Developing Web Applications for BlackBerry Mobiles using Microsoft ASP.NET

Let us see, how to develop a Web application for Blackberry device. Now a days Mobile device plays a  prominent role in our life.

Developing Web applications for mobile devices are made simple with introduction of Microsoft ASP.NET. The main advantage of developing web application using ASP.NET is, it renders the content based on the requested device. Another advantage is, the webpage which is designed to render on Desktop browsers, works perfectly in Mobile browser also.  By just adding some meta tags, web pages display perfectly fine in Mobile browsers.

Microsoft provides two powerful IDE’s for developing Web applications – Visual Studio 2008/ 2010 and Expression Web.

Three major steps in developing Mobile web applications are:

  1. Designing the web page.
  2. Adding necessary meta  tags for display in Mobile devices
  3. Finally, testing the web application using Emulators.

Designing the web page:

Designing of webpage should be done, such that it should be compatible & fit for both Desktop & Mobile browsers. While designing web applications for Mobile devices, avoid web pages with large images, Flash Ads(Some Mobile browsers won’t support Flash. Ex:Apple iPhone etc.,). Web page should be light and very powerful and user friendly. Don’t make it clumsy by adding unnecessary images /text.

NOTE: BlackBerry browser won’t display images more than 1 MB of size. So prefer choosing .PNG images .

Some ASP.NET controls like asp:LinkButton,asp:dropDownList controls won’t work in BlackBerry browsers. To resolve this issue, add the following code under <system.web> section in the web.config file.

<browserCaps>

<filter>

<case match=”(?i)BlackBerry”>EcmaScriptVersion=1.5</case>

</filter>

</browserCaps>

Adding necessary META tags for display in Mobile devices

Two META tags which makes the web page compatible with Blackberry browsers.

<meta name=”HandheldFriendly” content=”true” />

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width,height=device-height, initial-scale=0.5, maximum-scale=1.0;” />

Finally, testing the web application using Emulators

Now we need to test our web application in BlackBerry browser. RIM provides an excellent tool for testing web application in BlackBerry browser – BlackBerry Plugin 2.5 for VS 2008. Download it and install on your computer.

BlackBerry Plugin 2.5 is bundled with three emulators – BlackBerry Bold 9700, BlackBerry Storm 9550 and BlackBerry Torch 9800.

NOTE: Before installing make sure that JDK 1.6 is installed in your machine, it is prerequisite for installing BlackBerry Plugin 2.5. And also note that the plugin in compatible with Visual Studio 2008 only.

Once the BlackBerry plugin 2.5 is installed, we are ready to test our web application. To test the web application in BlackBerry browser follow the steps below.

  • Launch VS 2008. Open the Website.
  • From the BlackBerry toolbar select the emulator.

emulator_selection

  • In Solutions Explorer, right click on the web page, which needs to be viewed in BlackBerry browser.

rightclick

  • Select Browse with option in the context menu.

select

  • It will invoke Browse with dialog. Now select BlackBerry and click on Browse button.

bb

  • It will launch BlackBerry emulator with the web page.

image

NOTE: You can set the BlackBerry emulator as the default browser to view the Web Pages, by clicking on Set as Default in the  Browse with dialog.

29 Comments

  1. Thanx you Roopesh. Nice post but how about visual studio 2005?
    My office still use VS2005. So i can’t upgrade VS2005 to 2008 or 2010 version.
    Need your help..

    Best Regards

    1. Hi anastris,
      BlackBerry plugin is supported only in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. It won’t support VS 2005 nor VS 2010. One alternative is download the simulators from the BlackBerry website.Check the following link for downloading the BlackBerry emulator https://www.blackberry.com/Downloads/browseSoftware.do;jsessionid=6649ECE63ECF9F3FDE9550B95058D55E.node2

      To test ur web app in Blackberry simulator, u need to deploy the site to IIS. Launch BlackBerry simulator and access your web app using the ipaddress of the IIS server (e.g. http://:).
      Finally, if it didn’t work, try to test ur web app in the physical device.
      Hope it helps u…

      1. Thanx a lot roopesh, 😀
        I test my web in Blackberry emulator with this step
        – download one or more of our BlackBerry smartphone simulators found here:
        http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/resources/simulators.jsp

        – download the “BlackBerry Email and MDS Services simulator” and run it. This simulator acts like a connection proxy for the simulators. The MDS simulator download can be found at the bottom of the following page:

        http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/browserdev/devtoolsdownloads.jsp

        Steps are:
        1) Download and install MDS and Device simulators
        2) Run MDS Simulator
        3) Run device simulator
        4) Open browser on the device simulator to your page URL
        ===========
        But when i want to send my data to server, there is an error like this
        “There is insufficient network coverage to process your request.”
        Do you have any idea to solve this problem?

        Best regards,

      2. Hi,
        Did u tried BlackBerry Torch 9800 simulator. If not, try it and get back to me. Old BlackBerry OS simulators has got some problem. Those are fixed with the newer browsers(BB OS 5.0/ 6.0).
        Hope it helps u…

  2. I need help for Mobile Browser support: Is all ASP.NET Server controls will work for all types of browsers/Devices/Desktop?

  3. Thanks for your gr8 response… i need to be implement the menu control by using Jquery UI by using dynamic Data… for this any reference url ., Could you please provide the same..

    Thanks In Advance.

  4. HI ROOPESH ,
    I M NOT ABLE TO GET THE BlackBerry Plugin 2.5 for VS 2008.
    IS THERE ANY WAY TO DOWNLOAD THAT .
    CAN I CONTACT U…?

  5. Hi,
    The link was very useful.Thank u.I have a doubt.Whether only java files can be run on a simulator?Is there any option to run .Net application in simulator?Since im new to this blackberry environment im totally getting confused.

  6. Hi roopesh,
    I have the vb.net application on my system which accesses the DB’s to display the results on its interface. Can that be pushed to the blackberry? how can we do it? Is it possible?

  7. hi roopesh ,
    You can give example for how to develop mobile web application in vs 2010 and .net framework 4.0

  8. HI ROOPESH ,
    I M NOT ABLE TO GET THE BlackBerry Plugin 2.5 for VS 2005. for framework 2.0
    IS THERE ANY WAY TO DOWNLOAD THAT .

  9. Hi rupesh
    i am tanvir i have develop a asp.net web application using visual studio 2010 in desktop and backend is sql server.now i want to run my web application on mobile and tablet.can i run without any changes or we should do something extra for this.
    please reply

    1. Hi Tanvir,
      You may have to add Viewport meta tag! It will adopt to your website to the screen it’s rendering.

      If you wish to have mobile or tablet specific website, then you may have to consider Responsive Web Design using CSS3 Media Queries.

      Hope it helps u…

  10. hi rupesh thanks for yopur valuable advise..its really good and helpfull blog……if i face any problem i will come back again to You thanks a lot…….

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