5) RIM needs to improve their documentation especially with regards to Lists, binding with the DataProvider classes and CellRenderer interaction. 





  +1.  Trying to understand CellRenderer behavior burned more of my time than it should have.

Posts: 306
Registered: ‎03-01-2011
My Device: Playbook (sim)
My Carrier: Base

Re: What were your development experiences

I'm a graphic designer with 10 years of coding experience (especially Flash) at my side. you're right, it always takes longer than you would expect. When I have an idea about an app I start listing up every step I have to take to get this thing working like I want. 90% of the ideas are thrown to the bin just because my lack of time. the rest are set on long term projects.


My App: Peg Solitaire

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Posts: 327
Registered: ‎12-13-2010
My Device: Bold 9900/Z10 Special Edition
My Carrier: Rogers

Re: What were your development experiences

In regards to the whole "needing to improve documentation", I agree and disagree, because this is a whole new world to RIM using Flash and the QNX experience in general, so imagine having a huge documentation on an entirely new thing you're making before its even finished and to market...they will with time, we'll all have to have a little patients though...and do our best to understand what we DO have to work with at the time being.

As for my experiences, I had a great experience, and it adds a lot of positivity having a community like this one to go to for support during the development stages... I have experience mostly in web programming such as PHP/MySQL...and first year university C/C++ and a little Java experience.

This is my first shot at mobile development, and I'm definitely going to continue to develop for the playbook (already working on App #2)...and eventually I want to target BB smartphones, android devices and iDevices...Playbook development really inspired me to aim high, and shoot far and hard. I hope to really get my business going, based off hopeful success of my mobile apps, and my experience in developing them.
CEO/Lead Developer - Tensioncore™ Design Studios
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Posts: 274
Registered: ‎11-01-2010
My Device: PlayBook?
My Carrier: WiFi

Re: What were your development experiences

It's been a blast.


I started coding a little bit before the PlayBook offer, and was thinking of doing a Flash game but didn't really get anywhere. The PlayBook offer made me decide to do a PlayBook game instead and it offered nice motivation that really got me going.


There's been some minor hiccups and sometimes things are a bit confusing but it's understandable given how RIM is trying to launch a brand new device built from the ground up. Even these hiccups aren't that bad because there's a great community here that is really on the ball. There's plenty of detailed walkthroughs for the more confusing things and for specific problems you only need to make a thread here or comment on IRC and be swamped with 5 answers in minutes.


At the end of the day I now have two apps submitted and approved, a free PlayBook on its way (sometime), and knowledge of AS3.


Overall, it's really been awesome.

New Developer
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎03-10-2011
My Device: Not Specified

Re: What were your development experiences

I agree that the community has been really helpful. I've spend hours viewing threads on this board and the general tone is very friendly and helpful. 



Posts: 1,269
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Re: What were your development experiences


Yeah thumbs up for all the helpful & knowledgeable folks here.


A general comment about dev experiences here - I also found myself going down diversions or spending too much time on one issue relative to the big picture, so I'd say it's often about balance.  


Need to balance ideation of an app concept vs. exploring enough of the API's to know what is possible and feasible in the first place.  Induction vs. deduction, the "how do I create this <something>" vs. "what can I create from these pieces"?


Balance the real need to write and debug code to get anything to sink in vs. the need to master language fundamentals well enough to not be doing wasteful hacking.  


Balance proofing out of critical functions that an app depends on vs. desire to see some pretty UI taking shape.  



Posts: 80
Registered: ‎03-17-2011
My Device: Playbook Tablet
My Carrier: -

Re: What were your development experiences

I ahd a great experience myself, and found that even not knowing a lot about actionscript, I was able to get by by searching for exampels and asking for help in the forum.


People are really friendly hre, and were always willing to help me in a matter of minutes.


