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Posts Tagged: app development

Zuck Wants To Take the Pain Out Building Mobile Apps on Facebook Thumbnail

The Facebook app on Android has been much maligned. Developers using the Facebook API seemed like gluttons for punishment, but Facebook promised to make it better. Facebook has released new tools and Mark Zuckerberg wants that pain to go away. Of course some of us just want Facebook to go away.

In today’s video, Jayce talks about the improvements that Facebook has made for developers. He interviews Sanchin Monga, a member of the platform and strategy at Facebook, to find out what Facebook is doing to make developers’ lives better. What tools are they offering? Check out this video to see what he has to say.

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The Problem with Open Source Software Thumbnail

Here at XDA, we love open source software. That’s not just because of its cost, though that doesn’t hurt. There are many reasons open source software is great: security, quality, freedom, customizability, and being able to see what the code does for yourself. But let’s not be blind fanboys. There are, as the title says, problems with open source software in certain situations.

In today’s video, Jayce talks about the problems with open source software. He interviews Huw Collingbourne of RantsandRaves.co.uk to find out what he believes is the problem with open source software. Do you agree or disagee? Check out this video to see what he has to say.

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music

Recently, we featured a guide by XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen aimed at bringing lockscreen-like music controls to your app. However, the method was overly complicated for many users. So in order to make the process easier, Dr.Alexander_Breen has created the open source library Remote Metadata Provider. And since it’s licensed with Apache 2.0, you can use in your projects (commercial or not).

Remote Metadata Provider allows you to create your own remote media controls, which behave similarly to the lock screen music controls described in the developer’s previous guide. However, usage of the Remote Metadata Provider library is much simpler than the last. You first add the library to your development project as an external JAR. Then, you follow a clear guide with example code listed within the thread’s main post.

Currently, there is a bug on HTC Sense devices, where you lose lock screen controls after calling RemoteMetadataProvider#acquireRemoteControls(). There is also (temporarily) a bug when using Android 4.3. However, this will be fixed in a future version.

Head over to the library and tutorial thread to get started.

Day-in-the-life of a Sotware Developer Thumbnail2

While it may not be true in all circles; at least at XDA, being a developer is looked upon highly. Developers are respected and many people strive to become them. But what is it really like? The life of a software developer can be challenging—full of up and downs, successes and failures.

In today’s video, Jayce talks about what a day in the life of a software developer is made of, and it might not be what you expect. He interviews Developer Jose Zelaya, Associate Professor David Janzen, and Instructor Mark Lassoff to find out what the day in the life of a software developer consists of.  Check out this video to see what they have to say.

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example

One week ago, we featured a guide by XDA Senior Member marty331 posted in our App Development forums aimed at helping application developers create in-app usage tutorials using transparent demo overlays atop application activities. However, not everybody is a designer able to create aesthetically appealing overlays. Luckily, XDA Senior Member nikwen discovered the open source ShowcaseView library by Alex Curran, which makes it easy to generate Holo-themed demo overlays with ease.

In addition to describing the Apache 2-licensed library, nikwen also put together a quick guide that teaches developers how to showcase views, views in fragments, and parts of the action bar. He also describes how to add listeners to the library to trigger the event, as well as add animations such as a virtual finger that performs a gesture.

As we stated before, one of the keys to getting users comfortable and happy with your application is to show them how to use it. Head over to the guide thread to get started.

new-project

Recently, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the Android Studio IDE. Launched originally at Google I/O 2013, Android Studio aims at replacing Eclipse + Android Developer Tools, and bringing a few niceties such as live code rendering for different layouts.

As with any big change, some developers have experienced a few growing pains ranging from differences in handling external libraries to pains during initial setup. Aside from problems, just learning a new way of doing things can also be a hassle. Luckily, XDA Forum Member JoshieGeek has a guide in our App Development Forums geared at helping developers make the move to Android Studio.

The guide begins by giving a brief overview of the IDE, as well as pros and cons when making the switch. Then, JoshieGeek covers installation across three platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), as well as creating your first project. Next, he covers the differences in exploring your project when compared to Eclipse, as well as how to view your app in different layouts. Finally, the guide covers how to generate a signed APK.

Head over to the guide thread to get started. Alternatively, this guide has also been incorporated into our XDA-University project. You can view its XDA-U page here.

Capture

In our continuing coverage of the App Development forums here at XDA, we’ve featured various open source libraries that  enable you to quickly add in functionality into your app-in-progress without having to reinvent the wheel. These libraries have streamlined app development in topics ranging from UI design and data visualization  to application updates and everything in between.

Now, thanks to XDA Senior Member klinkdawg, there is an open source library for SMS and MMS messaging. After gaining knowledge while creating his own messaging app, klinkdawg released his library with the intention of helping other developers create their own SMS and MMS apps.

In addition to simply sharing the code, the developer has also written a brief guide in the thread that should cover basic usage. Currently, Google Voice is not supported, but that is on the way in a future revision. Additionally, this library is in beta, and uses non-final APIs.

Despite the beta status, this library could be of use if you’ve been planning on adding text messaging to your app. Head over to the library thread and knlinkdawg’s Github to get started.

which-build-gradle

We’ve written about Android Studio a few times in the past. Google’s would-be replacement for Android Developer Tools first made its appearance at Google I/O 2013. Based on Jetbrains IntelliJ, Android Studio offers many benefits over the older ADT such as live code rendering to see how your app will look across a variety of devices and layouts, as well as the ability to easily add any Android API into your app’s code. However, the transition hasn’t been without its share of growing pains.

One such issue that has popped up isn’t an issue per se, but rather a difference in how things are done. Since Android Studio is based on Gradle-build, the way it references external libraries (such as Google Play Services) is a bit different. Luckily, XDA Forum Member JoshieGeek has already gone through the process of learning how this is done, and has shared it in our App Development forums.

If you’re a developer looking to make the switch to Android Studio but you’ve either held back due differences in external library support or have just been waiting for the growing pains to subside, JoshieGeek’s guide will likely be of use. Make your way over to the tutorial thread to get started.

ss-main-window

Are you a developer using Mono for Android to develop pseudo-cross platform code using C# or .Net? If so, you may wish to save a few keystrokes for commonly executed commands.

XDA Senior Member ScatteredHell has created a DLL that works with Mono for Android to execute various commands. Originally, it supported obtaining system uptime, as well as some commonly used root-level commands such as mounting and unmounting the system as Read/Write and Read-Only, Rebooting, Setting Permissions, and Playing a Boot Animation. Now in its second version, it adds Get Date, Get Time, and Get Folders in a Specified Path to the list of supported commands. Example code is also given in the thread, demonstrating its usage.

While these shortcuts won’t save you massive amounts of time, the shortcuts will add up over time. Head over to the original thread to get started and streamline your Mono usage.

The Smart Way to Price Your Mobile App THumbnail2

There are a lot of free apps in the Google Play store. If that’s true, how do developers make money for their hard work? Banner Ads? Freemium? Begging? What if I make a break for the pack and charge for my app. How do I pick what to charge?

In today’s video, Jayce talks about choosing the price for your mobile app smartly. He talks about the history of software pricing. Jayce gives some great information from across the web. Links to these stories are below. Check out this video to see what he has to say.

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Activity_overlay

We’ve all seen those in-app usage tutorials before. You know, I’m talking about the ones that use transparency to show you what the app’s buttons do, or how you go about accomplishing a certain task. It’s just good practice to show your users upon first launch how to use your app, and since most people learn best by example, walking them through visually with an in-app usage tutorial is optimal.

After learning how to add an in-app demo to his own app, XDA Senior Member marty331 decided to create a guide in our App Development forums detailing exactly how he went about doing it. He starts with creating a transparent PNG at a recommended size and then continues by showing you how to create an XML layout to display the image, as well as deciding when to show it.

Head over to the tutorial thread to get started showing users how to use your app. All of the code is available in the thread, as well as on his Github.

How To Choose a Killer App Idea Thumbnail2

Everyone has an idea for the next killer app. However, these ideas are often like armpits: Everyone has one, and they all stink. Yet, there are ways to think about the needs of the market and make an app to fill them. But how can you come up with a killer app idea?

In today’s video, Jayce talks about choosing a killer app idea. He talks about how to look at the market and evaluate what’s already done and what is not. Jayce gives some great information for people looking to create the next killer app. Check out this video to see what he has to say.

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device_dialog_small

Think back to all those times when your non-tech savvy parents have called you over for free computer tech support. What’s one unifying theme from all of these instances? If your loved ones are anything like mine, it’s a horde of uninstalled updates awaiting approval. This is unfortunately all too common, as most of the technologically illiterate simply ignore update notifications, without realizing that these updates often patch vulnerabilities and add important features.

Luckily on Android, updates can be set to automatically install if the app’s permissions haven’t changed. However, not everyone has auto-update enabled, and even those with the option enabled may not take the time to manually update applications with changed permissions in the app manifest. In these instances, users need a little bit of prodding to get them to be a man and do the right thing—update their applications.

As a developer, not having users on the latest version of your app can be problematic. After all, who wants users complaining about broken features that have already been fixed two versions ago? Thankfully, XDA Senior Member rampo created a library to help with this problem in your own app. So how does the library work? Simple. UpdateChecker is a class that when called checks to see if the app is updated to the latest version available in the Play Store by parsing your app’s desktop Play Store listing. If there is a newer version available, the user is then prompted to update.

Head over to the library thread to prod your users to update.

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