The Black Art of Blackberry Debugging


I got really close to debugging my application on a real Sprint 8830 device about a year ago. I was scouring the blackberry forums, developer documentation, and everything else black or berry flavored to find the right combination of software mouse clicks and key presses to make this happen. Then I gave up. The closest I got was where the JDE (which I can’t stand using) pretends to “see” my device and my device pretends to hear the JDE by responding with an “attached” message. A flurry of errors/warnings about missing “.debug” files then concerned me while execution whizzes right by any break points set in the JDE. I remember hints of these debug files residing somewhere in the mass sea of the Blackberry developer site but could never track them down. Hi, I’m Cliff. You’re here because you can’t trace that NullPointerException that’s been showing up in random execution paths since the day you launched “Zippy For Mobile”. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone as hundreds, maybe thousands of Blackberry touting engineers have followed the same frustrating steps as both you and I have.

Here’s the solution to your problem. Don’t get excited because it’s completely useless to you. That’s right. You won’t benefit from finally finding the answer because you’ve probably done something very similar to what I did and you’ll be cussing when you see where we’re both at. This is what I know so far. The “.debug” files that you are missing are installed with the simulator. You need the proper version of the simulator that matches EXACTLY the version of your device. Here’s the part where the swear words begin. You probably have a Sprint 8830 with OS version 4.5.0.572bAlpha2 and you’re probably now staring at a browser tab with all the available 8830 Simulators. You probably used Ctrl+F in Firefox (you are a developer so you should be using Firefox as your default browser and you should be smart enough to open another tab to browse without loosing your spot in this page) and Firefox is complaining that it can’t find the text “4.5.0.572bAlpha2” anywhere on the page. That’s right, you are the lucky owner of an OS version that has no matching Simulator! Congratulations! I’d love to tell you to relax, everything is gonna be alright. Alls yuh haff tah do is downgrade your OS. but honestly I don’t know if that’s possible. I’ve never tried a downgrade and there’s a bunch of open questions like this in the Blackberry forums. Right now I’m gonna pick up from where I left off before. (I was stuck on OS 4.2.895 or something like that and have since upgraded to a version that DOES have a matching Simulator.) I’ve found and downloaded what seems like my match. It’s the right version but not labeled Sprint so we’ll see. I’ll post more later if I ever get this to work.

3 thoughts on “The Black Art of Blackberry Debugging

  1. you usually run stuff in the debugger even with out the sim. its pretty limited what you can do, but it will stop where ever the throw is, just keep clicking “don’t ask again” and ok until the top ups go away. also you can mouse over something for values (strings for example)

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