More nice Android bits

Written by on April 14, 2011, 6:59 am

I am going to talk about Android dev tonight at at GTUG, so I thought I thought I would write down a few other things about Android that are nice.

Slipstream releases

This is the obvious one. It is great not having the pressure when you submit an update, that you will have to agonised about re-submitting for every bug you find in the next fortnight. There is never a time I am not waiting for an app to be approved. I am waiting right now.

Notifications

One of the rare bits of UI on Android where the experience is far better than the iPhone equivalent. True for the user and true for developers adding notifications to their apps.

You have to deal with a bunch of cases when adding push/local notifications to an iPhone app (in the app, background, suspended, local, push) and your UI is pretty inconsistant. On Android you declare yourself a BroadcastReceiver in the manifest and have a single point to handle 'cloud to device' messages. You have complete control over your UI, but I recommend using the NotificationManager to get the standard pull down message UI:

NotificationManager nm = (NotificationManager) m_context.getSystemService(Context.NOTIFICATION_SERVICE); String text = "Stuff in the notification; Notification n = new Notification(R.drawable.notification, text, System.currentTimeMillis()); n.setLatestEventInfo(m_context.getApplicationContext(), "Message Title", text, getIntentForNotificationTap()); nm.notify(YOUR_NOTIFICATION_ID, n);

Testing GPS

Testing GPS updates in the simulator for iPhone is pretty limited. If you want to send location updates to your app, you are basically reduced to hacking into the simulator binaries and hooking the appropriate libraries, so ... not so much. I spent a lot of time on trains testing my location stuff on the iPhone. On Android you can telnet to the emulator and set it's location on the command line (there has to be something nice about that thing):

$ telnet localhost 5554 geo fix <longitude> <latitude>

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