November 28, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Smartphones are smart because they are more than just phones, but let us not forget that they are indeed phones. You can use them to make calls. If you are the type of person who makes a lot of calls to a certain group of contacts or you just want to dial with swag, we have a solution for you.
XDA Forum Member FanKryations offers gesture-based dialer. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Draw2Dial. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.
November 27, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
We’ve covered How to Build an Android App in the past. We’ve showed you how to install Eclipse and Android SDK and how to write a root app. We even showed you how to develop with Arduino and the Google ADK. There is a lot of thought that needs to go into building an Android app. Building an Android App is not hard, but it is certainly not easy.
In this video, XDA Senior Recognized Developer AdamOutler shows an example of some of the things you can do with some code. AdamOutler makes an app that allows him to launch web pages from Google Now. He talks code, explains what things are and shows you how it works. So if you’ve ever wanted to build an Android App, check this video out.
Brilliant ideas are funny things. Sometimes they refuse to come for weeks on end. Other times, however, they come at you like a flood. Naturally when you’re coding, you don’t have time to add in every brilliant idea all at once. In these instances, it’s customary to add a todo section of commented out code stating what you intend to do once you have the time.
Adding commented out todo code is useful because it helps keep your ideas sorted and in context. However, not every IDE is able to automatically parse out the todo fields from your commented code. Thankfully, XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler saw this as an opportunity to create a script that generates an automated webpage that stores the parsed todo fields from your code for easy access. Entries are entirely searchable, and clicking on each item takes you to the specific line of code that is referenced. And for fun, Adam has themed the page to look like Google Now’s cards interface.
So what’s the final product? A live todo webpage that looks something like this. In addition to demonstrating with his own code as an example, Adam also shares the script and instructions required to set this up for your code as well.
Make your way over to the original thread to easily parse out your todo code.
Adding animations in an application does more than simply elevate the level of visual flourish. Animations also help tell your users what’s going on. Further, they help give your application that last little bit of polish by making the whole experience feel smother and more intuitive. When used tastefully, most applications benefit from their use.
Not too long ago, we covered a guide by XDA Forum Member a-ssassi-n aimed at helping developers incorporate various animations into their apps. At the time, a-ssassi-n had included four animations into the tutorial: blink, fade-in, fade-out, and cross-fade.
While the previous selection allowed developers to get started with incorporating animations into their apps, having more options is preferable. As such, a-ssassi-n also stated that he planned to extend his tutorial to include other animations in the future. This is now the case, as A-ssassi-n has now extended his guide to include two new animations: zoom-in and zoom-out.
Make your way over to the original thread to learn how to incorporate zoom-in and zoom-out effects into your app.
November 9, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re creating certain types of apps in Java that are geared towards Windows users, you may run into some difficulty accessing and making changes to the Windows registry from within your app. Unlike .Net, which has provisions specifically to allow this, Java doesn’t inherently support this type of operation. This is initially what XDA Senior Member Beatsleigher discovered when porting one of his existing applications to Java, but thankfully it didn’t stop him.
When faced with the challenge of porting over one of his applications to Java, he initially found difficulty in accessing the registry. After doing research into what is needed and taking bits of code from various sources, he went ahead and created a Java Class Library intended to bring this functionality to any Java app developer easily. The library lets you view and modify the Windows registry from within your application, without manually finding and modifying the registry files directly.
If you’re a Java app developer and you wish to modify the Windows registry, Beatsleigher’s library may be a real time saver. To learn more, make your way over to the library thread.
Transition animations are the spice of life. Ok, well maybe not life itself, but they certainly can help make a mundane task just a little more exciting. After all, it’s no secret that most of us like a little bit of eye candy. And like the Mac OS X genie effect in this article’s title image, animations help tell a story. They better frame what’s happening in your app, and show this in a context that we can more intuitively understand.
Because of this, it’s important to judiciously make use of animations when developing an app. No, we’re not advocating for 1990s-style marquee text, but a little animation here and there can help add that last bit of polish to your application in progress.
As such, XDA Forum Member a-ssassi-n created a quick guide that shows you how to add a few animations to your application. So far, a-sassi-n has included four animations in his tutorial: blink, fade-in, fade-out, and cross-fade. A-sassi-n has also stated plans to add more effects in subsequent posts.
To start spicing up your application, visit the tutorial thread!
For the vast majority of situations, preexisting keyboard layouts are more than adequate. After all, most input fields in most apps require the input of letters or numbers, and pretty much all aftermarket keyboard solutions have adequate layouts for both situations. However, if you’re authoring an app that requires a more purpose-built keyboard, the standard layouts may no longer suffice.
XDA Senior Member SimplicityApks recently created a math analysis tool called FunctionCapture. In creating his app, he quickly found that requiring users to use the default keyboard layouts would prove too cumbersome. Instead, he decided to create his own keyboard layout, tailored for the functions required by his app.
After learning how to create a custom layout, SimplicityApks then shared the instructions in an easily comprehensible manner. Much of the guide is based on a previously created tutorial by developer Maarten Pennings, which the OP has then expanded to include why you perform each of the steps. And to make the overall look match the theme of your app, SimplicityApks has also included a guide (second post) on how to theme your newly created keyboard, so that it matches the overall look and feel of your app.
If you are designing an app that requires non-standard user input, you may want to look into using a custom soft keyboard layout. To learn how to implement this in your own app, head over to the tutorial thread.
October 7, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Some time ago, we took a look at a simple, open source application for Windows 8 by XDA Senior Member Beatsleigher that returned CPU information on demand. Telling you all sorts of parameters, the application was useful for all of us looking to learn a little more about the architecture used in our desktop-class processors.
