Geek Garage

Find inspiration in awesome ideas.

Tag: app design

Android, how to programmatically get a ressource

BIG T3 view

On BIG T3, the flags are resources loaded dynamically.

This was my problem: in the application Brothers In Games T3, I needed to display some images depending on a parameter. Those images are country flags and are the one of the country where the event is located. Those flags images are resources stored in the app. Their name is standardized with the country ISO code.

Now, how to load a resource when you have to compose its name ? I mean something more elegant than a brute if country then load resource elsif other country…

Fortunately, Android offers an elegant and easy way to do so, but maybe not that obvious, so lets see how it works.

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Referencing a local aar file in Android Studio

If you have created a library in Android Studio, you certainly want to use it in another project. The easiest way should be to create the aar file and then reference it from your new project. Prior to Android Studio 0.4.4, referencing local aar files was not supported as you can see from Xavier Ducrohet or in this issue report.

But there is an easy workaround for this. Lets see what we have to do, lets say, after you’ve created a stand alone library.

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Parsing RSS feed from an Android device

When it comes to RSS feed parsing, any Java developer will use the org.xml.sax library. But Android provides a nice wrapper that simplifies the code without sacrificing the performances. This wrapper is present since API level 1 and is the easiest way to write a simple parser for any XML.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to parse a RSS feed using the android.sax package. I’ll use Geek Garage’s feed. As any XML parsing, using the android.sax package, you can ignore the elements you don’t need, so, I’ll only collect some of the items.

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Create a standalone library with Android Studio

As a software developer, you know that reusable ressources should be in libraries. Android is a Java-based technology, so, your library can be a jar file. But if you want to store some Android specific resources, you need to create a Android Library Project.

Google released Android Studio as the main development platform for Android. Android Studio is a packages IntelliJ Idea environment and relies on Gradle for the build management. At the time being, it is a little unclear how to manage a library so this is a first tutorial.

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How to respectfully get your user contact details ?

My app KipinTooch is a kind of contact management app. I created it with the following intentions:

  • Have a better view among the common informations from different contacts.
  • Highlight the relations between contacts.
  • Allow a batch modification for those informations.
  • Help filling informations in a contact card based on similar contacts.

I also wanted the starting point to be the user. So, the app need to gather some informations about the user. But I also wanted the app to be self-sufficient. The app should process data from the phone and everything is done on the phone. No third party social network, no sending to a unknown distant server which would do its magic. This is what I call to be respectful: the user private data remains private and on its device.

This mean that if you want to provide the user some similar informations, you can only rely on what’s on the device. In this post, I will show you how you can gather those informations.

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Create your first SourceUrl object.

We have defined our model and created the database tables. But we still didn’t completed the User Story we’ve defined. Using Django, having our model, we’ll just let the framework do the job.

Other frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Grails follow the Convention over Configuration paradigm for that purpose. Django is a little different. Instead of providing a scaffold for forms and display pages, it do provide an entire backend, the admin site.

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HelpBridge, the emergency app you will not use during a disaster

Microsoft just unveiled a emergency disaster app, HelpBridge. HelpBridge have two main functions as you are caught in a disaster or want to help. So it makes easier to send a message to a list of selected contacts should it be by e-mail or text message. It also provides a list of non-profit organizations involved in disasters help so you can find all the informations to help. Sounds like a good idea, isn’t it ?

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Snapseed, from iOs to Android

This year, Google acquired Nik Software. Nik Software is lately renown on iOs for their awesome photo editing app, Snapseed. Needless to say that every photographer expected to see this app coming on Android devices. This Thursday, Google updated the iOs app and of course, released Snapseed on Google Play. I will not have an extended review in this blog post, if I wanted so, I would have posted this on my photography blog. If you don’t know Snapseed, there are other great reviews on the web. Actually, there is far more interesting about this app. As everybody see that Google try to challenge Instagram, there is a lot to learn from the evolution of this app, should it be from the user or the developer point of view.

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