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Your first BlackBerry PlayBook AIR app

27 Comments 03 November 2010

Your first BlackBerry PlayBook AIR app

Adobe MAX was just a FAN-TAS-TIC event and we made so many announcements during the keynote. If you want to watch it, check this page: I was especially very excited by the BlackBerry PlayBook announcement. For the first time, this new tablet has been demonstrated live and RIM confessed that most of the standard applications on this device are based on the Adobe AIR 2.5 runtime. They also officially launched the BlackBerry Tablet OS for AIR SDK. But… the tablet is not available on the market. So why should you start building AIR apps for this device ? First, because this is an amazing tablet: the technical specifications are impressive, AIR 2.5 runs like a charm and I believe that tablets will become a standard in the Enteprise. I’m also convinced that tablets will replace a lot of Enterprise laptops and computers by 2012 as they will fulfill 99% of the knowledge worker needs, and BlackBerry knows how to deal with Enterprise customers. The second reason why you should start building AIR apps for this device is linked to another huge RIM announcement: if your AIR app is approved by BlackBerry and deployed in the AppWorld marketplace, then you’ll receive a PlayBook for free !!! You don’t believe me ? Check this page.

I’ve just recorded a video tutorial that explains how to setup your environment in 5 minutes, and how to debug AS3 and Flex applications on the PlayBook simulator:

How to develop an AIR application for the BlackBerry PlayBook from michael chaize on Vimeo.

If you prefer to discover it by yourself, here are some tips:

How to setup your environment to develop AIR applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook

1) Download and unzip the Adobe AIR 2.5 SDK available here:

2) Make sure that you run JAVA 1.6 on your computer (type java -version to check the current version of your JVM)

3) Make sure you have updated your Flash Builder 4 software to Flash Builder 4.0.1 !!!

4) Download and launch the BlackBerry Tablet SDK for Adobe AIR. In the installation wizard, indicate where Flash Builder 4 is installed  (in which folder), and where you unzipped the AIR 2.5 SDK. It will add the BlackBerry SDK on top of FB4, in the classic /sdks/ folder.

5) Download and launch the BlackBerry PlayBook simulator. It will copy an ISO file on your machine. Use VMWare Fusion (on MAC) or VMWare Player (on Windows) to create a new virtual machine based on this ISO file. Give the image 1Gb of RAM, enable 3D acceleration and launch it.

6) In the PlayBook image, click on the Settings icon to enable the Development mode. Click on the hammer to get the IP of your image.

How to develop AIR applications for the PlayBook with Flash Builder 4

1) Launch Flash Builder 4 and create a new Flex project. Select the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK.

2) You can create a pure AS3 project. If you plan to use MXML, you will get a lot of compilation errors like this one: ” Description Resource Path Location Type :Unable to resolve resource bundle “collections” for locale “en_US”.”

3) To correct this, open the properties of your project and check the Flex complier options. Update the additional parameters to indicate the correct path to the BlackBerry SDK installed on your machine. For instance:

-locale en_US -library-path+=”/Applications/Adobe Flash Builder 4/sdks/blackberry-tablet-sdk-0.9.0/frameworks/locale/en_US”

How to debug your AIR applications on the PlayBook with Flash Builder 4

1) Once your Flex application is coded, go to Run>Debug and create a NEW debug profile for the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

2) Click on the browse button to select your project. In the Target field, enter the IP of the PlayBook device (click on the hammer in your image to retrieve the IP address). Click on Apply.

3) Click on the Common tab and check “Debug”. Click on Apply and click on Debug.

4) It will automatically launch your application in the image. You can add breakpoints in your code and have a full debugging experience. If you want to close your PlayBook app, swipe your finger from the bottom of the tablet (on the black border) to the center.

How to deploy your AIR application on the PlayBook device without Flash Builder 4

1) You can use a command line to access the features of the blackberry-airpackager application available in the /bin folder of the SDK. Type:

blackberry-airpackager -package output_fileName -installApp -launchApp projectName-app.xml projectName.swf -device IPaddress

Now you can start building AIR applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook ! Check the following forum to get tips: and download the Developer guide:

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Your Comments

27 Comments so far

  1. Rob Fox says:

    This might be a stupid question but say I want to save some kind of local cache or user settings of my application to a text file.
    How do I do that? Can I create new files with code on the blackberry?

