August 14, 2013 By: Adam Outler
The line between an OS and an application is drawn by the ability to install applications. The Ubuntu Touch OS is in a state of constant evolution. The current system is dependent upon Click packages. Click packages are similar to the old Debian packaging system. However in the Click system, all dependencies are included in the application itself. This creates a sort of sandbox, which allows the app to have its own filesystem that it controls in a similar fashion to the Android /data partition.
One such Click Package is the XDA Developers App (unofficial). This app was featured by Michael Hall during his talk at XDA:DevCon 2013. It is fully open source, and source is available on Launchpad. Michael is very passionate about application development on the mobile Ubuntu OS, and he gave an interesting presentation about how one could begin development on Ubuntu Touch. This particular app interacts directly with the XDA-Developers Website APIs rather than through Tapatalk or other 3rd party clients.
Michael Hall stated in his presentation that it took about a day for him to create a basic browsing application for the XDA forums. Michael is also welcoming contributions to the project. Setting up the SDK for development is fairly easy, as long as you have UDEV rules established. And for anyone familiar with QT development or HTML 5, you should be able to hop right into developing an app for Ubuntu Touch. So you only need a launchpad account to contribute to this open-source project.
You may be asking yourself, “Why Launchpad?” The answer is simple. Launchpad provides revision control and build control systems. The launchpad system also allows you to build apps that are featured in their own easily-added apt-get open source repository as well. If you’re already a Git user, you will find Bazaar to be easy. The advantage is that you can release nightly builds in several different release formats easily.
The Ubuntu Click apps market is opening shortly, and if you want to have one of the first Ubuntu Touch applications, your time is running out. Starting with Ubuntu 13.10, you can expect to see the Click packages beginning to work their way into Ubuntu, allowing for enhanced security and non-sudo installation. So if you want to start developing for Ubuntu Touch, now is the time.
This last weekend the very first XDA:DevCon, which took place in Miami, Florida. There were many people there, and lots of learning and fun was had. Numerous sponsors, speakers, and people were there taking part in the festivities.
However, we know that not everyone could make it, so XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan attended and took some video and pictures of the event. Jordan talks about his experience at the event. He shows off his video and pictures. If you want to see what you missed, check out this video!
August 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that many mobile devices, especially older ones, often struggle with GPU-intensive drawing tasks. This generally manifests itself in choppy UI performance. And if you’re an app developer, this results in a kludgy application that your users will find burdensome to use.
We all know that excessive overdraw is bad. But how do we go about limiting it? Using Android’s built-in developer options, you can easily visualize the amount of overdraw in any hardware accelerated view. XDA Forum Member alobo has created a mini-guide that shows you where to locate the requisite options and how interpret the results, ranging from blue (1x overdraw) to red (4x overdraw). He also gives a few pointers on how to limit overdraw in your own apps, as well as pointing to an excellent guide by Romain Guy on the matter.
If you’re looking to optimize drawing operations in your next app, all you have to do is head over to the tutorial thread and get started. Your app’s users will appreciate the snappier UI performance.
August 11, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
You’ve heard it before, and we’ll say it again: People learn differently. Some people learn only by doing. Some people learn by reading. Others learn by listening. Is learning about software engineering any different?
In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce talks about learning software development. While many classes teach programming theory, Jayce suggests that maybe if you just started actually making an app, you would learn better. He also interviews Don Bora, a software engineer who is a co-founder of Mobile Makers. Check out this video to see what he has to say.
August 10, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
There is an idea out there called the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is the idea of having everything, such as cans of soda, vases, and other physical items able to connect to a network. This would allow stores to maintain inventory. It would allows people to adjust the blinds at home. These are only some of the possibilities with IoT.
In today’s video, Jayce talks about how the Internet of Things is the next market for developers. He talks about how developers can make a mark on the Internet of Things. He talks about a couple articles that are linked below. Check out this video to see what he has to say.
August 4, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Most people who surf on the XDA wave or watch months XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce’s videos on app development have either begun making an app or have had serious thoughts about it. However, as we all know the App landscape is riddled with landmines, waiting patiently like a high school bully wanting to steal your lunch money and crush your dreams.
In today’s video, Jayce talks about some of the pitfalls involved in creating an Android app. Drawing from his vast library of resources and interviews, Jayce gives some examples of what to do and what to avoid. Check out this video to see what he has to say.
August 3, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Every weekend for the past few months, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce has been giving you tips on landing your dream development job, how to become an App Developer, and how to learn how to be a developer. Well, this weekend is no different.
In today’s video, Jayce talks about some tricks of the trade to be noticed as a developer. He talks about how non-developers think. Some people are pigeonholed into the cost center versus profit center. Jayce talks about a blog post by Patrick McKenzie discussing how to justify yourself in the profit center. Check out this video to see what he has to say.
July 28, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Continuing on the general topic of yesterday’s video about the Practices of Practical Developers or what they did to get started doing development, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce now gets some more information from them. Sometimes when you ask people about how they got from a starting developer to the creator of many apps, they will answer with one line. We all know it takes more than “reading a book” to become an experienced developer.
