I had the chance recently to read Professional BlackBerry by Craig Johnston and Richard Evers. I must say that it is a very good book that covers the administration and deployment aspects as well as development aspects around the BlackBerry messaging system. This definitely is not a book for BlackBerry end users and you won’t find tips and trick such as scroll wheel shortcuts or how to get Gmail on your BlackBerry, however, if you are a BlackBerry Administrator or a BlackBerry Developer, Professional BlackBerry should be considered a resource that belongs in the tool bag of anyone with either of those job descriptions.

Professional BlackBerry is broken into two sections. The first covers BlackBerry administration and the second section, starting with Chapter 9, coversdevelopment topics. I like the way that the book is divided in two because you can really read each section independently of each other. The first half of the book reads almost like a best practices quick startfor getting a BlackBerry environment set up. It starts off with an architectural overview and moves you through planning, deployment, and administration and even covers upgrading your BlackBerry environment which alone is worth the price of the book if you never upgraded a BES environment and or client software before.

The second half of the book covers in great detail the process of developing for your BlackBerry environment. To be clear, Professional BlackBerry doesnt teach you how to become a developer, but does give you a good understanding of how to use the various tools and methodologiesavailable to develop portals, channels, or even Java based applications for the BlackBerry. The companion website for this section of the book is quite good as well.

All in all, Professional BlackBerry is a very good book for BlackBerry administrators and BlackBerry developersand is well worth the $26 or so dollars that it will set you back. As I said earlier in the review, the chapters on upgrading BES and the handheld devices themselves is well worth the entire price of the book.