Source code plus initial impressions of Android marketplace

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A long time ago - before MAX (well, it certainly feels like a long time ago), I blogged about my first AIR for Android application built using the new Flex "Hero" SDK. I couldn't share the code at that point but now that MAX is behind us I can post up the code. Do not consider this 'best practice' mobile development. It was my first experiment. For the most part it was pretty simple. I still need to read up on the new controls for mobile development though. Also - the biggest issue was how to set up my forms so that they worked well on a mobile device. Specifically - drop downs. You can use a normal drop down in a mobile application but it is very difficult to use. Dirk Eismann gave me some code for what I call a "Button/Radio" control. Basically a field that shows up as a button until you click it. At that point it turns into a scrollable list. My gut tells me that issues like that (translating web controls to usable mobile controls) will be the biggest stumbling block for new mobile developers. I definitely plan on sharing more as I learn and build new applications. Anyway, you can find a zip of the project below. I intentionally did not chose a FXP export since not everyone has Burrito installed. I wish more people would do that. Even with Burrito installed I wish I could just extract/open in Notepad to quickly scan the code. I hate having to make a project just to look at source code.

I also tried out the Android Marketplace today. I was pretty shocked how easy it was to publish my application. I already had a Google Marketplace login so maybe that helped, but it took approximately ten minutes. I only ran into two hitches:

  1. My application XML file for my AIR application had a version of 0.0.0. Google didn't like this. It wanted a positive integer. Changing it to 1.0.0 worked.
  2. Google was real bitchy about the screen shot size. If you don't match their exact specifications, they won't accept it. I was too lazy to run Photoshop and 'expand' my canvas to make it match so right now my application has no screen shots. I'll do that at lunch I guess. But really - I don't see why they don't allow screen shots smaller than the desired size.

Outside of that - the biggest issue is that you can't browse the marketplace on the web. Sorry Google - I know you guys are geniuses, but that's just plain dumb. If you need some help, let me know. I happen to know a programming language that can put your dynamic content online quickly. I get that they want you to use your handheld so you can actually install the application, but there is absolutely no reason why people shouldn't be able to view the application via the web. Anyway, if you have an Android, search for "Death Clock" and give my application a try. (I'd also love any honest ratings!)

Download attached file.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a developer advocate for HERE Technologies. He focuses on JavaScript, serverless and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA https://www.raymondcamden.com

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/15/2010 at 7:43 PM

One thing I forgot. It cost me 25 bucks to sign up. That seems pretty reasonable. I believe the minimum for iOS is 99 dollars. Plus a Mac if you don't have one.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/15/2010 at 7:48 PM

A twitter user, @twEapen, mentioned App Brain for 'web' links for droid apps. Here is mine:

http://www.appbrain.com/app...

Comment 3 by Eric posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:00 PM

Weren't they working on a browser based version of the marketplace? Maybe I'm crazy, but I swear I saw a video a while back where the presenter was on a PC, browsing apps, clicked on one to install, and it auto-magically started downloading on his phone. If I'm crazy and just made that up, Google, you have my permission to use that! :)

Comment 4 by Glyn Jackson posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:00 PM

good to know how easy this is. Did a quick search on the Market (running 2.1) few Death Clocks which is yours?

Comment 5 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:03 PM

@Glyn: It says Raymond Camden under the name.

Comment 6 by Glyn Jackson posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:16 PM

No Ray Camden under any for me. Maybe it's only inside the US?

I am running (Android 2.1) in the UK.

Comment 7 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:17 PM

No idea at all. I'm pretty sure it does require 2.2 though so that may be it.

Comment 8 by Eric posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:32 PM

Found it, but not mention on when it's coming: http://www.youtube.com/watc...

I love the rip on the need to tether your device. "We discovered something really cool. It's called the Internet!" :)

Comment 9 by Glyn Jackson posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:40 PM

still waiting for my 2.2 update. you are correct 2.2 is needed thats why I don't see it.

Comment 10 by Brian Swartzfager posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:50 PM

I could have warned you about the screenshot size issue had I known you were planning on publishing. :) I actually wrote up a blog post about the Android Market publishing process (http://www.swartzfager.org/... that folks might find useful.

I agree with you on the searching issue: why Google doesn't allow you to search the Market via a desktop/laptop browser is beyond me. They have made some small Market improvements lately and have promised more to come; hopefully search is something they'll address. But in the meantime, you can use AndroidZoom.com as an alternative: it's an alternative market that pulls the app data from the Android Market periodically and lets developers add additional information about their apps.

Comment 11 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/15/2010 at 8:56 PM

Darn good article there Brian - thanks for sharing that.

Comment 12 by Brian Swartzfager posted on 11/15/2010 at 9:13 PM

@Ray: Thanks. I skimmed through it again just now and realized I hadn't updated the part about the screenshots. I originally said you had to either take a screenshot of the emulator or root the phone and run a screenshot-taking app, but it turns out there's a tool in the SDK for taking screenshots from your actual phone. I've updated the post to include a link to that info.

Comment 13 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/15/2010 at 9:16 PM

I "cheated" and just used the emulator from Burrito.

Comment 14 by Brian Swartzfager posted on 11/15/2010 at 9:24 PM

The really nice thing for me about using the SDK tool to take the screenshot was that since my phone's resolution matches one of two screenshot sizes permitted in the Market (480x854), the resulting screenshot was already the perfect size for uploading; I didn't need to crop it with Fireworks or Photoshop.

Comment 15 by Aaron DeRenard posted on 11/19/2010 at 9:35 PM

@Ray
Here's a QR code for Death Clock
http://porati.com/deathcloc...
I got it here:
http://www.androlib.com/and...

Comment 16 by Raymond Camden posted on 11/19/2010 at 9:39 PM

Nice -so how do I use the QR again? People scan it with their phone?