April 27, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, we talked about Floating Calculator. And then just earlier today, we briefly covered Floating Mail. You may be wondering what ties these two apps together. Aside from the fact that both of these apps can be launched on top of your currently running app, they were both created using the Tooleap SDK by XDA Forum Member Tooleap.
The Tooleap SDK allows developers to easily create floating applications, and in doing so, make their app accessible everywhere on the device. This is done through the use of an ever present, chatheads-like floating bubble that can be repositioned. Clicking this bubble then launches a certain activity in your app from within a floating window. What makes Tooleap special is its easy integration with your current code, as you can use the SDK to incorporate any standard Android activity. And to make your application and its floating bubble more relevant, you can make it only show up contextually (e.g. when in a certain app or after receiving a notification).
If you’ve been looking to create a floating app or incorporate floating window functionality into your existing app, head over to the original thread and give the free Tooleap SDK a try. It’s currently in private beta, but the thread details the process of getting started yourself. Then when you create the next insanely useful floating app, be sure to let us know so we can highlight it right here on the XDA Portal!
April 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
One of the highlights of the HTC One M8 is its new dual lens camera system. Termed “Duo Camera,” this innovative system allows the device to capture depth data in addition to standard imaging data. The Duo Camera System then maps this captured distance information to each pixel taken by the main camera in order to achieve various types of effects such as depth-of-field blur ( i.e. bokeh), as well as Lytro-style refocusing effects.
Up until now, the full functionality of the Duo Camera System has only been accessible through HTC’s first party camera application. Today, however, HTC opened up the Duo Camera System API for use by third party developers.
The Dual Lens SDK currently consists of two APIs: Dual Lens and DimensionPlus. The Dual Lens API allows developers to obtain and manage a bokeh strength map mask that can be mapped to the main camera’s image data. The DimensionPlus, API on the other hand, allows developers to export to the DimensionPlus file format in order to keep both depth and image data in one file.
The Dual Lens SDK is currently available in the form of an initial preview, so it is possible that more functionality will be added in the future or that current implementations may not be compatible with future software revisions. That said, it’s exciting that HTC decided to open up the APIs behind its most notable camera feature.
Developers looking to play around with and develop for the HTC Duo Camera System should head over to the HTC Dual Lens SDK site to learn more.
March 22, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
A little over a week ago, we took a quick look at the innovative application Recent by XDA Forum Member uuOuu. As its name implies, Recent brings all of your recently accessed applications, photos, and downloads to your fingertips with a handy and user-friendly radial menu.
Given the application’s innovative concept and brilliant execution, Recent amassed quite a loyal following of users. But while Recent offers substantial added functionality, many users found themselves unable to use the application due to its power demands.
After investigating the matter, uuOuu quickly got to the root of the matter and was able to cut down his app’s power consumption dramatically. And for the benefit of other developers struggling to optimize power usage in their apps, uuOuu chronicled his sleuth work. The applications used were WakeLock Detector and DU Battery Saver.
If you’re an app developer and you find your app consuming a bit more battery usage than you’d like, head over to uuOuu’s power consumption thread to learn how he optimized his app’s power consumption.
March 3, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that back in December, we briefly talked about XDA Senior Member Beatsleigher‘s JDroidLib. This library was conceptually based on the previously covered AndroidLib .NET library by Recognized Developer regaw_leinad, but built on Java in order to be compatible with more than .NET languages.
When we previously covered JDroidLib, the project allowed users to easily install ADB and Fastboot on any every supported platform. However, we also noted that more features were in the works. Now, JDroidLib has made it into the beta stage. And as expected, it packs quite a few new features including a revamped installation to fix some errors, device detection, the ability to pull device information, reboot methods, and the ability to execute any type of command.
Those looking to build applications utilizing device to PC communication should check out the latest version of the JDroidLib project. More information can be found in the project thread.
February 4, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Developing Android applications isn’t easy. There are a variety of tools that help greatly like Eclipse and Android Studio, but the majority of your code still needs to be written manually. Building an application is one thing, but optimizing it is a totally different story. There are some best practices that should be followed to ease the development and debugging process, and now is as good a time as ever to get to know them a bit better.
Some best practices, tips, and tricks are already described in Android Developer pages, which is a compendium of knowledge and a vast number of resources. However, there are also some tips and tricks acquired through personal experience of XDA community members. One of them, XDA Senior Member SimplicityApks, decided to share his knowledge with all of us by writing a thorough guide with various examples about how to improve your application’s performance and optimization when using Java and JavaFX code. The author also included many code samples directed towards beginner and intermediate developers. If your journey with Android programming has just begun, this guide should definitely go onto your todo list.
No matter if you are a new developer or have some coding experience, you should make your way to the original thread and read more about dos and don’ts in Android programming.
If you are creating a new application, you may have thought about adding in Gmail connectivity. After all, if the application is a social app, it’s nice to be able to share things with friends. Even if it’s not a social app, there are dozens of other reasons why you would perhaps want to allow for Emails to be sent directly from the app.
In Android, there are various ways of accomplishing this. Most would go about this using the Share intent and then having the selected content automatically populate in a new Gmail message. While this works and is the best solution in a variety of situations, there are other times in which you’d be better off keeping your users within the confines of your own app.
Thankfully, XDA Forum Member krvoZD created a simple library that allows you to easily incorporate background Gmail sending into your app with just a few easy steps. Using krvoZD’s library, your app will be able to send Emails without having to load a separate application. And once the message has been created, you can optionally add a toast message informing your app’s user of the progress.
If you have been looking for a way to add email connectivity to your app, without forcing users to leave your app in order to send a message, this library will undoubtedly help you get started. Head over to the library thread to learn more.
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.