Visual Studio meets Blackberry

RIM announces Visual Studio development tools at its Wireless Enterprise Symposium

BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) is finally bringing its MDS Studio rapid application development environment to Microsoft .NET developers.

Its new MVS Visual Studio plug-in will make it easier for Windows application developers to deliver data from .NET server applications to BlackBerry devices from the same development environment where they're building existing line of business applications.

RIM isn't delivering a .NET solution for Blackberries, though the toolkit does include some server side components that can be used to push data from .NET applications to BlackBerry using the standard encrypted MDS (Mobile Data System) connection.

Like the current MDS Studio, MVS applications are a mix of JavaScript and XML. Developers use the MDS plug-in to lay out BlackBerry screens in the Visual Studio environment, adding control properties and JavaScript business logic to link applications to .NET and other web services. RIM has also used the MVS plug-in to add improved JavaScript IntelliSense to Visual Studio.

There are currently around eight million BlackBerry users - and a similar number of .NET developers. RIM's MVS tools are intended to bring give Visual Studio development teams the tools they need to deliver applications to BlackBerry as well as to the web and the desktop, without having to learn new skills.

MVS applications require a BlackBerry Enterprise Server to run, and can be managed and deployed using standard RIM's existing system management tools.

The MDS Visual Studio plug-in is currently in closed beta, but a public release will be available "later this year and soon" from http://www.blackberry.com/go/mvs.

Developers will need at least the Standard version of Visual Studio as the free Express versions don't support plug-ins.

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