Research In Motion yesterday released new versions of its BlackBerry development tools, including the BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE) Plug-In for Eclipse Beta 2 that's better integrated with the open-source IDE, can perform pre-processing for builds and receives updates through the Eclipse Update Manager. There are also new versions of the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio and BlackBerry MDS Studio, which can stand alone or work through Eclipse.

The BlackBerry Plug-in for Visual Studio allows users of Microsoft's IDE to visually construct applications for BlackBerry devices and RIM's Mobile Data System and application framework. I have seen RIM's drag-and-drop application builder in action, and it is sweet. Version 1.1 now lets your apps integrate with those included with the BlackBerry, and the plug-in works with Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Vista.

If you're using the Plazmic Content Developer's Kit to design BlackBerry themes, custom UIs, icons and wallpaper, you'll be happy to know that version 4.6 is out, with support for the latest BlackBerry Bold and Pearl flip phones. RIM reports that the Plazmic 4.6 CDK also now permits designers to integrate Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) with their customized themes, Web portals, games and other applications.

Earlier in October RIM began publicly beta testing BlackBerry JDE 4.7, its tools for the BlackBerry Storm. The version includes a Storm simulator, touch screen and accelerometer support, screen orientation and rotation capabilities and new APIs for a virtual keyboard and DRM certificate handling.

About the Author

I am Technical Editor of the [url=]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=][/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].