In today’s episode, Jayce talks about what you can do to get from being a new developer to being a seasoned pro. Jayce interviews three software developers in the video: Colby Callahan, JT Webman, and Darren Huang. Check out this video to see what they have to say.
July 27, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
A lot of people have an idea for the next great app. Some people even do research into what building an app actually takes. They contact people, they read up on the forums, they even watch XDA Developer TV. However, very few actually follow through and become App Developers.
In today’s episode, XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce talks about why he is wearing a green hat in the thumbnail, and he talks to people who actually walk the walk. Jayce interviews three software developers in the video: Colby Callahan, JT Webman, and Darren Huang. Check out this video to see what they have to say.
We’ve featured plenty of tools in the past that allow an end-user to modify his or her own build.prop. We’ve also featured a set of tools for app developers to incorporate that allow applications to modify the file. These (obviously) all require root access, as you’re modifying system settings. However, to date we haven’t featured a method of reading the build.prop from an app.
There are plenty of reasons why an app developer would want read-only access a device’s build.prop. Be it to know about its software or hardware configuration, or simply to peek into some system settings, looking into this treasure trove of information is potentially quite useful for an app developer. However, requiring root access to do so is unnecessary from both user hassle and security standpoints.
In a quest to access the build.prop from his own app without resorting to root, XDA Forum Member torpedo mohammadi wrote a couple of lines of code and shared it with the community. The way he goes about it can be summarized in his explanation:
1. Make a process which executes “getprop” from the “/system/bin/getprop” directory and initialize the String which we want to get (ro.board.platform in example).
2. Make a BufferedReader which gets the value (String) by retrieving the data from a inputStreamReader().
3.Convert the BufferedReader to String.
Head over to the original thread to get started, copy the code, and get it implemented into your app.
It’s no secret that visual aids such as charts and graphs help in effectively disseminating numerical information. After all, who really wants to read an essay of numbers? That feeling is only exacerbated when the reading is done on a small cell phone screen. Thankfully, as apps are becoming more and more visually enriched, dull data visualization is nearly a thing of the past.
To help developers better display exactly the data they need in their apps, XDA Senior Member Androguide.fr created HoloGraphLibrary. Forked from a separate base library by developer Daniel Nadeau, Androguide.fr’s offering builds on the original by adding support for various unit display types and compatibility with Android Studio and Gradle.
In addition to providing his forked library, Androguide.fr has also included a comprehensive guide on how to use the library in his thread. So what are you waiting for? Don’t display numbers as text; it’s not pretty. Head over to the library thread to get started.
July 24, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Nothing’s harder than debugging a problem without all of the right information at your disposal. After all, fixing whatever issue you have to deal with is hard enough. There’s no need to complicate things by not truly understanding what’s going on. That’s why developers rightfully ask for log information when issues do arise, and why we’ve covered tools to do this several times in the past.
If you happen to be looking for yet another way to make sure that your users are able to pull all of the information you desire, XDA Forum Member TheUntouchable created a Windows-based utility that pulls almost anything you could need in debugging your app. Designed for end users who have little experience with ADB, General Feedback Tool makes it easy for these users to give you meaningful debug information. So, what does the utility pull? Quite a bit. As stated by the developer, the app pulls:
- Rom Version Shows the name and version of your current rom
- Kernel Version Shows the name and version of your current kernel
- Ram Usage Shows the current ram usage
- Swap Partition information If a swap partition is used, it will show you the current useage of it
- Swappiness Shows the ratio that the kernel tells how much the swap file should be used
- Running Prozesses Shows the current running prozesses
- Current Kernel Log Shows the current kernel log
- Last Kernel Log Shows the kernel log that was written till the last reboot
- CPU Type (not all devices) Shows the cpu type of your device. Higher means better and more uv is possible.
- Logcat Shows the current logcat
- Init.d Folder Content Shows the content of the init.d folder. This scripts are always executed when your phone is booting.
- LMK Config Shows the configuration for the low memory killer.
- Baseband and Ril Version Shows the current versions of the baseband and ril of your phone
- Panel Type (not all devices) Shows the panel type of your phone (HTC Sensation for example)
Getting started is no more difficult than sending your app’s frustrated users over to the original thread.
If you’re looking to get started creating a user interface for your app, there are various ways of getting started. You could always start from scratch, learning the entire process as you go along. In fact, that’s probably the ideal way of doing it, provided you have the time, as you’d have a deeper understanding of how things work and how to fix problems
if when they arise.
However, ain’t nobody got time to do things the long way. To help speed things along for new developers who would rather concentrate on core functionality code rather than UI layouts, XDA Senior Member AuxLV created GrilledUI, an open source streamlined library aimed at easily creating common UI layouts. As described by AuxLV:
Available UI types are: tabbed UI (TabActivity), master/metail flow (SectionActivity) and their hybrid (HybridActivity). These activity classes wrap everything you need to create your UI with just a few lines of code or even load tabs/sections and instaniate fragments from XML file. HybridActivity allows you to have tabs on phones and MDF on tablets. This way you can easily make your app tablet and phone friendly without torturing phone users with multiple activities.
Included with the library are multiple examples, a BSD license, and support for pre-ICS devices using ActionBarSherlock. Head over to the resource thread to get started and visit the Github to take a peek at the source.