Posted by Sandro on October 27th, 2010

Getting started: Blackberry PlayBook Development Setup

A promotional picture of the RIM Blackberry PlayBook

Oh boy oh boy, aren’t these exciting times to be a developer? :)

So, yesterday – on time for Adobe MAX 2010 – RIM released the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK Beta for Adobe® AIR. Alongside the SDK they also released the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ Simulator Beta. Both come in a Windows or Mac flavor.

Why is this so exciting for us Flash Platform Developers? Well, you apparently missed the announcement at yesterdays Adobe MAX Day 1 Keynote. Check out the video:

See what they did there? Yup, Flash/AIR is a core functionality of the entire system. Now excuse me if i go all capslock on you all but HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT!? :)

Now get the tools

So now that i hopefully have wet your appetite, how about we check all the new toys out right away. Thanks to RIM and their simulator we can actually do that quite easily. Head over to their developer website for the tablet os and download the simulator and the SDK for the OS you require.

Since i’m a windows user, my instructions will be very windows centric, infact, they will be Windows 7 64-bit centric, since i encountered quite a lot of problems on the way to PlayBook-bliss.

Setup / Installation

Installing the Simulator

If you are running a 32-bit Windows System go ahead and run the installers, they should work flawlessly and i would guess the same is the case for the Mac installs. If you run Windows on a 64-bit sytem though, you will be greeted by a not-so-friendly screen right at the start of your journey:

The Problem (i’m not quite sure actually) is either that the installer is not 64-bit compatible or since i noticed it uses Java it might just not support the 64-bit Java version. Either way, i haz a way around this little problem.

As any good windows user should, i would hope that you have 7-zip installed, simply because it is the best archiving / compression tool on windows AND it’s open source. So as it turns out, with 7-zip you can extract the content from the installer.

Now – what we want to extract from the installer is a ISO Image which we will need to setup the Simulator. The file in question is “InstallerData\Disk1\InstData\” . It’s another zip which you have to extract, that contains two folders that in turn contains the image, which is called “BlackBerryPlayBookSimulator.iso” .

Great! Now that you have the image, we can finally setup the simulator, which actually is a virtual machine. For that, you can follow the installation instructions posted at the developer site by RIM themselfs – make sure to come back ok ? :P

Installing the SDK

So by now you should have a running instance of the PlayBook OS which is most likely looking something like this:

Pretty eh?

Now, the 64-bit problem also applies to the SDK Installer of course. Now this one was a little bit trickier since the installer actually generates the SDK for you. But with a little trickery that problem won’t stop us here either.

I have generated the SDK with AIR 2.5 integrated and uploaded it for your convenience to mediafire so you can download it from there. – at the time of this writing, the version of the blackberry tablet sdk is 0.9.0

This SDK is (mostly) like any other Flex SDK. So if you use Flash Builder, you can go to the Preferences > Flash Builder > Installed Flex SDKs and add the SDK to the existing ones.

That’s it! You have set up your environment for developing for the Blackberry PlayBook. In the next article, we will look into some more specifics of this SDK.

I leave you at this point with the link to the Blackberry Adobe AIR Development Guides and API Reference where you will find more information on setting up and creating your first project.

Hope this was of any help and make sure to come back for the next article on the Blackberry PlayBook. I’m sure we will see a lot more of it in the near future :)

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  1. luchyx says:

    Great tips dude!!.
    Q: can you explain the setup process for eclipse in order to run or debug from eclipse with the RUN TARGET.??


  2. it worked! :)
    there’s the same 64bit compatibility problem with the SDK installer.
    in order to solve that (which is not an iso file) I found this blog post which explains how to hack the installer itself.

    mainly, you just have to set the jvm path in the x86 program files folder.

  3. […] Note that this works only for 32 bit OSes. For 64 bit OS install by following this link: […]

  4. Great tips!!

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