  2. admin says:

    Hi. You should use the local SQLite database to persist data. It’s by default in the Adobe AIR runtime. I guess you can write a text file and save it on a SDcard but a database is always better.

  3. Tue Oxenvad says:

    Very exciting Michaël – great walk-through. This will leverage the power of Microsoft/Apple/IBM and developers to deploy interactive apps and enhance UX.

    Looking forward to one of those tablets 😉

  4. Stephen Adams says:

    Awesome demo, thanks for posting.

  5. flexbandit says:

    Great walkthrough, thanks Michaël. The library-path tip was particularly useful! Now I am trying to figure out how to use the gestures in the simulator so I can close my running app :-)

  6. MRaj says:

    DO you have an example to open a socket for the blackberry simulator(RUnning on VMWare) to connect to a server running in host machine. I would like the code to be in AS3

  7. Adam Miles says:

    I am getting this error when putting in the additional arguments…

    -locale en_US -library-path+=”/Applications/Adobe Flash Builder 4/sdks/blackberry-tablet-sdk-0.9.0/frameworks/locale/en_US”

    “no default arguments are expected” this is showing in the properties window …

    I hope you can help :)


  8. I’ve finally got this working now and it looks great. However, I’m just curious to know how the hell you are supposed to remove an application, because I don’t want this image to be cluttered with basic tests…

  9. Alexei says:

    Hey, thanks a lot for this tutorial its great! it was also very helpful with getting rid of that local en_US file.

    the only thing i had trouble with, that you should correct is you’re solution for getting rid of the error:

    you see, when you copy and paste that into Flash Builder, it keeps the quotation marks in that fancy shape, where they’re bent to the side, however for the code, they must be simple and straight down (my dad explained this to me, im only 16 and doing my best) so basically everything you have done is GREAT, just change those quotation marks around the location of the en_US file to normal ones, in order to avoid confusion for others :) thanks a bunch for this tutorial once again, this is my first time using ActionScript and mxml.. ever :)

  10. Dani says:

    Hi, I am wondering how the Flash builder application will be deployed into the real PlayBook. I am not talking about the simulator. Does anyone know the answer ?
    through AIR package?
    Thanks in advance.


  11. Tom says:

    Cool, see what it leads to =)

  12. Farid Valipour says:


    Thanks Dear Michaël CHAIZE.

    I have tested with some flex spark component.
    it is good but what’s limitation we have now with spark for playbook?

    maybe slowly or anything.

    would you pls explain more.

    Farid Valipour

  13. Tomas Sancio says:

    Merci beaucoup!

    Thank you very much for the tutorial. In one sitting I was able to run my desktop AIR app with much less issues than I thought. Now to check the forums to see the details…


  14. TruthReveller says:

    When I go to create a new Flex project, I cannot change .mxml to .as. It grays out the Finish button and there a message saying extension must be mxml.

    Any ideas?

    Also I tried a AS Project, but the Blackberry Playbook AIR SDK isn’t imported. -_-

  15. Umair Aamir says:

    Hi! I am Umair Aamir. After reading about you from internet I became big fan of you. I want to work with you. Would you please include me in your team. May be I wouldn’t come up to your standards to work in your team but I am quick and I want to learn under your guidance. I am working on Adobe Flex currently. If you say I would email you my resume also

  16. Wesley Koch says:

    Hi, I have gone thru the installs, when I go to create a new flex project I do not get the option to select the Blackbery playbook.
    Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

  17. Rajesh says:

    hello guys,
    I have the new version of the black berry simulator and i configured the new environment in the vmware player but after i finished the installation of the black berry os its not seems to be working fine, like it shows a blank screen, can any of u guys suggest me a way out

  18. zippy says:

    hey Michael can you show the code from the twitter search from this video!?


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Who am I ?

I'm Michaël CHAIZE, Adobe Flash Platform Evangelist based in Paris. I'm a big fan of Rich Internet Applications and I promote the Flash Platform in the Enterprise world.
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