Automated Porting Android Apps to Blackberry

15/08/13
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While building an Android application, you can kill two birds with one stone by generating both Android apk files a BlackBerry 10 bundle at the same time. What technology allows this? How can a developer start the process automatically? What audience can you reach by doing this? The answers are in this brief post.

As our readers have learned before, BlackBerry created a powerful engine to port Android applications to the BlackBerry 10 OS called Android Player.

But we at DataArt decided to go further. What about creating an engine that will automate the process? As you may know the Android build process involves Ant, so an automated multi-platform release idea can be implemented. So I used the Ant script for automated porting.

To be sure that all would go alright, I always start by building using the Eclipse platform, test the result and then repeat the process with the Ant script. As time goes on, and the technology advances, this extra step with Eclipse could be skipped.

Today I have some obstacles to overcome. As the Android Player framework can import applications for Android 2.3.3 or earlier, then it can only be made to work for those versions. Also the script is not compatible with C++ apps. Also the files are automatically written to the built-in memory, while they cannot be written to the SD card. But all these troubles could be fixed.

However, these problems all pale against the big advantage – BlackBerry is the only mobile platform that provides the possibility to import applications from one OS to another. So, developing something for your Android users, you could also cover the BlackBerry 10 audience, which consists of more than 6 million users. DataArt’s automation development with Ant script makes it faster and affordable.

BlackBerry is very active these days and is working on an iOS Player (no press-release detected, yet; however, some leaks had popped up in July). BlackBerry is also going to improve the Android Player by making it compatible with up to 4.2.2 Android OS-level applications, when the Ant script will be replaced by Gradle. So we’ll be back soon with the more detailed material about porting applications, the features of this process, and app design requirements.

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