BlackBerry applications can be installed from a computer to a device using a USB cable and the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. For large applications, desktop installation may save wireless data costs, and downloading an application is a lot faster over a broadband Internet connection than a 2.5G network connection.There may also be cases where wireless data access is not available on a BlackBerry device—if a user hasn’t subscribed to a data plan or an IT policy forbids certain types of network access from the BlackBerry device. Generally, though, desktop installation is more complex and involves more steps than OTA installation, making it more difficult for users. Unlike OTA installation, you don’t have to worry about sibling CODs with desktop installation.
The ALX File
Desktop installation requires a different type of descriptor file than OTA installation. For desktop installation, the file is XML based and has the extension .alx. Here’s an example ALX file for UiFun:<loader version="1.0">
The ALX file format allows you to support more complex installation scenarios, such as different COD files for different devices. This is outside the scope of this book, but documentation is available on the BlackBerry Developer Zone. To generate an ALX file using Eclipse or the JDE, right-click the BlackBerry project and select Generate ALX file (Figures). The file will have the same base name as your project.
To generate an ALX file from Eclipse, right-click the project and select Generate ALX file.
To generate an ALX file from the JDE, right-click the project and select Generate ALX file.
Distributing an application for desktop installation is easy—just give the ALX and COD files to the user.The process of installing is a bit more complex:
Loading UiFun onto a device using the Application Loader from the Desktop Manager
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Setting The Stage
What Makes A Blackberry Application?
User Interface Basics
Beyond The Basics Of User Interfaces
Hello Out There! Making A Network-enabled Application
Where Am I? Using Location-based Services
Getting Your App Out There: Packaging And Publishing
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