Although you may be tempted to start coding in your favorite text editor, we recommend that you start with an IDE like Eclipse. Learn how to get started with Eclipse by watching this screencast. Blackboard also offers a plugin for Eclipse which makes developing your first Building Block easy.
As you progress with your development tasks, you may find yourself wanting to ask advice of fellow developers. If you have an account for this site, you can post your question to the eduGarage forums. Additionally, the developers listserv is quite active and has helpful searchable archives.
Once you get good at the basics, you'll quickly learn that building your project and manually installing it can become a time-consuming process. To address this, Blackboard provides a developer tool called the Starter Block that automates building and deploying your Building Block to your Blackboard development server.
As you progress into more advanced programming, you may want to connect directly to the Tomcat instance that runs Blackboard to pause your code while it's running or see what causes an error in real-time. To do so requires turning debugging on.
Blackboard provides a tool to provide general guidance on the compatibility of your Building Block with a given version of Blackboard. Find out more about it.
Please be aware that Blackboard provides sample code for many popular types of Building Blocks projects.
The Code Quality Initiative is where we will post tips a tricks to maintaining code quality.