When it comes to Android development, sometimes too many choices can be a bad thing. Users complain that Android applications lack a unifying feel or pattern. AndroidPatterns.com attempts to solve that problem. By providing developers with a standard set of Android UI elements and instructions on where to use them, the site hopes to make application development easier.
The site includes listings for common developer issues such as dealing with data, getting input, navigation, notifications, screen interactions, and many more. Each entry includes a wireframe illustration of the pattern, a verbal description of the pattern, instructions on when to use the pattern, and the pros and cons of each pattern. Finally there are real application examples of these patterns in action.
Currently the site has a small, but useful, number of patterns, with more being added all the time. Check it out if you’re a developer or if you’re a curious Android user who wants to see the elements that make up many of your favorite applications.
Recently I recieved an e-mail from Zu-Yon Han of Pronto Communications in Sweden about my experiences as developer. The Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, together with the University of Manchester, UK, is about to start a study in US on developer experience. They are looking for people who are either considering to develop or have already developed application(s) on the Android platform.
The research process includes online sessions in mid September. This will consist in participating during 10 days (1 question per day) to a bulletin board session (i.e. a forum on the Ning.com web site – no installation required).
To participate, contact Zu-Yon at email@example.com.
Looking for a source of comprehensive Android tutorials? Check out Tactel‘s US Developer Corner (TDC). This is a brand new site (It just went live Monday) focusing on the Android platform and providing Android Developers tutorials. From the mission statement on the site:
The goal of the Tactel US Developer Corner is to inform and educate all developers from beginners to advanced skill levels about leading edge techniques and best practices with Android and beyond. Through in-depth tutorials and sample source code you will learn advanced topics and gain a new found ability to express your ideas whether it be a 2D or 3D game or another innovative application. The Tactel US Developer Corner provides a community and networking resource so you can meet like-minded individuals and perhaps team-up to make the next great application. Get ready to download some leading edge code, meet new friends, and development partners; including us…
One of the first projects of this site is to provide a tutorial on how to make a 3D FPS for Android! I spoke with Michael Leahy of Tactel, and he said to “expect the first tutorials to appear by the end of the week and constant release after that in the coming 2-3 months”. Be sure to check this site and check it often.
P.S. If there are any tutorials you would like to see, post here and we’ll try to provide them for you either though TDC or other means.
Tactel is a leading developer of mobile applications, providing solutions and consulting services to many of the worlds major network operators and mobile handset vendors. We help these customers stay ahead of the game by designing genuinely original applications, and making sure they work on all networks and with all handsets.
Now developers have more incentive to code free apps. Google Adsense, the same service that brings relevant ads to some of the most popular web pages, including the one you are reading right now, is extending its services to mobile applications.
Image courtesy of talkandroid.com
Starting this past Wednesday, Google AdSense for Mobile Applications was released as a public beta to developers of both IPhone and Android applications. Potential benefits it advertises to developers include maximization of application revenue, targeted ads customized to keyword, demographic, and location, full control of ads within application and simple integration of ads via the Google developer toolkit. Some “top” developers already using the application include:
To qualify for participation in the beta, the following requirements must be met:
- Min 100K daily pageviews
- Free apps only
- Android or iPhone app
- Ready to implement now, live within 4 weeks
- Participation for at least 3 months
Developers wishing to participate in this program should start at the Google Mobile Adsense website, located at http://www.google.com/ads/mobileapps/
Part of my effort to keep myself abreast of whats going on in the technology world is regularly attending conferences. Thus I find myself here at ConvergeSC. From their website:
ConvergeSC is a web conference where designers, developers, business and marketing professionals can gain insight into all aspects of our industry from some of the best and brightest the Carolinas have to offer.
Geno Church gave a nice presentation on branding. He emphasized keeping the connection as a human interaction, not just a corporation to person interaction. His prime example of was Fiskars, a craft tools company. Instead of helping the company ‘sell scissors’, he helped create a movement. A movement to make scissors sexy. Who knew.
