August 24, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
In the past few years, design has become one of the top priorities in the software development cycle. Whether its intuitive layouts or appealing interfaces, users expect more from applications than just basic functions. Delightful animations, meaningful icons, harmonious color schemes–all these subtle factors enhance the overall experience the application provides, and in turn, keep the users satisfied and loyal. This importance of design has carried over to Android too, and good design is now one of the deciding factors that separates an app from the competition
In the spirit of making application design easier for developers, XDA Junior Member alexander.developer has released StyleSplash. Android apps are styled using an XML file, which stores design attributes and can be accessed by any layout file throughout the project. StyleSplash allows you to create this XML file (usually titled styles.xml) on your Android device by defining attributes, creating XML gradients, adding color swatches and shows you a dynamic preview simultaneously, allowing you to design your app on the go without needing access to your IDE.
Head over to the StyleSplash application thread to get started with creating your own application styles and subsequently, creating delightful application experiences.
Developing an application is a hard and often times ungratifying task. It also requires quite a lot of time and even more focus. No matter how good the application is, it will always contain some bugs that need to be squashed sooner or later. Developers can’t detect all the bugs on their own, so they are forced rely on user support requests. The majority of users don’t send crash reports though, so it’s really hard for developers to track down what’s wrong with their applications.
Luckily, there are some solutions that make a developer’s life a bit easier. One of them is a tool written by XDA Forum Member crashlog. The Crash Report SDK will send debug data using one of available network connections. This SDK can be added to the application source and initialized by adding proper code triggers. Submitted reports are available at the crashlog’s website, giving developers access to proper debug data. It’s a quick and relatively easy way of getting information required to fix your app’s remaining bugs.
Before adding this library to your project, it’s strongly recommended that you let your users know about this SDK. Apps that are built using this SDK require Internet access in order to work properly, and that’s might be something that many people may find suspicious. Better be safe than sorry.
Don’t wait; use this SDK in your projects if you’re trying to get better bug reports. You can find the required information and relevant code in the Crash Report SDK for Android developers Library thread.
August 20, 2014 By: jerdog
Intel, largely known for their long-standing reputation as the king of processors powering PCs and Macs, has lately been moving into the mobile market. With a number of devices already sporting Intel chips, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 being one of the more recognizable offerings, Intel hopes to make a splash in Android. It’s not as easy as it would seem, seeing as Android was developed natively for ARM processors, though Android does have x86 support. Any serious attempt from Intel to take a piece of the Android device pie will require developers to actually care about developing applications with Intel architecture support–and that has been difficult to come by. Until now.
Today Intel and Unity are announcing that they are collaborating to help bring Android applications, and those familiar with Unity’s development platform, to Intel architecture natively. For those unfamiliar with Unity, it is a high-performance development platform capable of bringing 2D and 3D environments to life on multiple platforms. This added support includes all of Intel’s current (Intel® Core™ and Atom™) and future processors. Says Intel’s corporate vice president Doug Fisher:
“We’ve set a goal to ship 40 million Intel-based tablets this year and expect more than 100 Android tablet designs on Intel in the market by the end of this year,” said Doug Fisher, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group. “Our collaboration with Unity will give its nearly 3 million developers the necessary software tools and support to build amazing Android experiences on Intel architecture.”
We look forward to seeing what our talented app developers on XDA are able to create using the power of Intel and Unity together. You can read more about the announcement here, or visit Intel’s Developer Zone.
August 11, 2014 By: jerdog
With Round 1 of the Pebble Developer Challenge recently closing, they have now been contacted. We had quite the array of entrants, and after almost 100 entries the judges were able to narrow it down to the following 20 winners. We have listed them (in no particular order) along with a brief description of their winning entry:
A few weeks ago we told you about XDA partnering with Pebble for a developer challenge, and the response was amazing. We had almost 100 entrants with many different ideas and the judging on the part of Pebble and XDA was very difficult. That being said, we were able to pick 20 Round 1 winners and they are in the process of being contacted so that Pebble can send them their devices. If you were someone who entered, please check your XDA PM Inbox for a notification. As soon as they are all contacted we’ll announce them and then they will be creating their projects in the Pebble forum.
