I Think I'm Becoming an Android
Google Maps Navigation - Don't Follow the Little Blue Line! Print E-mail

Writing good software is tough.  I know that.  It took me months of after-hours development just to get a simple little Android utility completed that controls a phone's power-saving features using the orientation of the device (see this link for information about Screebl).

I just downloaded the new Google Maps that includes navigation control.  Google maps has a long way to go to get this application ready for prime time.  They're not kidding when they warn you that the application is in beta, and you should use caution when following the provided directions.  See the screen capture below for an example.  Whatever you do, don't blindly follow the blue line!





Screen Wars! Print E-mail

It seems that there are several applications on the Android market right now that make an attempt to solve the problem of premature screen locking.  This is good news!  First of all, it validates the problem space in which Screebl lives as actually being a need.  Second, there's nothing like a good healthy competition to make software better.  I've evaluated all of the available Android applications that deal with screen locking, and I must say that I'm very happy with how Screebl has turned out.  In my mind, Screebl is hands down the best of the bunch, from polish, to intuitive out-of-the-box bang-for-the-buck.  I admit that I may not be all that impartial.  But hey, I'm feeling confident, particularly after reading the comments on the competition that mention Screebl!

Screebl Sighted on ADC2. Print E-mail

I've been judging applications for the Android Developer Challenge 2 for several days now, and had not yet seen my own entry, Screebl.  I was beginning to think that perhaps Google's judging application was smart enough to filter apps from being delivered to their authors.  Either that, or Google hadn't accepted the application for some reason. 

Last night, however I finally stumbled across Screebl.  Of course I had a hard time installing it (the ADC2 judging app is a bit flaky to say the least).  It was surprisingly exciting to see it download and install.  Let me know if you see it, and remember to vote early and vote often!


Screebl Translators Needed Print E-mail

In my push to get Screebl out to the masses, I decided last week to make an attempt to localize the application.  I discussed this with several people, and one person offered a quick solution to the problem of translating the English messages of Screebl to other languages:

"If I were you, I would just use Google Translate.  That should work well enough."

Despite all of my posturing and preaching recently about the need for Android application developers to be more careful about polishing their apps, I foolishly took that advice and translated Screebl to German and French using Google Translate.  Trust me, this still wasn't an easy task for me, but in the end I thought things had gone OK...

Polish Your Apps, People! Print E-mail

I just recently finished my push to get a small application called Screebl ready for the Android Developer Challenge 2.  In retrospect, it was a good exercise to go through for a number of reasons.  Here's a list of the top three things that I learned (or relearned) from ADC2... 

Polish Your App: Free Embeddable Android YouTube Activity! Print E-mail

I recently published a blog entry about lessons that I've learned during the course of creating Screebl, my entry in the Android Developer Challenge 2.  In my previous post, I mentioned that one of the top three things that I'd learned was "Polish is better than feature".   My claim is that the majority of the applications that are available for Android right now lack polish, and consequently it is difficult to gain traction with users evaluating mobile applications.

NOTE:  I've created a Google code project for this component, as well as a Google group for discussing issues.  Please see the OpenYouTubeActivity project here on KeyesLabs.com. 

In the interest of improving the Android platform, I'm going to be writing a series of articles that describe things that I think I've done well in Screebl, and I'm also going to contribute the code behind those features for others to use if they wish.  I'm hoping that others in the development community will follow suit.  It would be great if we had a market (as I mentioned here) specifically for delivering packaged widgets to other devs, but I'm not aware of anything at the moment, so I'll use this venue for now.

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