Following the unveiling of new features and capabilities of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, Canadian handset vendor Research In Motion also announced the availability of updated developer tools for those interested in building applications for the OS.
Among them, we can count the third beta flavor of the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK, which provides a nice range of enhancements over the previous releases, and which takes one step closer to the final flavor of the development kit.
“Our APIs have evolved to a point where they are stable and functional enough to advertise backwards compatibility,” RIM notes in a blog post.
“We also support a full feature set of APIs in the Native SDK – from connectivity APIs such as email and calendar to APIs that support deeper integration such as invocation to social APIs such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).”
Called cards, one of the new features in the BlackBerry 10 platform relies on deep integration, enabling developers to connect some functionality with other apps.
There is an invocation framework that developers can register applications with so as to integrate functionality from other apps or to allow other apps to access features from theirs, such as the possibility to preview a photo.
“Visually, a card typically appears as a previewer that takes up most of the screen. However, it appears as part of the application on which it is stacked. Essentially, you can use a gesture to slide the card in, partially or fully into your app,” RIM explains.
“A Card is considered part of the application that invokes it and does not appear as a separate entity in the running applications grid. In addition, when the card’s function is complete, the user is automatically returned to its parent. In this way, a card ‘feels’ like part of the application.”
Additionally, there are BBM Social Platform APIs that developers can take advantage of when building applications, such as the Message Center APIs that can be used to launch the unified inbox, send emails, or receive notifications.
RIM also included its powerful Push framework in the NDK, so that developers can design apps that can receive push data. The new development tools also come with an Advertising Service included, as well as with the APIs developers need to benefit from it.
Other new features in the Native SDK include a Bluetooth API, APIs for Holster detection, a WallPaper API in the Cascades layer, APIs for sensors (rotation, orientation, magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer), geocoding API, and more.