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!]
Anyone who has done any serious coding will tell you that it’s not easy. You spend many hours staring at a screen, sometimes typing something, then deleting it and then typing again. But sometimes, it goes very well, the developer becomes very happy, and things just stream from the fingers to the screen.
In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce talks about a developer’s flow and how it can lead to happiness. Jayce interviews Miguel De Icaza, Co-Founder and CTO at Xamarin, about flow. Jayce talks about some suggestions on how to achieve that flow. Check out this video to learn more.
September 21, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
We’ve already talked about four great app development presentations, including Ubuntu Touch development from XDA:DevCon 2013. However, the presentations from Mark Murphy, Daniel Nazer, Ariel Shimoni and Michael Hall were not the only app development presentation at XDA:DevCon 2013, and this one is especially close to XDA’s heart.
The presentation was given by XDA Elite Recognized Developer Stericson. Being involved in the Android community since the pre-release of the T-Mobile G1, He started out learning how to create themes for Android. Stericson developed Android applications and the RootTools library to assist others with creating applications for root users. These were discussed in his presentation “Root Application Development with the RootTools Library.” As a developer, creating root applications for rooted users becomes extremely trivial with the RootTools open source library. Stericson focused on how to use the RootTools Library in order to create root applications that your users will love and appreciate.
If you want to see more or get a copy of the presentations slides, visit the XDA:DevCon Presentations page.
In addition to featuring a unified user interface with sleek and modern colors and excellent typography, having a Holo-compliant interface has also come to mean horizontally scrolling panes when applicable. These are also accompanied by a page indicator up top showing your current location, as well as which tabs are on either side. In fact, one need look only as far as the official Google Play store for an excellent example of this.
So what do you do if you wish to implement page indicators in your own app? There is an excellent open source library called ViewPagerIndicator by developer Jake Wharton. If that name sounds familiar, it should; Jack has also created the incredibly useful ActionBarSherlock and NineOldAndroids.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member ivn888 has created a quick guide and sample application aimed at getting you up to speed quickly and easily. The guide begins by showing you how to add the library to your Eclipse + ADT installation. It then continues on to discussing how to load the library into your project, as well as creating the layouts and implementing the library using Fragments API. Finally, ivn888 also includes a sample application of what you can expect by following the guide.
We’ve seen much in the way of floating apps recently: Facebook’s Chat Heads, the revolutionary Halo interface by the Paranoid Android team, and all of the various floating mini apps that we’ve covered in the past. How would you like to incorporate similar functionality into your own app?
XDA Senior Member EatHeat presents a way to do so with an additional service that runs over all apps using WindowManager. He does so with a fully open source sample application. The example’s floating blob can be tweaked and its location can be changed to anywhere below the status bar. While the sample application targets API 10+ (Gingerbread MR1), EatHeat says that this should work just fine with older Android versions.
While you’re at it, make sure to check out EatHeat’s other guides on Robotium and auto-testing apps, as well as his Simple GridLayout library.. If you’re learning app development or would just like to hone your skills further, they’re more than worth a look.
It’s been over a month since XDA:DevCon 2013 took place. It’s been 2 weeks since we’ve uploaded some of the presentations to YouTube. There were many different presentations and some of the best presentations offered advice and good programming ideas to help app developers.
The first presentation was from Commonsware Founder, Mark Murphy. Mark is the author of “The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development,” and is active in supporting the Android developer community. In his presentation “Plugin Architectures for Android,” Mark talked about how the best way to expand the capabilities of your app without impacting core functionality is to build plugins and make your app plugin-capable. This allows the main app to be more secure, request less permissions, be smaller and other great advantages. To learn more, check out the video.