I got so excited about it, that as soon as I sent my first app, I started to work on the second one on the same day. the first app was quite simple, but I wanted to make sure I submitted it before the deadline. It was entirely build in MXML


The second was slightly more complex, and used actionscript. I found initially that not having some sort of UI feedback was difficult, but you get used to it. I ended up using a mocking tool (which I'll blog about and post a link here later on), and that helped me a lot with positioning of stuff.


As an overall, I had a really good time, and not being developed any mobile apps before, it kinda got me in the mood, and I have a list of apps I'll be developing in the near future now.

Marcos Placona
My Playbook Apps:
Bonjour | Time Traveller | Magic Ball
Posts: 265
Registered: ‎01-02-2011
My Device: Z30, PlayBook
My Carrier: AT&T

Re: What were your development experiences

My experience.  Before this, I had done some Flex/Flash/Air work for my job and some on the side.  I had created a BlackBerry application for work, that has been running for about 5 years.


  • Found out in December.
  • Downloaded the evaluation version of Flex Builder
  • Started porting an old Air application - ran into some issues
  • Started learning how the new Flex 4 worked
  • Started a simple timer application based of a previous Flash app I made
  • RIM updates the PlayBook SDK
  • Restart working on the application
  • Redownload Flex, download burritto
  • Can't get Tablet SDK to work..............
  • Deadline gets pushed out *whew*
  • Get SDK to work
  • Can't get OAuth to work --- deadline looming
  • Start working on simpler app that doesn't use OAuth
  • Demo version of Flex Burrito expires
  • Order CS5 Master Collection ( I love my wife)
  • Master Collection finally comes in -- ordered education version to save a lot of money
  • Rush to finish simpler application (get side tracked with life)
  • Rush to finish two days left
  • Go to site and get Vendor key - less than a day left, see forum message about it taking two days -- nooooo!!!
  • Get vendor approval - Yeah!!
  • Notice that app is missing Wi-Fi warning<.li>
  • Simple text change causes formatting issue --- arrghh!!
  • Try to sign application - fail
  • Start uploading application. Need screenshots. Website times out. --- arrrrghhh!!
  • Create screen shots
  • Try to sign again - fail --- argh!
  • Upload applition - guess at this "No" , "No".... I guess .... please accept<./li>
  • Application uploaded - sigh of relief
  • Go play COD : Black Ops for the rest of the night to calm down
I am happy the deadline has passed and my application is up. I need to clean up this application and start on the companion two that won't be free. Hopefully life and SDK changes won't interfere with doing that. If I get one of the Playbooks, then I am going to rewrite some of the work applications so I can show the boss and hopefully he'll agree it is worth while to start rolling the PlayBook out to a few hundred Techs in the company.
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Posts: 21
Registered: ‎04-01-2011
My Device: PlayBook--simulator
My Carrier: NA

Re: What were your development experiences

[ Edited ]

My experience is pretty close to yours hidden_au. I only found out about the promotion on March 16. I was quite excited, so I dove into learning AS3, which is like JavaScript and Java fused so that was no problem. I thought I could get an app built, but the qnx UI libraries are quite odd, especially the containers. I was quite stunned when I went to add a "TextArea" component, and found that there exists only a work-around for the TextInpu. I spent hours just trying to get a container to place elements the way I wanted. I came very close to a complete app, but I didn't make the deadline.Smiley Sad


My suggestions:

1. "Fix" and expand the UI libraries.

2. Decide on whether developers should use Flex or AS3 to build the UI. There is a Flex for the PlayBook tutorial listed in the documentation, but at the same time, some documentation says to use AS3 for the UI.I was quite confused, but I think I should have gone with Flex and MXML. I probably could have completed an app.

3. Improve the documentation. For some areas, the docs are minimal.



Would I make another app? Sure! I'd actually finish mine up, and submit it if there was a deadline renewel. Smiley Wink If the device is as fast as the simulator, programming in AS3 is a dream for the PlayBook, except for those UI libraries. Smiley Mad Also, the forums here are wonderful. I never asked a question because there are so many thorouhg answers to typical problems.