16 8 / 2012
Twitter have seemingly stopped granting 3rd party apps access to push messaging. Poll notification systems are not optimum for battery life, and my Galaxy Nexus needs all the freaking help it can get.
As fellow geeks I’m assuming most of us use 3rd party apps.
Earlier today was discussing notifications for and I made a wacky suggestion of using SMS. This was not a good move for Tweet Lanes.
I started to to think though that my idea was not bad, and fairly easy to accomplish.
That thought was around 13:00 GMT, it is now 22:20 GMT and I have just pushed it to the Google Play Store.
Tweetification is the name of my new app, it intercepts the Twitter notification SMS messages, and makes a system notification instead. It’s simple:
.. Enable SMS notifications inside your Twitter account
.. Send yourself a tweet
.. Enter the number that Twitter sent you the SMS from into Tweetification
.. Choose which app you want to launch
.. You’re very own push notification system is now in place.
The app is raw, it is fully functional though. At the moment it has not made it into Google Play.
Here’s a DropBox link if anyone is interested:
Otherwise it will be in the Play Store within a few hours.
Suggestions, opinions very much welcome :-)
30 6 / 2012
We, as Android users, constantly hear how nobody develops Android tablet apps, and how there are only a few hundred Android tablet apps available in the Play Store yada yada. At the same time we hear how the iPad has thousands.
Whilst I’m sure this is technically true, I also think there are valid reasons behind it.
I’m going to take my own app as an example here. Sleepy Sounds was written at first for Android phones, this was pre Honeycomb days so phone only. I later ported it to iPhone and after that Windows Phone.
The app has gone through many revisions, and is now at a relatively bug free stable point. So now to build upon it… Android tablet version? iPad version?
So I look at the current state of my app on tablets:
iPad: Run my app on an iPad and it will run as a phone size app with a little 2x button that will literally stretch the app to fit the screen. Things start to pixelate and it just doesn’t look good, it can be improved (I believe by using higher DPI images on buttons etc).
Android Tablet: Run my app on an Android tablet and it will run full screen, and it won’t look bad at all. Sure the buttons may be a bit long in landscape, and there is a bit of unused real estate. This is all possible because of tools that Android Developers have like RelativeLayout and 9 patch PNG’s.
So what do these tools do?
RelativeLayout: Rather than saying this button is 200px from the top,100px from the left, and 200px wide etc. Developers can specify that the button is:
The width of the screen
With a margin left and right of 20px
Underneath another button
Wraps the content of the button
9 patch PNG’s: Stretch a normal PNG and it stretches evenly across all pixels. With a nine patch PNG (or .9.png) you specify the area of the PNG that can be stretched. This means that a 48px by 48px 9.png can scale to fit any size and still look great. There are limitations obviously, but for buttons, backgrounds it is a very powerful tool.
So back to my earlier question: Do I make an Android Tablet App? iPad App?
My app is not the most complicated app in the world, I don’t need to display a lot of content, I don’t need to use fragments. Sure I could combine screens into one, but is that really needed. The app looks just fine on the tablet, even though it is not optimised.
My app looks rubbish running on an iPad because of the absolute layout used (button is 200px wide etc), and because it has to be stretched.
There is my answer. I need to make an iPad app, I don’t need to make an Android tablet app. 1-0 to Apple.
So I wonder how many other apps are in the same position? There’s no need to make an Android Tablet app because it looks just fine, but urgh it looks so bad on an iPad.
I wrote this before the Nexus 7 was announced, not sure if that will change my mind or not just yet. Time will tell.
19 6 / 2012
I have many problems with xcode.. but here is my biggest…. certificates.
I have certificates coming out of my ears (provisioning, debug, distribution, push etc ). Is there any need?!?!
Can’t Apple just provide one.. like Android?
13 6 / 2012
Away with the family this week, struggling not to think about development. Still seeing Google Play ratings / comments and want to fix them.
10 6 / 2012
A lot has changed in the last year. Rewind one year and I was a bit of an Android Fanboy. I can remember last year taking to Twitter to chastise the introduction of the swipe down notification center.
Since then I started to take my mobile development seriously and expanded to develop for iOS.
I still have an allegiance to Android, and use it as my daily device … but I am looking forward to hearing what is coming in iOS6.
PS .. The title is correct in Objective-C … and I hate that :-)
10 6 / 2012
So Marco Arment seems to have received alot of hate from the Android community. Unfairly in my opinion.
I think his comments on Build & Analyse about the difficulty developing for Android (quoting pixel densities and form factors) were not completely correct. I personally find the tools in ADT get around this quite easily.
I also think he was right to go to a development house to get the Android app done. As he said his main revenue is iOS and needs to concentrate all his efforts there, for him to research Android UI patterns, get his head around all the APIs etc would have been a very large undertaking with such a large app.
For me to port to iOS or Windows Phone it’s a small app and worth a punt. Sometimes I think the Android community is full of opinionated a-wipes. Obviously there are many exceptions to that.
10 6 / 2012
With the impending release of Windows 8 I am starting to feel like Linux is my route forward.
I’ve used Linux off and on for years but never as my main OS. I can code for Android in Linux and …. that’s it. Windows Phone forces you to use Windows to code for it. iOS forces you to use OS X to code for it.
So could I use Virtual Box instead? Have a Windows VM and OS X86 VM?
OS X86: Technically yes (breaks Apples EULA though) installation is temperamental, upgrades are risky.
Windows: Yes you can, but if you want to use the Windows Phone emulator it apparently won’t work as it itself runs as a VM.
So it looks like my future is similar to now:
OS X: iOS & Android
Windows: iOS & Android & Windows Phone.
Adding Linux… unfortunately I can’t see many compelling reasons. I’ll ask myself again one Windows 8’s weird metro tablet UI for desktop lands.
09 6 / 2012
So my first real entry on this development blog is to say I’m having a night off.
The last couple of weeks have been manic. Trademark issues forced me to re-brand 2 apps across Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon App Store. As well as that I’ve been working on a new iPhone app for a local business.
I signed up to develop Windows Phone apps too late last year. Microsoft were kind enough to give me a development device, in return I was required to make 3 apps by the end of June 2012. I had only made one app so far, so this week I’ve cracked on and made another 2.
I have enjoyed developing on it to be honest. Hopefully the platform can improve so that my efforts aren’t completely wasted.
09 6 / 2012
Decided to try and have a go at a tumblr blog. I’m an independent mobile app developer for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
I expect this blog to be mainly gripes about objective-c / xcode. Links to important announcements and my reactions to them, and other.