04-01-2011 09:08 AM
I'm a professional developer by day, C#, WPF, SQL. I was originally going to work in MXML since it looks like WPF stole a LOT from that (probably not, there are only so many ways you can describe a UI in xml) but switched over to Actionscript since I read the same post about Actionscript being the preferred way to do this and it is pretty similar to the C, C++, C#, Java, etc.
Did I submit my application in time? No. Last night I got hung up on trying to use QNXStageWebView to show a local static help file on how to use the game I wrote, which it refused to do. So no submission and no free tablet. But I got to be a vendor for free, so I will stick with it and a few other apps I have ideas for.
I did this for:
1. Free tablet. Duh.
2. To learn a new skill in case my job here goes bust.
3. My day job is writing software for small to medium sized cities and I want to be ready in case my company decides we need to support our clients using tablets.
04-01-2011 09:33 AM - edited 04-01-2011 09:35 AM
@RottenOgre I was in the same position as you were except I did not get to ever start with the game and just did some experimental stuff. Although I've followed actionscript for many years, my day to day job has very little to do with development and its what I devote most of my resources to in terms of learning.
I found out about the offer through one of the many flash blogs I've followed throughout the years and decided to give this a try.
Developing for the PB is a blast. The development tools are in their infancy. We still do not have a simulator that is 1:1 with the device so I won't complain about it here. I'll rather submit bugs to improve the tools. Documentation will continue to improve and grow as well.
Overall it's been a great experience.
Also, @RottenOgre, what's the IRC channel?
04-01-2011 10:48 AM
04-01-2011 03:05 PM
I thought it was a blast! Not only did I do an app for myself, but I made 3 more on contracts for other people. Considering I got started in Feb, it's been a very busy couple months!
I didn't know actionscript or flash at all when I started. I still don't know flash really, but actionscript was enough like java and c# that it really wasn't an issue to pick it up at all. Getting started was actually the hardest part because like someone else said, I had a LOT of confusion about what tools to use. The second most difficult thing was simply to start thinking in terms of Sprites instead of controls, dialogs or screens.
I also learned that Tweener is AWESOME!
04-01-2011 03:13 PM
Overall I feel the experience was a bit below average. For this project I chose to use the QNX components since I wanted the application to have a native application look/feel. I found the components to be not particularly mature and the documentation was not great. Also the simulator is extremely poor. Some very simple AIR functionality does not work and I had to submit my application hoping it would work on real hardware. Fortunately it does but I should not have to guess.
In fairness to RIM though they are giving away a very expensive device so I am thankful for the opportunity and I am sure that the development tools will improve in the future. I love AS3 development more than other dev (I do C# and HTML/AJAX/PHP development as well) so I am very glad to see this full support for air on Blackberry platforms.
04-01-2011 04:26 PM
04-01-2011 05:39 PM
This was my first App ever made and submitted.
The playbook offer definitely got me interested at first, but I realized this project was going to be very exciting for me.
Also just being out of a job, I thought this would be a great project to work on as well as starting my own company.
So I decided to do this project, since early February.
Hardest parts for me were:
- Think of an idea for an App.
- Spending alot of time troubleshooting.
Approximately on this project, I spent about 400 hours on this. (Yes, I could've worked as a Walmart greeter and still earn about $4,000). Before this experience, I had no idea how this infrastructure worked, not much programming skills and minimal web development knowledge. Now I think I'm functional.
I'm a certified PMP and a Professional Engineer (not in software or computers) so I do come from a technical background but, I love just being a part of this technical evolution with Blackberry. I have always enjoyed Blackberry products from my Curve (8310) to my Bold 2 (9700) and I don't own any Apple products or want to either.
Anyways going back to my development experience with the Playbook, I found that it was educational, fun, and I love being able to tell people that I'm trying to develop an App for the unreleased Playbook which is to be released in April.
Of course, I did have lots of troubleshooting problems from Command line errors, Not being able to Sign the app on a win 7 machine so I had to setup up on a XP machine, starting up the simulator (the blackberry playbook screen with the white bar below) and never getting to the desktop (green screen.) , and constantly going back to this developers forum for support. But people were great help and I enjoyed it.
Overall, I found a new passion in this experience.
Actually I'm working on another way more complex App (with Adobe Flex now that I know Flex works.)
Thanks Blackberry (RIM) for making it easy to learn your platform.
04-01-2011 07:59 PM
As much as it is said that Actionscript is the preferred way to develop I found that a healthy combination of MXML/qnx components makes things really easy.
You can use the designer to do all of your layout, visual/image and list and things like that in MXML (I find lists way easier to work with in MXML/Spark world than the QNX version) and then place the buttons or more native components with no problem.
04-02-2011 02:34 AM
I found out about the Playbook offer at the end of January, gave a few minutes thought to what kind of app I could make, and being a hobbyist game developer for the past 15 years, naturally I thought of some games.
In my one previously published game, I implemented a cool water ripple effect from an algorithm I found, and I thought making water ripples on a tablet device might be kinda cool. My first attempt at coding the algorithms was way way too slow, so I searched around and found that someone had done a similar effect using flash filters (nascomaslib). I adapted the code to my needs and added a way to get force vectors out of the graphics rendering, so the waves could push things around.
So the game is making a little boat move around to dodge floating leaves and collect submerged coins by making water ripples on the touch device. There's a rainstorm going on, that starts out as a drizzle and escalates to a rather severe storm over about 5 minutes. There's an occasional lightning flash followed by thunder. It turned out really pretty, and I'm proud of my work called "The Rainstorm".
The development experience was a teeny bit rocky, but I've gone through much worse experiences trying to get SDKs and such up and running. I'm a PhD student in computer science, so I tend to do quite a bit of coding. For my hobby the past 1.5 years I have been writing an RTS in flash (good path planning is quite the challenge in AS3), and after spending an entire year (on average just an hour a week... family is much more important than this) on the path planning alone, I needed a break from it. It does work quite well now, though. I might go back to it now...
Once I had a simple tech demo with the ship responding to the ripples, I started getting the SDK and the simulator up and running. That took a few days, but it wasn't so bad. The instructions were well-written. Oh, I'm running linux and using all the command-line stuff, but that's the way I've worked with flex for the past 1.5 years, so I've got a nice workflow for it. If anyone's interested in my setup, I'd be happy to expound. The coolest part is fcshd.py.
The game was close to done March 11, and I thought the deadline was still March 15, as I missed the announcement. I was strapping in for an extreme programming weekend, when I noticed the announcement and decided to relax. I got the final polished version of the game submitted March 23, and got my approval notice March 30.
What a blast. I haven't had so much fun programming for several years. I most definitely plan to write more apps.