android

App for iOS/Android - Jesuit Conference App

The Jesuit Conference partnered with Midwestern Mac, LLC to create a new app for the 450-year old Society of Jesus; the app includes three sections—Locations, News and Prayers—that offer users the ability to find Jesuit retreat centers, parishes, and schools, follow along with Jesuit news from National Jesuit News, and join in with users around the world in different Jesuit prayers and spiritual works.

Jesuit App for iOS - Locations

Download the app: iTunes Link | Android Link (coming soon!)

Android Map Marker Drawables/Icons - Original Vector Illustration

I've been looking around for a good set of Android map marker icons (drawables), and I've only seen a few that included a vector image (Illustrator or EPS graphics) so I could customize the icon however I wanted. So, I just created my own icon, saved five common colors to a set of xhdpi, hdpi, mdpi, and ldpi sizes, and posted them to a new repository on GitHub: Android Map Marker Drawables (icons).

Please see the GitHub repo for more information about the icons, how to use them, and for the original vector image. Here are examples of the icons (in hdpi resolution):

Why I don't develop for Android first

I developed my first iOS app about a year and a half ago, and it has seen over 2,500 downloads (it's a free app, and pretty useful, albeit only for a certain portion of people living in St. Louis, MO).

I developed my second iOS app (a companion to a news aggregation website that's existed since 2009) in April 2011, and in the first month alone, it was purchased ($0.99) over 300 times. In the months that followed, the app has consistently sold over 50 copies, sometimes more than 100, without—literally—any marketing on my part. Just an occasional plug on Twitter or at a conference. That's it.

I then decided to finally take the plunge and try my hand at redeveloping the app for Android (my first Java/Android project), and worked very hard to make the app run as good, and sometimes even better on Android phones (anything running 2.2+...).

Sales per app marketplace
Translation: Why I won't develop for Android first (no matter the marketshare).

The first month of sales have been more than disappointing; after 8 sales on the first day—most to friends who I specifically asked to download the app and test it*—the app has sold maybe one or no copies each day since, and all in the U.S. (The app has four five star reviews, the market page, icon, etc. are all very good quality—I spent a lot of time on the text, design, icon, etc., even forming everything to Android Market/platform standards instead of reusing iOS resources).

Catholic News Live mobile app for Android

Just wanted to announce here the immediate availability of the Android version of the Catholic News Live Mobile App. You can buy the app for your Android-powered device on the Android Market: Catholic News Live.

The Android version joins the iOS version that's been out for about a year now, as well as the website, all three in combination allowing you to follow the latest Catholic News wherever you are, on whatever platform you use! Read more about the Catholic News Live mobile app »

Here are a few screenshots from the app on an Android phone:

Rooting Android - General Observations and OG Droid + LG Ally

After a couple years having had no experience with an Android phone of any variety, a generous Twitter follower I had met donated two older Android phones, an original Motorola Droid (running Froyo 2.2.2) and an LG Ally (also running 2.2.2), so I could learn the Android UI and work on porting a couple of my iOS apps.

One unfortunate reality of the Android ecosystem is that phones are often abandoned by their manufacturers after only a year (or less time), and even if not, they are not kept up to date past one or two minor Android OS releases. For instance, both the Ally and Droid are more than capable of running Android 2.3 Gingerbread (and I'm now running 2.3.7 on the Droid, faster than 2.2.x ever ran), but Motorola has ended support for the device.

Problems with Android's Back Button

Android's back button is a problem. A big problem.

Others have already identified this in a broad sense, but I wanted to give a few concrete examples of why I (as a guy who wants to simply port a couple apps from the iOS platform to Android) think the back button (especially) is a bad idea.

Disorientation

Mobile phones, and tablets especially, require a lot of UX work in the area of interface orientation. For my extremely-basic CNL app, I've spent hours tweaking little interface elements that change when the interface is rotated from portrait to landscape.

The tendency in iOS is to use a 'back' button with the label of the previous function/screen in a given app in a navigation bar at the top of the current screen. This allows a user to freely move about inside an app, and is pretty much consistent across all apps. Additionally, this 'universal back button' is always at the top left of the screen—just like a web browser.

Gadgets & Gizmos - Sanctifying Mobile Technology

This page contains information and resources pertaining to my 2011 presentation at the Catholic New Media Celebration entitled "Gadgets & Gizmos: Sanctifying Mobile Technology".

Download this Presentation

You can download a PDF file with all the slides from the presentation here: Sanctifying Mobile Technology [3.1 MB PDF].

Guiding Principles: Worship and Devotions

More information will be posted here after the presentation.

CNL - Catholic News Live iOS/Android Mobile App

Catholic News Live - CNL App IconThe second app developed by Midwestern Mac is Catholic News Live, or CNL for short. This app, which is the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad/Android interface for the content aggregated by the Catholic News Live website, showcases a simple list and map layout on mobile phones and tablets, as well as Drupal's great flexibility.

The Catholic News Live website uses the Drupal distribution Managing News, which allows the site administrator to add news feeds that are automatically imported on a set schedule from websites all around the world. Each story is geotagged with a location (if proper locational keywords exist in the article), and then stories have latitude and longitude values for map display.

On Developing for Android... or Not

After having jumped into the pool of mobile app development head first (more on that to come), I finally have a little more perspective when it comes to developing for iOS vs. Android.

One of the first things that I did when I started developing an App for iOS is purchase an iPod Touch. There's no way I wanted to be using my iPhone for all my development work, and I needed a device I could acquire quickly, at a low cost (i.e. without a contract), and not worry about battery life, durability, etc.

Plus, I know tons of people with iPod Touches already—most are people who don't want to spend an outrageous amount of money on a 'smartphone' plan with one of the major US carriers, but want a great mobile computing device/PDA/media player.

So, buy the iPod Touch for ~$200, download Xcode, and you're good to go for iOS development. Plus, the whole App Store process, while it's a bit convoluted at times, is very well structured, and offers developers easy avenues towards getting an app from development to sale to success with little effort required.

Of course, as I'm getting nearer and nearer the App's release, I'm hearing calls from all corners of Geekdom, "When you gonna release for Android?!" And the more frequent the cries of distress, the more frequently I look around for ways that I can/should start developing for Android.

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