Since then, Beatsleigher has received many requests to port the application to C++ or C# in order to allow other developers to create an app similar to the admittedly awesome CPU-Z. Rather than simply porting the app, Beatsleigher instead created a .Net library that has most of the functionality of DetectCPU, and then some.
SysLib was created using Visual Basic .Net, and it can be used in any .Net application. This includes apps coded with Visual Basic .Net, C#, and Visual C++. Currently, it features three classes: CPU, motherboard, and battery.
Using the library is simple. First off, you need to have .Net 2.0 or higher and use the framework in your app. To get started, add the DLL as a reference to your program. Then, import the library to your app’s classes. Finally, add the class as a variable.
If you’re an app developer looking to read CPU, motherboard, and battery data, SysLib has the potential to make itself quite useful. Head over to the original thread to get started. And if you’d like to take a look at the source code, Beatsleigher has it available over on his Github.
October 2, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In the past, XDA Developer TV has made videos showing you how to build an Android App. We even made videos showing you how to build a Windows Phone app, back when Windows Phone was new and had a chance. At our first Developer conference Ubuntu Staff Member Michael Hall gave a presentation on Ubuntu Touch.
On October 17th, Ubuntu Touch will reach version 1.0. This is a big deal. Given the interest in the new mobile operating system XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan has started a series showing you how to build an Ubuntu Touch app. Jordan has already created a video on how to set up the Ubuntu SDK on your computer, but today he shows you how to start working with an application for Ubuntu Touch. Check out this video.
October 1, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The number one issue most people have with their smartphone is battery life—unless of course, it’s the Motorola Droid Maxx or the LG G2. There are many tricks people have to help extend their battery’s life: dim the screen all the way and squinting to read the screen, turning off WiFi when they aren’t at home and forgetting to turn it back on and using all their allotted data, or some other Voodoo trick. However, there may be something impacting their battery life that they don’t know about: wakelocks.
In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin talks about Wakelocks. He gives a basic overview of what wakelocks are. Kevin then talks about a few apps that can help with solving this puzzle. These apps have been review by TK in the past: Wakelock Detector and Greenify. So if you want to learn more about wakelocks and how to deal with them, check out this video.
Many of our readers out there have the desire to become developers. Many have an idea for an app, but they never actually get around to doing anything. This could be called procrastination. This could be called the new Grand Theft Auto V video game. This could be the final episode of Breaking Bad. Whatever you call it, it is bad.
In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce talks about this curse and preventor of productivity. Jayce talks about this problem, defines it, and gives it a name. Jayce then gives some ideas on how to overcome this hurdle and what you can do to become successful. Check out this video to learn more.
September 28, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Becoming a developer is the dream of many. Unfortunately, it remains the dream of most people because they don’t quite know how to begin. Over the last months, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce has given a lot of information about what developers do, how they became developers, and how to learn to become a developer. With all that information being presented, there are bound to be questions.
In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce talks about the most asked questions about becoming a developer. Jayce digs deep into his email box and finds the top questions he gets repeatedly. Jayce talks about the questions and gives some answers and advice for those wondering. Check out this video to learn more.
If you’re a developer who writes mobile apps for a living, chances are that you’ve at least experimented with mobile ads in the past. Far more true than on other competing platforms, the Android app developer ecosystem is essentially driven by in-app advertisements rather than upfront payments.
This is a topic we broached some time ago, when we presented a thread with various developers’ experiences with different monetization strategies. Long story short: Ads and in-app purchases seem to be far more powerful tools in your monetization arsenal than upfront paid apps.
This should all come as no surprise for a variety of reasons. One of the main driving forces for this primarily ad-based monetization is that most Android users have come to expect free functionality thanks to Google’s extremely comprehensive ad-supported services. Starting with class leading search, the company has continued to offer some of the best solutions for maps, email, calendar hosting, translation, note keeping, and much more. Most of the company’s services are offered for free to end users, at the expense of mobile ads. So when your core operating system’s provider has built an empire based on “free,” why would you want to part ways with your hard earned cash for some cell phone fart app that you probably won’t use in a month?
While ads may seem like a sort of saving grace to developers in the face of a community that refuses to pay for apps and services, ad-based monetization isn’t always a perfect solution. We’ve talked about some of the problems when ad providers go too far, and the impact this has on the applications’ users. Aggressive advertising that breaks an end user’s trust is unethical. And aside from the questionable ethics, it’s simply not sustainable as a means of monetization. This is because users will simply lose trust for a developer that uses these types of ad networks.
However, the problem with certain implementations of ad-based monetization goes beyond simply shady ad networks. Certain applications, perhaps even ones that you’ve tried and promptly uninstalled, place annoying and intrusive advertisements in your notification bar or ad-based shortcuts on your home screen. This is simply unacceptable from an end-user perspective. Thankfully, Google is now putting an end to these practices.
According to VentureBeat, Google has made two very important changes to the Google Play Developer Program Policies. Thanks to the changes, applications can no longer place advertisements in the notification bar, and they can no longer create ad-based shortcuts on your launcher. Developers with offending applications now have 30 days to update their apps. Beyond that time, applications found to be in violation will likely be removed from the Play Store.
If you’re a developer who currently uses these types of advertisements, your initial reaction may be one of anger towards the new policy change. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for you—even if you have to rethink your monetization strategies. In fact, we think it’s more than likely a win-win scenario for both end users and developers. End users feel more confident in your applications, and application developers likely acquire more users.
Are you a developer who relies on ad-based monetization? Are you an end user who has experienced these aggressive advertisements in the past? Let us know what you think of these policy changes in the comments section below!
[Thanks to XDA News Writer Samantha for the tip!]