BlackBerry Platform Guide

This guide shows you how to set up an SDK environment to target applications for the BlackBerry platform prior to version 10. If you want to target the most recent version, see the BlackBerry 10 Platform Guide. See the following for more detailed platform-specific information:

The command-line tools above refer to versions prior to Cordova 3.0. See The Command-Line Interface for information about the current interface.

Requirements and Support

This version of BlackBerry is not supported by the cordova utility described in The Command-Line Interface, but by a separate set of command-line tools. Download the Cordova distribution from

Cordova for BlackBerry relies on the BlackBerry WebWorks framework, which is available for Windows XP (32-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), and Mac (OS X 10.6.4+). WebWorks applications can only be deployed on the following BlackBerry platforms:

  • BlackBerry OS 5.0 and higher
  • BlackBerry PlayBook
  • BlackBerry 10 (QNX)

WebWorks requires the Java Development Kit (JDK). For Windows, use the 32-bit version of Oracle JDK. Java in installed by default on Mac OS X up to version 10.7, which requires a separate installation. It also requires Apache Ant, which on Mac is part of the Java installation. The Windows version is available from

Install the SDK

Download and install the appropriate WebWorks SDK for your development. BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry Smartphone WebWorks SDKs can be downloaded from the following locations.

  • [BlackBerry PlayBook SDK] ( and Adobe Air SDK

  • [BlackBerry Smartphones SDK] (

Register for Signing Keys

If you wish to publish your application on BlackBerry App World, or on an actual device, you’ll need to register for a set of free Code Signing Keys. To do so, complete the BlackBerry Keys Order Form. Once you receive your Signing Keys, they require setup. See the BlackBerry HTML5/WebWorks website for information.

Install Cordova

Download and extract the latest copy of Cordova.

Set up a New Project

  • Open up a command-line terminal and navigate to where you extracted Cordova.

  • There is a directory for each platform that Cordova supports. Navigate to the blackberry directory.

  • The blackberry directory contains several subdirectories. The example directory contains a complete Cordova project. Copy the example directory to another location on your computer, and navigate there.

  • Edit the file to specify the WebWorks SDK you are using. For example, here are the respective settings for BlackBerry PlayBook, BlackBerry Smartphone (OS5-7), or BlackBerry 10 (QNX):

      playbook.bbwp.dir=C:\\Program Files\\Research In Motion\\BlackBerry WebWorks SDK for TabletOS\\bbwp
      blackberry.bbwp.dir=C:\\Program Files\\Research In Motion\\BlackBerry WebWorks Packager
      qnx.bbwp.dir=C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Research In Motion\\BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK

These correspond to parameters you specify when building your project. The first time you run these commands, they generate a "HelloWorld" application:

    cordova/build playbook
    cordova/build blackberry
    cordova/build qnx

Along with the SDK, you also need to register for a code signing key and debug token. The signing key allows you to distribute apps through BlackBerry World. The debug token allows you to test unsigned apps on a BlackBerry emulator or device. You do not need to create and install the debug token yourself; if you supply the keystore password, the build script creates and installs the debug token for you. To set up the signing key, go to the BlackBerry website to obtain it, making sure to retain the password you specify. Then run the blackberry-signer utility that is included with the SDK. BlackBerry provides more information here:

Deploy to Emulator

BlackBerry smartphone emulators are only available on Windows. BlackBerry PlayBook emulators require VMWare Player (Windows) or VMWare Fusion (Mac OS X). The WebWorks SDK provides a default emulator, but additional emulators are available through BlackBerry.

From your project directory, type ./cordova/run <target>, replacing <target> with either qnx, playbook, or blackberry. Note that for BlackBerry 10 and PlayBook, the emulator virtual image must already be started.

See the following for more information:

For BlackBerry Playbook, edit the file to customize the playbook.sim.ip and playbook.sim.password properties. The emulator's IP address is available through the Settings application on the home screen. Enable the Security and Privacy → Development Mode option to display the address. The password can also be set in the Security and Privacy tab.

For BlackBerry Smartphone, edit the file to customize the blackberry.sim.dir and blackberry.sim.bin properties. You need to escape path delimiters when specifying directory paths on Windows, for example: C:\\Program Files\\BlackBerry\\Simulator.

Once the emulator is installed and running, run either of the following to install an application to the home screen:

    cordova/run playbook
    cordova/run blackberry

If you are prompted whether a device is connected to your computer, answer no.

NOTE: On BlackBerry OS 5, the application is installed in the Downloads directory.

Deploy to Device

To deploy the app to a device, it must be connected, and you must be registered for code signing keys as described above. Also, to deploy apps on BlackBerry PlayBook, the Settings → Security → Development Mode option must be enabled.

On BlackBerry PlayBook, edit the file and modify the following to reflect the device's IP and password as descibed above, along with the signing key password you set up:

From your project directory, type ./cordova/run <target>, replacing <target> with either qnx, playbook, or blackberry.

On BlackBerry Smartphone (OS5-7), specify the blackberry.sigtool.password property as the signing key password.

Then from the project's directory, run either of the commands you would to view the app in an emulator:

    cordova/run playbook
    cordova/run blackberry

If you are prompted whether a device is connected to your computer, answer yes.

NOTE: On BlackBerry OS 5, the application is installed in the Downloads directory.

Additional Information

The following articles may help resolve common problems when developing applications built for the BlackBerry WebWorks framework: