I've been awfully quiet the last couple of weeks, locked away tracking down the options and testing out some theories on using iControl with the Blackberry.

I'm now to the point where I'm willing to talk about what I found and how I've settled on it, not yet to the point where it's anywhere near a complete deliverable.

The goal was simple - give a management interface to admins through their Blackberry. The problem is that Blackberry has seriously muddied the water about Java development for enterprise-class products. Just a few of the issues - their "enterprise class" solution (MDS) is to put a web server between the user and their application that proxies requests from the Blackberry and serves up responses. That would be fine if you had the time and inclination to configure a separate webserver. We felt that was too much to ask - easy enough in my test environment, not a viable option in most enterprises.

So after toying with that option we played with the Blackberry JDE and the Sun JDE. The Blackberry JDE was short some functionality, and the Sun JDE can't generate .COD files. So I could get both to work partially, but neither to do the job.

Then I took a look at kSOAP2 - a project that offers lightweight SOAP support for Java - aimed at MIDP-based devices. I had played with kSOAP, and it wasn't very good - poorly documented and error prone. kSOAP2 is better, though it's still tough to play with, at least most of its issues are documentation.

At this point the "System Information" page is completed, and the network statistics page is well on its way. The final configuration of the development environment includes the following class libraries:

And the new library that I'm building as I develop the pages. The new library is BigIP specific and will be available when it's completed - though it will require kSOAP, which requires the other k* libraries listed above.

It's bigger than I'd like - about 87.5K  and growing - but still reasonable on the Blackberry.

The only oddity I haven't been able to resolve yet is that the kSOAP class that handles http basic authorization returns with just the auth cookie on the first call, and the library doesn't handle it correctly. Not a big deal, it just appears to fail, and you catch the error and resubmit, but it is a bit clunky.

There you have it. I've created a thread on the forums to discuss the project in case anyone is interested. Go there

Here's a picture of the System Information page from our test BigIP
BigIP Sytem Information Window

Yeah, I'm having fun, isn't that what work is for?


Reading: The Blitzkrieg Myth, John Mosier
Imbibing: Water and coffee