Over the years, we’ve gotten a stream of requests for the XDA Forum App on alternate platforms, including BlackBerry®. People certainly use a BlackBerry smartphone for work but also for play, and want access to the forums at all times. After taking time to look into the porting process, we realized how incredibly easy it would be. In reality, signing up for our developer account on the BlackBerry® World™ storefront took more time than the actual port!
BlackBerry offers an SDK for building native BlackBerry® 10 apps, but there are also several alternatives for nonnative ports. These include ActionScript for existing apps written in Adobe AIR, and WebWorks™, an HTML 5 SDK. With WebWorks, you can either create an app launcher that loads an external web page in a chromeless (i.e. no navigation, no address bar, etc.) web view or packages the HTML5 resources so that they run directly on a BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
The XDA App for BlackBerry 10 smartphones was built using non-native option #3: the BlackBerry Packager for Android apps. You can use BlackBerry’s tools to run Jelly Bean apps directly on BlackBerry 10 (v10.2 beta), but the online packager (we used the command line version) currently only works with Android 2.3.3 apps. Here’s the entire process.
First, we registered our vendor account, which required emailing some government identification, and created our secure certificates for signing BlackBerry apps. This involved setting up our desktop to sign BlackBerry apps via a Java applet and creating a key pair with password. With Android and BlackBerry SDKs installed, we used the apk2bar program to re-package XDA Premium in the BlackBerry 10 app format (.bar), which only took a few moments, and then signed the app with our certificates. Finally, we submitted the app to BlackBerry World for (speedy) approval.
If you have a BlackBerry 10 smartphone, go get the XDA app now. It’s free and ad-free. Enjoy!
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Thanks to BlackBerry for sponsoring this post and for sending us a Z10 for testing with the XDA app._________