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How to Create a Blackberry Launcher

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/6/2011

Have you ever wanted to create your own custom Blackberry web Launcher? This tutorial will show you how! Be warned, this tutorial is not for beginners. Is it for you? Read on to find out more.

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    This tutorial is not recommended for those who do not have some sort of interest in programming. A basic HTML knowledge is helpful. We cannot be held responsible if during this process you do something to your Blackberry that causes harm. Please follow this tutorial at your own risk. If you are interested in creating a launcher without risking damage to your phone, you can create your own online at for $3 and just a few clicks of the mouse.

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    Before You Begin

    Before you can start creating custom launchers, you need to be sure you have a few things first. You will need:

    • BlackBerry JDE (we recommend using 4.7, which with appropriate simulators should work for older devices as well)
    • Java JDK
    • BlackBerry Developer Signing Keys ($20 directly from BlackBerry, comes millions of signatures)
    • Image Editing Software of your choice.

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    First, download the BlackBerry Java Developer Environment. It is a Java editor that allows access to the Blackberry API. Before the download starts, you'll be prompted to register for a Java Developer account. You must register in order to download. Enter the account information from your registration, download and install the program.

    Now, open the Blackberry Java Developer Environment. Create a new workspace by going to File > New. If your launcher will entail many different files, it may be wise to create a folder specifically for the workspace.

    Next, you'll want to create a new project in the workspace. This is where having a folder for each launcher you create will come in handy. Type the name of the launcher in both the Project Name and Directory boxes.

    Once you have come this far, create a new file in the project workspace. To do this, click right click on your project folder and choose "Add a new file."

    Here's the coding part. Each launcher will follow the same basic template. Rather than listing the code in this tutorial, we are going to point you to places where you can find the code template.

    After the coding is finished, you need to create a .png graphic for the button on the Blackberry device. You can use whatever image editing program you prefer. Keep the transparency of the file, and create another button to use for highlighting.

    Copy the image files you created back to the launcher folder you created. Now, tell the launcher it needs to use the photos. Click on "Properties" for each graphic file. Choose the focus icon and the static icon (it doesn't really matter which one is which.)

    Set the properties for the project. This includes your name or the name of the company you represent when you create the launcher, and other infomration about the launcher program.

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    Now it's time to build the project. There will be two warnings when you do this because you have not signed the launcher and it will not work on a real device. Test the project on a simulator. It may take the simulator a while to load, and you may have to manually open your project to get it to test.

    Once you like the way everything works, you can go back to the JDE and sign the launcher so that it will work on a phone. The last option on the Build menu is to request signatures. This is what you need to do to sign the launcher. Follow the on screen instructions to sign the launcher.

    When the launcher is signed, you are ready to use the launcher on a device. Create the ".alx" file if you want to install the launcher using the desktop manager.