Jason Beaird gave a very nice talk about web designing. He covered many of the basics, ranging from:
He also provided some very nice examples for what was discussed. For a very nice webpage design: Blue Acorn
From post presentation twittering:
Jason Dew gave his presentation on Ruby on Rails. This presentation differed from the normal shpiel for Ruby. This presentation managed to be introductory, yet really scrape the surface of what Ruby can do.
I might have to look into this language soon.
I might have to look into the language again. My first experience wasn’t so great… I never got over the initial learning curve. Granted I’ve been too busy with Java lately.
Some snippets from the presentation:
One of the perks of Cupcake is its Widgets framework. This piece of software now allows users to move custom information to the desktop of their Android device. Now you can have the weather on your home screen, along with a mini music player, a picture of you dog, and anything else your heart desires.
Android Developer’s Blogspot makes some designing tips for widgets (and widget developers). Here are some referenes they point developers to:
In the spirit of promoting widgets, Android-dls.com is hosting an Android developers challenge to come up with the best widget for Android. See details on their site at http://android-dls.com/droid-dev-challenge.html. Contest ends May 31st; sign up thread listed here.
A common quote floating around the blogosphere is as follows:
For some reason, Android isn’t interesting anymore, it reminds me of how Linux is doing right now; lots of hype, some people adopt it then not much care about its updates or news. Shame, I really liked what it was going to be, but maybe the long delays and slow updates are just making it not current anymore. [Found on an Endgadget comment]
Though I could point out at least 5 things wrong with that statement and perspective, its shows how the general customer thinks.
Yep, Android has some work to do before becoming a top contender in the mobile (note not mobile phone) field. If we’re looking at the big picture, you see that we as a people are becoming a mobile race. Therefore our technology must become mobile as well. Remember the day when the Desktop was fashionable? I rest my case. The same sort of transition will happen as we move farther and farther into miniaturization of hardware while maintaining maximization of performance.
So what needs to be done?
- Regular schedule of updates. Ubuntu has a nice system of doing this. Every six months there will be a new version. It will have innovative features applicable to your computing lifestyle. You as an end user can depend on that. This is one of the many factors that lead to the popularity of this distribution of Linux.
- Amass a body of developers. Google needs a nice developer fanbase. Along with the lackeys that are programming the actual operating system, they need to hire application developers for the Android platform. Android goes nowhere without a base of developers.
- More hardware please!!! One phone is not going to cut it. Android is not the iPhone. People who try to directly compare the two show an innate lack of knowledge of Android and its mission. (I hear the drone of restless droves of trolls and fanboys out there who want to argue this point with me. For propriety’s sake I shall limit my comment in that direction to save it). Android is supposed to be a standard that works across a wide range of devices. Lets see these devices already! HTC has already proven, “If you make it, they will buy it.” After all, the customer is always right!
- There needs to be more advertisement of Android products. Right now, you have to be somewhat technologically advanced to know that much about Android. That needs to change. T-mobile did a HORRIFIC job advertising the G1. Go back to selling sidekicks to little girls at the lemonade stand guys. Give Android phones to other platforms. Verizon? Care to step up and try to stick it to your former parent company, AT&T? How about you Sprint? Instead of pushing Nextel buttons, how about you push Android to talk? Just a thought…
- The Open Source movement needs to gain some more momentum. Right now open source software as a whole is at a critical junction in its lives. It is budding from being associated with kleptomaniac, love-struck, Microsoft bashing ‘code hippies’ to being something serious, especially in hard economic times. People are discovering that good code originates in places other than Redmond. (if only they knew where that code was before it went through Redmond…)
- You should help. There’s no better way for Android to become a force that for you to use an Android device, write an Android program, comment / join and Android blog. No matter how little, you should join the community. That’s what open-source movement is about. By our powers combined, we’ll make something beautiful.
Until then there will be some disgruntled fellows and naysayers galore. But Android is here to stay. Make room.