December 30, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
The ViewPager class is commonly used in Android, starting from Honeycomb onwards. You can see it in action in the Google Play Store, where you can browse applications or games by category, by simply swiping left or right.
These applications are also often created to be compatible with older versions of Android such as Froyo. However, not many devices run Froyo anymore, as more than 75% of devices run Honeycomb or greater. Keeping compatibility with older versions forces the developer to make the APK bigger and possibly slower.
XDA Senior Member gade12 modified the Google Library to reduce its size by removing compatibility libs. Gade12 removed all unrelated code before API level 11. The ViewPager library after modification is much smaller, and it takes just over 120 KB. Using it in your application will reduce the amount of code, size and possibly improve the speed of the application. Of course, this breaks the compatibility with older Android devices, but you still have a choice between the original library from Google and the modified one by gade12.
If you are an app developer and want to try modified ViewPager library in one of your projects, make your way to the original thread and grab the compiled Java Archive. You can see ViewPager class in action in the following video:
Every app and game developer undoubtedly knows about importance of having a good Google Play Store rating. These little stars very often determine whether app is commercially successful. Without ratings, many great apps will remain buried in the 20th page of your search results.
Many applications display nag screens, prompting users to leave ratings in the Google Play Store. To use this method, you need a library, which must be included in your app. Thankfully, you don’t have to write such a module yourself, as XDA Forum Member mariosangiorgio has done so already and was kind enough to share it with everybody. The developer carefully explained how to use his library in his Github repository.
If you are an app developer, you should consider visiting the library thread to learn more about adding this implementation to your project. And if you use this library in your app-in-progress, make sure to leave a kind word in the thread and/or contribute to the code on Github.
December 23, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
A few days, we talked about AndroPy, a Python library meant to improve communications between your Android device and your *Nix-based PC. While ADB is easy enough to work with for most, many beginners aren’t quite familiar with this vital debugging tool.
XDA Senior Member zantekk‘s AndroPy was only compatible with Linux systems running x86-64 architecture. However, Recognized Developer cybojenix decided to use this idea to make a library that is also compatible with Windows, and so PyAdb was created.
PyAdb allows you to use the standard ADB commands within the terminal or command prompt. Pushing or pulling files is no longer a hard task. The only missing feature is shell integration, but hopefully it will be added in a coming version. The project is still in a very early development stage. But since it’s an open source tool, other developers can make contributions to help make it bug-free. The only requirements to use this tool are that you have Python vesion 2.7 installed and ADB set up.
If you are looking for a library to communicate with your phone or if you are simply curious how this library works, make your way to the development thread to give it a shot.
There is an almost infinite wealth of app development knowledge housed within Google’s Developer Pages. However, not every solution presented by Google is the most optimal, and there is still plenty of room for some improvement. A good example is the ShareActionProvider class that is responsible for the share option within apps. You’ve undoubtedly encountered this in apps like Gallery, for example.
XDA Recognized Contributor nikwen noticed that data sharing isn’t done dynamically, so it consumes more time. This is because the application need to identify the file type. Then, it creates the correct sharing activity. Nikwen decided to improve this library by creating his own open source replacement, capable of handling sharing dynamically. This saves a lot of time and removes all limits from Google’s implementation. This can be seen in practice in XDA Senior Member SimplicityApks‘s previously covered FunctionCapture application.
The developer shows that even great solutions can be improved upon, and that’s the beauty of Android. If you are interested in the project and develop your own applications, head over to the original thread to learn more about adding DynamicShareActionProvider to your work.
December 17, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
When you get a new Android device, you are undoubtedly extremely excited. More than likely, one of your buddies told you about these so-called “ROMs,” root access, and so on. But you need to start somewhere, and this is how your journey on XDA begins.
For most of you, using ADB is simple like making tea. However, some of less experienced folks may struggle with installing a fully working ADB and fastboot, especially on Linux. Android Debug Bridge is a must when you want to get a log of your device or simply to root it sometimes.
Inspired by JDroidLib, XDA Senior Member zantekk wrote a python equivalent to make the communication between your phone / tablet and Linux PC easier. This library is still in early development stage, so not many things work. However, you can install the ADB binary on 64-bit version of Linux as well as reboot your device to bootloader and recovery. It can also execute the shell commands needed to do things such as changing permissions. The only requirements are a (64-bit) Linux machine and Python 3 installed.
December 9, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
XDA is the place where many amazing projects start. We have seen the first Android builds for the HTC HD2, first root on many devices, and many other epic projects. That’s why we are calling XDA a place for developers, by developers. A few days ago we talked about about JDroidLib, which was meant to improve the communication between PC and phone. Now it’s time to highlight another amazing piece of work.
XDA Recognized Developer AChep (Artem Chepurnoy) wrote a library to replicate the effect seen in Google Music and other Google applications. In these apps, the image visible on top of the screen becomes less visible while scrolling down. Achep was kind enough to demonstrate the functionality of his library on YouTube in order to allow everyone to see the library in action. You can also download a sample app to check it on your own.
This library can be used to improve the aesthetics of Android apps. The library is available for Android 4.0+ (master branch) and 2.1+ (android-support). Now it’s up to app developers to see Header2ActionBar in action.
The library is an open source project and doesn’t contain a binary file. If you are interested in the project, go to the original thread to learn more. You can also contribute to the project by submitting a pull request.
December 3, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
Over a year ago, we talked about AndroidLib, the .NET assembly library written in C# that easily handles communication between a connected Android device and your program. It’s a great and innovative project, but it is unfortunately limited to Windows systems, as .NET works only with C#, F#, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Visual C++, rather than the cross-platform Java.
Inspired by the AndroidLib idea, XDA Senior Member Beatsleigher started a project to rewrite the project in Java. The idea is simple. This project can now be used with Unix-like systems such as Linux or MacOS. So far, this projects allows users to easily install ADB on every supported platform. The same thing can be done with fastboot. It can ease the efforts for some less tech-savvy users, as installing ADB and fastboot manually isn’t exactly the easiest task. The developer plans to add tons of handy features, and we wish him good luck with the project.
The binary is not distributed, but it can be compiled from source. More information regarding project can be found in the original thread, so make your way there and give it a try.
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.
September 5, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
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.
August 31, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
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.
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.
August 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
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.
If you’re creating an application that displays a list, you will likely want to use a ListView. Now if you wish to make it look nice with animations and additional features such as different view types and expandable items, you would ordinarily have to do the hard work and add in the functionality yourself.
Thankfully, XDA Forum Member Niekfct shared his latest library for application developers in our relatively new App Development forums. So what functionality is available with this library? Currently, it offers list- and grid-view animations, and it also supports swipe to dismiss, expandable data points, and more. And to ensure compatibility with older devices, the library uses the NineOldAndroid library on devices running versions of Android older than Honeycomb.
If you wanted to easily add a ListView in your app and want it to have some snazzy animations, head over to the library thread to get started. Naturally, the library is open source, with the code available at the developer’s Github. Example code is available on the developer’s project page.