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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Android Mobile Application Development - Budget My Day

The last weeks or so, I have been contemplating on build a mobile application. I wanted to use a technology that I was familiar with and that is also currently available in the market. So Let me describe the factors that affected this weekend project:

  1. The user interface of the application have to be nice a la iphone.
  2. provide RAD tools, I do not have time coding in notepad.
  3. Good documentation and online support (through forums and etc..).
  4. Need to able to learn and develop a nice UI within hours.
  5. The ability to connect and display real-time maps such as Google Maps or Yahoo!Maps.
Ok, first of all I was not trying to develop a mobile webpage, the type of thing you can do with Yahoo! Blueprint. My aim is to later develop this weekend project into a full blown mobile application with other contents such as videos, telephone dialing and messaging features. Based on that, I realized that there are bunch of technologies there which can be separated into two categories:

  1. Vendor neutral: J2ME (JavaFX???) and Android
  2. Vendor (or Manufacturer): iPhone, Symbian and the list is very long.
I therefore decided to take a vendor neutral approach. I have some experience developing J2ME based applications and I can tell that the user interface is not as great as on the iPhone or Android based phones. So what about JavaFX, let me know the next time you see a JavaFX-based phone in a shop window or in public.

So I decided to take the Android route. I know the API were based on JAVA, making the learning curve an easy ride. One thing I don't understand is; Android has been out for awhile and still do not provide a supported version of their development plugins for NetBeans or any other IDE but Eclipse. Nevertheless, I decided to use NetBeans to the develop the "weekend project". Android emulator is nice to work but sometimes, i just had to run the application multiple times in order to see the app in the emulator.

I believe that in order to be a good Android developer, you need to familiarize yourself with building the UI through the XML and know your widget from your layouts. Anyway, this is just the start of the project but next time I blog about, I will discuss how to connect to web services to perform user authentication and persist data. For now here is a screenshot of the search tab taken from the emulator.

P.S. The application will be a recommendation engine that will recommend user how to go out and enjoy themselves on any budget. For example, a person with £100 budget can see what to do, where and when. For example, go on a date to cinema then to restaurant before heading out to night club. Users will be able to review and rate recommendations.





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