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RIM Adds New Eclipse and Visual Studio Plug-Ins For Blackberry Developers

The maker of the popular Blackberry smart phone this week unveiled new tooling for developers building Web and rich Internet applications for its devices.

Research In Motion's new Web development tools consist of its first Eclipse-based plug-in and an updated version of its plug-in for Microsoft's Visual Studio.

The company late last year at its annual developer conference said it would give further emphasis to providing Web development tools following a long history of supporting embedded Java development.

While RIM intends to continue its Java support, it is acknowledging a trend to port more Web content to mobile devices, said Paxton Cooper, the company's senior director of platform product management.

"We are seeing significant increase in Web development for Blackberry," Cooper said in an interview. "Because of the explosive growth of Internet-based content, we are seeing users want to have access to that same content on their mobile devices. That’s provided the opportunity for Web application developers to begin targeting mobile devices."

The Eclipse plug-in, available for download, supports HTML and CSS content but also lets developers build more sophisticated apps based on AJAX, Microsoft's Silverlight, PHP, ASP, Ruby on Rails, JSP, and Python. It supports Eclipse 3.4. The plug-in lets developers debug and profile Web pages.

Asked if it would support the fourth Eclipse Release train, launched last month, Cooper said the company is evaluating that. "We are really trying ourselves to the Eclipse release train," he said. "We are seeing significant usage of Eclipse by our development community, and we are trying to integrate as deeply as possible with the Eclipse environment."

The BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio version 1.2, also available for download and works with Visual Studio 2008, marks its second plug-in for that environment. The Visual Studio plug-in lets developers build basic Web pages or rich Internet applications using AJAX and ASP.NET. "The enhancements are really in the debugging, the profiling and the additional simulation capabilities," he said.

With both tools, developers can profile data traffic, data load times, and rendering of images including CSS, JavaScript and HTML.

Cooper said RIM will be disclosing further tools for developers at its developer conference November 9-12 in San Francisco.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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