Blackberry Simulator

Blackberry Simulator

Is the Blackberry Simulator a Time Burglar?

Go to the profile of  Jonathan Banks
Jonathan Banks
2 min read

Blackberry has done an excellent job designing the Blackberry simulators that come with the Eclipse plugin. Testing and debugging is really a breeze once the simulator is running. The only problem I have with the tools that Blackberry supplies is the length of time it takes for the simulator to start. I'm not running the tools on a slow machine either - My setup is a new Mac Mini - 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - with upgraded 7200RPM hard drive and 4GB of RAM, running Windows 7 64-bit in the Bootcamp partition. Although I have VMWare fusion on Leopard, I still boot directly into Windows 7 since Fusion seems to run Win7 pretty slow.  

I timed the startup of the simulator and it takes a full 35 seconds to boot the device to the home screen while it takes 55 seconds with the debugger attached. Unfortunately, you cannot load changes to the code dynamically into the simulator - at least I haven't been able to find a way to do this. So you know what this means - every time you want to test your code you have to wait 35-55 seconds for the simulator to start then locate your program in the device and click it to run.  

To make matters worse, the close button on the simulator doesn't function and you cannot easily start a new simulator when one is running. The only solution is to keep the Windows task manager open at all times and use it to shut the simulator down. I did some investigation when I first started programming for Blackberry and haven't found a solution for this issue anywhere.

It may seem that I'm complaining about something minor but when you stop and think about the time waste of sitting and waiting for the simulator to start over the course of developing an app, those chunks of 35-55 seconds really start to add up. While programming it's common for me to run the simulator 5-10 times an hour. Staying on the conservative side, lets say 5 times an hour - 5 x 35 /60 means you're wasting almost 3 minutes each hour sitting and waiting for the simulator to start. Multiply this x 10 hrs of work each day means 30 minutes of your time is wasted each day doing nothing - just twiddling your thumbs waiting for the simulator.  

Given these estimates, I'd say that on the last application I wrote a full day(24 hours) was wasted waiting for the simulator and that's not even counting the extra time it takes for the debugger to start! The only thing you can do to speed up startup each time is to escape the Setup Wizard when you first run the simulator of choice, or for every simulator you use. This will prevent the Wizard from running saving you a few seconds. Unfortunately, my timing of startup includes this "optimization" so don't expect anything faster.

Threading on Blackberry Devices
6 min read
Blackberry Code Signing
6 min read
User Defined Buttons on Blackberry
6 min read
Create a Custom Listfield
6 min read
Blackberry User Interface Design
4 min read
Blackberry Icons
5 min read
Blackberry Custom Control
3 min read
Blackberry Design Guidelines
11 min read