Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review of BlackBerry Eclipse Plugin for Mac OS X

Today I have a chance to look at BlackBerry's Eclipse Plugin for Mac OS X.  Since it is only a preview version, I did not expect too much. After install and play a while, my excitement vs. disappointment is half and half.

The software contains the full Eclipse 3.5 and it's Eclipse Plugin, like the windows version of earlier this year. It requires to install the BlackBerry Desktop manager for Mac.

What I don't like:

  •  Does not support simulator yet.  From the IDE menu, I could not find the where I can launch the BlackBerry simulator,  then when I read the manual document, I realize this feature is not supported, it only support running/debug on the actual device via USB cable.  
  • On-device debugging is kind of working. It takes a long time to connect the device, it can stop at the break point, but  the variable value is wrong, always 0 or null.
  • Support BlackBerry OS 6 only.
  • Signing is more restricted, in windows version you can hack the signing tool by putting the file  sigtool.csk and sigtool.db in the \bin folder of blackberry SDK component folder.  It does not working on Mac version now.
Now I understand why it is called a preview version.

What I like most is the blackberry tool "javaloader" is  now supported in Mac, I tested it works on Mac, you can install/remove an application using  javaloader via USB cable. Really nice!   

The javaloader file is under the folder like:
If you are familiar with the Blackberry Windows version of Eclipse Plugin, you will find they have the same folder structure. Just remember you have to manually change the permission to make sure it is executable.  You can also find the preverify tool in the same folder, and fledge tool in the simulator folder, which is supposed to launch the simulator, unfortunately it does not working right now.

Another interesting thing is I wonder how it build the application in the IDE.  From the console window I got following output:

Compiling CLDC Application:
java -jar /Users/steve/Desktop/BBEclipse/plugins/net.rim.ejde.componentpack6.0.0_6.0.0.29/components/bin/rapc.jar -convertpng -quiet codename=deliverables/Standard/6.0.0/HelloWorldDemo deliverables/Standard/6.0.0/HelloWorldDemo.rapc -exepath=/Users/steve/Desktop/BBEclipse/plugins/net.rim.ejde.componentpack6.0.0_6.0.0.29/components/bin/ -sourceroot=/Users/steve/dev/workspace/HelloWorldDemo/src:/Users/steve/dev/workspace/HelloWorldDemo/res -import=/Users/steve/Desktop/BBEclipse/plugins/net.rim.ejde.componentpack6.0.0_6.0.0.29/components/lib/net_rim_api.jar /Users/steve/dev/workspace/HelloWorldDemo/bin

Compiling MIDlet application:
java -jar /Users/steve/Desktop/BBEclipse/plugins/net.rim.ejde.componentpack6.0.0_6.0.0.29/components/bin/rapc.jar -convertpng -quiet codename=deliverables/Standard/6.0.0/MIDletDemo -midlet deliverables/Standard/6.0.0/MIDletDemo.rapc -exepath=/Users/steve/Desktop/BBEclipse/plugins/net.rim.ejde.componentpack6.0.0_6.0.0.29/components/bin/ -sourceroot=/Users/steve/dev/workspace/MIDletDemo/src:/Users/steve/dev/workspace/MIDletDemo/res -import=/Users/steve/Desktop/BBEclipse/plugins/net.rim.ejde.componentpack6.0.0_6.0.0.29/components/lib/net_rim_api.jar /Users/steve/dev/workspace/MIDletDemo/bin

Now we understand that in Mac,  it uses java to launch rap compiler, and it has some option I never seen before: like  -convertpng, -exepath, etc.  I wonder RIM might upgrade it new version of RAPC compiler.

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