My name is Stephen and currently an IT Professional doing administration and support, however I've always had a deep passion for software development. I've started mobile application development when I got my first Android phone in October 09. This blog catalogues all my progress with creating mobile apps for not only Android, but eventually iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7. Hope you enjoy.


Android Lint + HP Touchpad

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Two random updates today.  The Android SDK has updated to a new API level, 16.  Besides offering APIs for the new features introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich it also provided a developer tool called Lint.  Lint basically scans your projects for code that is possibly hurting performance or goes against best practices or is simply a waste.

After installing the new update, I ran Lint on my Video Poker Assistant and Monopoly Trade Evaluator and Lint found over 400 warnings.  Granted going in I knew it would find a lot of one thing I did a lot, and that was put display text hard coded into the source code.  Android development has a separate strings file where you can assign all the display texts to a variable and have them all in one place.  It makes sense to use it and it makes translating a breeze, cause you just change the one file to another language instead of changing source code.  But in reality when you're in a coding zone, it takes time to go back from your source code to your strings file and back, so I knew going in that it would report all those problems and I had full intentions of fixing it up before I even knew what Lint was.

But Lint also found a lot of errors I had no idea about, like my current code was drawing the backdrop twice for each activity and I had a lot of excess code in my UI files.  So I'm working on cleaning all that up, compiling with the new API and releasing some quick maintenance updates for those 2 apps which will hopefully improve their performance.

Then in other news, if you weren't aware, the HP Touchpad.  A webOS tablet that came out over the summer was discontinued and HP had a huge sale of it's inventory not long after.  Well I was able to score one last week, $99 for a 10" 16GB tablet. DONE.  However it brings me to a predicament, I'm not sure what to do next in my mobile app development life.

  • Port my apps to iOS, I have a Hackintosh and a 1st generation iPhone and both never get used.  I also don't feel like spending $99/annually to be a developer for iOS just yet, so I was 99% sure my next move would be to...
  • Take a crack at Windows Phone 7 development and get in before it becomes huge (if it does), I have Windows XP virtual box setup with the Visual Studio, but no actual device...I don't even know anyone who has one.
  • And now webOS development has piqued my interest as I see the need first hand and would love to get more out of my device, especially if webOS and it's open source future is bright.  Not to mention HP suggests using Eclipse as an IDE.  Which is what I use for Android, so the SDK was easy to setup since I already had most of it done.
  • Sorry Blackberry, you're not in my immediate plans.
I can't decide...hopefully I will in the new year.

Video Poker Assistant Demo + Monopoly Trade Evaluator Updates

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First, today I released a demo for Video Poker Assistant.  The demo includes both modes of use however with a little twist.  The demo starts in practice mode and lets the user use it for 5 hands (and up to 10 skips)  then after 5 hands are played, the user is brought to the evaluator which the demo allows another 5 hands. Then the demo is over.

The demo uses the exact same calculation code, so I hope people test it out and then go ahead and purchase the full version, which also as of today is no longer only $1. It's been set at full price, $4.

Secondly, I released about 3 versions of Monopoly Trade Evaluator in the past week.  2.0 was the planned release to include the In-App store to remove the ads.  Then in order to prepare for the next release, which I wanted to add more player slots, I cleaned up the variables and codes used for the player inventory and also was eager to work on the new bill chooser, which I really wanted to have ready for my own next Monopoly game.  However after 2.0 was released, I found a bug in the feature I added, so I had to release version 2.1 to fix it.  But the money counter was nearly done, so I added it as well.

Figuring I didn't fully test 2.1 I had full intentions of doing version 2.2 later in the week and I did, even though it only had 1 line of code that needed to be changed...I missed a line in changing over the variable names and tablets werent showing the right building amounts for player 1, so I had to release version 2.2.

But now all is well with these 2 apps.  Now onto the next project...which I have no ideas for...

Monopoly Trade Evaluator Update

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Updated Monopoly Trade Evaluator, version 2.0, the main addition is that I added the In-App Billing code to allow users to remove the advertisements for 99cents.  This proved quite the challenge actually.  Google's licensing code for paid apps was so simple, I figured implementing the in-app store would be just as simple, boy was I wrong.

There are tons of posts of unanswered questions across the various forums I visit on how to get this working properly.  Some even suggest using PayPal's In-App payment method, which I looked at the code, is so freaking simple and I actually thought to myself I bet you more people have a paypal account with a checking account and credit card on file then a google checkout account with a credit card.

One thing I love that Apple did as a developer, is the same thing I hated as an end user.  It was that they make you put a credit card on file to get access to the app store, even if all you want are free apps.  So anyone on an iPhone at any time, has the capability to buy an app in just a few clicks.  Google, if it's your first app purchase, not so much.

But I digress, anyways I figured out a bit of a workaround for what I needed to do, it's not the cleanest or most efficent code, but it's the best I can do with the limited resources Google has put towards this feature and since I'm only doing 1 item that you can buy only 1 time, it worked.  It's not like a role playing game where you can just buy potions over and over again with real money.  sidenote, that's the example Google uses in their in-app purchasing demo.  Please email me if you have any issue with the in-app billing.

Be on the look out for Monopoly Trade Evaluator updates,I will include more player slots so that you can keep track of inventory and value for everyone throughout an entire game. Other planned improvements include the inclusion of "Get out of jail free" cards to a player's worth.  An option where instead of inputting your money total, you a prompted to just enter how many of each different bill you have.  Example: 1x$500, 2x$20, 4x$1.