RIM launches BlackBerry WebWorks

While RIM's big news yesterday was the PlayBook tablet, a more concrete announcement for developers was the launch of the BlackBerry WebWorks project.

Announced shortly after the show-stealing PlayBook preview at the company's DevCon conference, WebWorks is a web-based developer platform designed to make it easy to create integrated web applications for BlackBerry devices.

Integrating existing web development releases along with a new suite of tools, WebWorks aims to make it easy for developers to create HTML5-based applications that will play nicely with RIM's products - and hopefully capture interest better than the company's existing Java-based development platform.

The main selling point for developers is deep integration with the core services at the heart of a BlackBerry device: true multitasking, push data technology, and access to the GPS or network-driven Locate service.

During the announcement, chief technology officer for software David Yach explained: "The new BlackBerry WebWorks platform takes the power of existing web tools and enhances and adds to them in order to allow developers to build sophisticated applications using their existing HTML5 skill sets with no compromise in functionality or performance."

As a final sweetener to tempt developers away from the Android or iOS ecosystems, RIM has stated that it will be sharing the source code for the BlackBerry web platform with the open-source community. Announcing the move, senior vice president of the BlackBerry Platform Alan Brenner said: "We are tremendously excited to see where the developer community will take this initiative and the code that we are presenting."

True to its word, the company has already opened a github repository for its BlackBerry WebWorks project. Now it just has to see if the developers bite...