The next steps in the challenge are as follows:
Round 2 (August 15 – September 12, 2014):
Grand prize and Popular Choice award winners will be announced on September 12th, 2014.
August 8, 2014 By: Faiz Malkani
For some time, Google has placed a relatively heavy emphasis on design. This trend is resoundingly obvious in their minimalist homepage, as well as in the recently updated Android L Developer Preview. Design trends and guidelines, however, do not remain stagnant, but rather evolve and change every few years or so. New components, foundations, patterns and, even languages are constantly being released. And in keeping with the trend of change, Google does its fair share of design innovation. Although this became even more evident with the introduction of Material Design, various Google UI patterns have been emerging and establishing themselves.
One such pattern is the date and time picker introduced in Google Keep and later carried over other apps such as Google Now. This picker, in order to simplify the user experience, replaces times and dates with more natural terms such as “in one hour” or “tomorrow.” However, unlike the Google I/O app which is open sourced every year, Google Keep is closed source. How then, does one go about including this picker in one’s own app? Worry not, for XDA Senior Member SimplicityApks has the solution in the form of the ReminderDatePicker library. Besides being relatively easy to implement, the library manages to replicate the Google Keep experience perfectly. And since it’s open source under the Apache license, you are free to include this in your app in progress.
Head over to the ReminderDatePicker library thread to get started with implementing it in your own app, or if you want to go through the source code.
As you may already be aware, rumor has it that Google is planning to redefine the overall UI look and feel in Android. Not too long ago, we talked about Quantum Paper, the rumored unified UI that may define Google products across all platforms. These changes may be unveiled very soon, as Google is gearing up for its I/O event next week.
If you are eager to achieve a similar effect to this rumored UI paradigm in your application, there are ways to make your own apps more Quantum Paper-like. In order to show developers how to easily achieve this, XDA Senior Member krishneelg3 outlined the process. The tools that you need, in addition to basic coding knowledge, are an Android IDE like Eclipse or Android Studio and a good image editor to edit the graphics.
Krishneelg3 explains all this in detail, with regards to what needs to be changed to apply this new UI. The developer was also kind enough to provide a package with resources, which will help you out in smooth transition into a Quantum Paper-like UI. To complete the process, some changes in various XML files are needed, but everything is served on a metaphorical silver platter.
If you are an app developer and want to change the look of your projects to be up-to-date with the newest Android UI concepts, head over to the guide thread to learn more about Quantum Paper transformation.
June 13, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Android Studio was first unveiled at last year’s Google I/O conference. For the unaware, this IDE was created to streamline Android app development by bringing several key improvements over existing Eclipse-based solutions such as live code rendering across multiple layouts and much more. Ever since then, the app has received quite a few, rather significant updates. And now, it has received yet another significant addition.
Just under a week ago, we talked about two updates to Android Studio, which brought several highly requested features such as improved console messages during builds. Now, version 0.6.1 has been released, and it brings much more than you’d expect from an x.x.1 revisions.
The first thing you’ll likely notice with this new version is a revamped New Project Wizard, which can be seen in the screenshot to your right. In the New Project Wizard, you’ll also see a new minSdkVersion dialog, which helps you choose which API level you should target. This dialog displays API level, Android version number and name, cumulative distribution, and various key APIs present. In addition to the new features, this build also brings a few new lint checks, as well as many bugfixes.
You can learn more by heading over to the Android Studio 0.6.1 release notes. Then when you’re done, head over to ourapp development forums to share your development experiences with Android Studio and other development tools. Also, be sure to check out all of our past Android Studio coverage to learn more about its history and to find compatible tools and guides.
Many Android developers make their livings with in-app advertisements. We know that as users, ads can be annoying, but in many cases, these are what pay the bills. Naturally, though, many end users then turn to ad blockers to bypass these ads.
