Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Python and Qt on BlackBerry [PlayBook]

I've just bought a BlackBerry PlayBook. After been spending some time with a borrowed PlayBook I decided to buy one myself. Many of you might wonder why the hell I did that but I really think it's a great device. The three top things that made me buy the PlayBook are:
  • Cheap! Good value for the money, the 32 Gb version for only €249
  • Awesome user experience. Really love those swipe gestures which only requires one finger so you can pretty much operate the device with only one finger :). It also gets addictive!
  • It runs Qt and Python!
You might argue that there are very little apps for the PlayBook but admittedly I mostly use the browser so that isn't such a big deal for me. The native PIM-apps integrates well with Google services, such as mail, calendar and contacts. The only thing that I'm missing is an official twitter client. There're a bunch of them on AppWorld but I haven't had time to checked them out yet. RIM do also claim that the PlayBook will be upgradeable to BlackBerry 10 so that should give some confidence of the PlayBook having an upgrade path :)

The PlayBook is powered by QNX which is a real-time micro kernel and supports a lot of POSIX APIs. This basically means that many open source apps/libs for Linux can be ported with little or no effort. What I think is rather cool is that Python 3.2 is pre-installed on the PlayBook which you can use to run Python application.

BlackBerry-Py is a project which goal is to build an environment to support application development in Python for the PlayBook and the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS. BB-Py uses PySide (Python bindings for Qt) for the UI and the project is also working on support for Cascades. It's very easy to get started so I'll just point you to the "Hello World" example which describes every step you need to take to deploy an app to the device. And no, I didn't find it that hard to get the debug token which you need to install your app on the device :).

Currently the PlayBook OS doesn't include the Qt libraries so they, and PySide, need to be bundled with your app. BB10 is using Qt to a great extent (Cascades is built on top of Qt) and the libraries will be available on the filesystem, only PySide needs to be bundled.

Oh, you also need to download an SDK, for example the Native SDK, to get the required tools for packaging and deploying.

1 comment:

  1. Python and Qt alone made me want to develop for bbx