~ 6 min read

Super App Webcast Q&A Follow-Up

During the [intlink id="136" type="post"]Super App webcast[/intlink] Mike Kirkup covered many questions from the attendees. I have gathered many of those in the webcast summary. He did not get through all of the questions and promised to answer all of the questions on blackberry development forum. He did just that and here is the Q&A extracted:

[Q] The problem I found with a super app that was tightly integrated with the address book is that people were looking to see an icon and not something that was just part of the existing BlackBerry UI.

[A] A good point.  Many users will still expect a simple icon for the application whether only to provide information on how to leverage the application or how to manipulate settings.  Fixmo is a really good example of this point.

[Q] Is there a way for my app to get notified when new notifications are shown on the device?

[A] Unfortunately, no.  But this sounds like a great feature request you should log via the BlackBerry Issue Tracker.

[Q] Is there a way to include full camera control in the application?

[A] Yes.  Check out JSR 135 (MMAPI) for more information on how to include the camera field within your application including the ability to modify zoom and flash settings.

[Q] With the definition of a "Super App" being one that you cannot live without, can a game be a super app?

[A] Great question!  Yes, a game definitely can be a "Super App" or take on many of the characteristics of a Super App including being notification driven, contextual (even location based), integrated with other applications and so on.  It isn't hard to imagine having a game that you love so much that you can't live without it.

[Q] Can I make a Super App by developing a BlackBerry Widget?

[A] Yes, definitely.  One of the most important attributes of the our Widget technology is that you can fully integrate your Widget into all of the same APIs that are available to Java applications whether exposed already through Javascript APIs or through your ability to write Javascript to Java APIs.

[Q] Do you plan on setting up a program to certify applications as Super Apps?

[A] No, we do not currently have any plans for certifying applications as a Super App today.  The concept here is to help people really understand not only the capabilities of the BlackBerry platform but also the possibilities on better engaging your users.

[Q] We have developed a collaboration application which works on a "pull" basis.  How can we leverage push?

[A] Check out our newly launched Push Services page for more information on how you can start leveraging push in your application whether for the enterprise or consumers.

[Q] Is it possible to add a custom menu item in any third party application?

[A] Yes, although not in a granular fashion today.  As part of the ApplicationMenuItem API you can specify that you want your menu item included in all applications on the device but you do not get to pick which applications if you don't want all apps.  Can you submit a feature request in the Developer Issue Tracker if you think this is a good use case.

[Q] Suppose the application flow is such that screen 1 pushes screen 2, screen 2 pushes screen 3 and from screen 3 the user needs to go to screen 1.  Should the application push screen 1 again or pop screens to get to screen1?

[A] You should definitely maintain the proper ordering of the screens on the stack for the user such that your application will automatically pop off the top screen on the stack when the user presses the escape key.  So, in this case, it depends on your ultimate goal of the screens.

[Q] This is a great presentation but it gives very little to seasoned developers.  Will you have additional presentations with more details and more code samples? (Editor: this, I think is actually my question slightly rephrased)

[A] Yes, definitely.  This is the introduction to the concept of Super Apps and you will see additional webinar presentations that go into substantially more detail on all of the key aspects of bringing Super Apps characteristics to your application.  The Big Ideas, Little Screens UI Webinar from Brian this month is a perfect example of more involved webinars.

[Q] What are the OS or device requirements for the Javascript examples provided?

[A] These are part of the new BlackBerry Widget technology and require v5.0 handheld software.

[Q] You mentioned the Super Apps website.  Where is that?

[A] www.blackberry.com/developers/superapps

He also promised to keep posting answers so see the original forum thread here for more information