If you are an app developer, you know that fighting with Ad Blockers is often a losing battle. Luckily, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for such developers. XDA Forum Member Droidspirit released an open source library that allows devs to show banners for your own products, or the products of your partners. And when Internet connectivity is not available, this library still shows banners stored within the application.
Naturally, many end users may find this library to be totally unnecessary. However, you need to understand that many developers who create apps for free still need revenue as compensation for their coding time and education. But of course, it’s up to developers to use this judiciously (i.e. no full-screen banners).
Developers who wish to add more permanent ads into their applications can visit the original thread to learn more about the Android Alliance Ads project.
The world was first introduced to Android Studio back in May of last year at Google I/O 2013. Based on Jetbrains IntelliJ, the Android Studio IDE was created to streamline the process of developing Android applications by offering features such as live code rendering across multiple device types, as well as the ability to easily add any Android API into your code immediately.
Since its release, we’ve seen Android Studio mature into a genuinely useful tool for app developers. The last time we talked about it was back in August of last year with its update to version 0.2.4. This version ushered in various improvements such as the ability to jump between a layout and its associated code, as well as the ability to create missing onClick handlers. Android Studio has received quite a few updates since then, and as such, it is now at version 0.6.0.
Android Studio 0.6.0, which was just released yesterday evening, is primarily a bugfix release. However, version 0.5.9, which was released just under one week ago, brought with it many significant improvements. Chief among the improvements are ProGuard editor code syntax completion and highlighting, a tweaked project structure editor, improved console messages during builds, and a new Gradle lint check.
You can learn more about all of Android Studio’s recently incorporated features and bugfixes by viewing the release notes for 0.6.0 and 0.5.9. Don’t forget to head over to our app development forums to share your tips and tricks and ask for support with Android Studio and any other development tools. Also, be sure to check out all of our past Android Studio coverage to learn more about its history and to find compatible tools and guides.
June 7, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Mobile devices have become replacements for full sized PCs in a variety of circumstances. Small and easily accessible, our phones are perfect companions for our daily activities. However, mobile network connections aren’t always affordable, and often times, data transfer quotas prove problematic. Because of this, RSS is quite popular on mobile devices.
If you were to try to create a good RSS reader app from scratch, you’d likely find that this is a difficult task. However, XDA Forum Member shirwa decided to make things a bit easier by providing a small, but useful library to bring RSS into your app.
This RSS library lists all the feeds from your selected sources without any images to keep things nice and clean, as well as data plan friendly. Naturally, the Library is open source, so you can use bits and pieces or the whole thing in your app. There’s even a demo app to show you how the library works and give you an example of how to integrate it into your app.
May 31, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We first featured XDA Senior Member Beatsleigher‘s JDroidLib back in December of last year, as a Java-based alternative to the C# library AndroidLib. At the time, the JDroidLib library allowed developers to install ADB and fastboot on supported platforms. Then in March of this year, JDroidLib was given a substantial overhaul as it entered its beta stage. This update brought new features such as a revamped installation procedure to fix errors, device detection, the ability to pull device information, reboot methods, and the ability to execute any type of command.
Now, JDroidLib is officially out of beta. And just like the previous two updates described above, it has gained some key new functionality to make it more useful than ever. The main features in this release version are a new package manager to allow for easier application management, as well as additional methods of executing ADB commands to make the process more flexible. The library can now also be used to manage a device’s file system. In addition to the new features, this version also brings a few fixes to bugs that previously caused crashing on some Windows systems.
If you’re a PC app developer looking for an easy way for your app to communicate with Android, head over to the development thread and give JDroidLib a shot. And to learn how to use all the new features, head over to the project’s documentation website.
Here at XDA-Developers, we are developers at heart—it says so in our name. Because of this, we love tweaking our phones and creating widgets, themes, kernels, hacks, exploits, and more for our mobile devices. We also love apps. The journey to app development is a long, but enjoyable trek. So if you’ve ever wanted to start app development, there are resources for you.
XDA Forum Member Rheti offers up an application that allows you to start developing an app of your own. In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Rehti. TK shows off the application and gives his thoughts, so check out this app review.