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1846 posts

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# 171171 8-Apr-2015 22:00
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I've been getting more and more frustrated that apps I like can't do something weird and bespoke to me that I wish they could so am thinking about just developing my own.

I know a little bit of the basics of coding in Java/XML but not a whole lot. Mostly syntax rules rather than how it's all put together.

I am very experienced with graphical editing software and have begun to mock up what I am after visually, following the Material Design guidelines. And yes, i know WYSIWYG editors aren't that fantastic but I'm wondering if they are more my style.

All the app/s will need to do is display info from other running apps on a card-like interface which I can swipe away. Very pseudo google now, but not google now. I understand Lollipop brought in some simplified code to achieve this but this will obviously mean my app is limited to devices running Lollipop, yes?

Has anyone done a similar leap from nearly complete ignorance to a workable app and have some tutorial references they found useful? There are literally millions of tutorials on the web, but many seem outdated or are poorly written. Is Lynda really the best option?

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  # 1279354 8-Apr-2015 22:23
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if you're interested in developing for Windows 10 platforms (desktop/tablet/phone/xbox etc), and you're in Auckland on May 30, come along to the then come along to the NZ //build/ tour event for free:  http://bit.ly/buildnz

there are also some Microsoft Virtual Academy courses on developing for Android using Visual Studio (fully featured 'community' edition available for free):
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/cross-platform-development-with-visual-studio
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/-cross-platform-development-with-xamarin-visual-studio
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/building-blocks-extend-cloud-connected-mobile-apps

i'm sure there are plenty of other resources on the www to help you get started in android app programming too, maybe somewhere like pluralsight




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  # 1279490 9-Apr-2015 09:39
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If your in Christchurch one of the courses at CPIT covers Android App development, I can find out more if relevant.




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D.W

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  # 1279501 9-Apr-2015 09:59
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I found the official Android training material to be very helpful.

 

 

https://developer.android.com/training/index.html

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  # 1279505 9-Apr-2015 10:11
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The "for dummies" books are actually pretty good if you don't have much background. I read "AWS For Dummies" as my first step towards certification, it covered a lot of the basics in a way that was easier to understand than the documentation.

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  # 1279512 9-Apr-2015 10:15
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Regs: if you're interested in developing for Windows 10 platforms (desktop/tablet/phone/xbox etc), and you're in Auckland on May 30, come along to the then come along to the NZ //build/ tour event for free:  http://bit.ly/buildnz
 

Any excuse for a shameless plug huh? That wouldn't be because noone is going to bother writing apps for Win 10, would it? No offence intended, and this is getting off topic from the original post but I really don't see a future for Universal/Windows 10 apps, any more than there was one for Windows 8/8.1 apps, or Silverlight, or WPF, etc...

Regs:
there are also some Microsoft Virtual Academy courses on developing for Android using Visual Studio (fully featured 'community' edition available for free):
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/cross-platform-development-with-visual-studio
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/-cross-platform-development-with-xamarin-visual-studio
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/building-blocks-extend-cloud-connected-mobile-apps

i'm sure there are plenty of other resources on the www to help you get started in android app programming too, maybe somewhere like pluralsight


Back on topic, it's worth pointing out that if you're going to look at using Visual Studio to build your app in this way, then you will be using PhoneGap/Cordova, and in fact actually building a WEB app that is packaged up inside an android app for installation on the device. This means you need to learn HTML and CSS, plus Javascript. And there is no (unless it's been added since I played with an early beta) WYSIWYG editor if that is what you're after. So you'll need to become proficient in using CSS for coding your layout. 

The phonegap approach would however mean that you could (in theory) ship your app to iOS and Windows Phone devices also with only a relatively small amount of additional effort.

Personally though, given what you've told us of your background, and your requirements, I'd suggest that you go with google's Android Studio. They have online training and reference material to help you out also, here.


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  # 1279522 9-Apr-2015 10:42
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Personally, I'd stay well clear of anything MS to do with Android... this would be like, well, using MS tools to develop MySQL. Or Apple tools to develop for Windows.

When I did some Android (play) development a year or two back, I did it all in the NetBeans environment. But that was more because I was already using NB for Java development. Probably Eclipse would also have Android plugins.

There's a bit of learning to do with Android wrt to the user interface model... it's similar to, but significantly different from, other Java UI's like Swing or JavaFX2.


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  # 1279531 9-Apr-2015 10:57
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frankv: Personally, I'd stay well clear of anything MS to do with Android...


Again, getting off topic a bit, I find it humerous that you'd assert that, without providing any evidence that you've ever tried it. Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE is, in my (and many, many other people's) opinion the best all round IDE going. Bar none. I've used many development tools in my twenty something years in software development, from turbo pascal on a Mac back at uni, to System 390 mainframe assembler, through 4GLs and web development tools. Visual Studio is better than anything you will get that can do more than one type of development.

That's not to say that there aren't better tools for specific jobs however...And if you were going to go down the phonegap/cordova hybrid app route, because you're effectively building a website, Visual Studio is actually a great choice, given the recent integration of the necessary tools for doing this job.

frankv:
When I did some Android (play) development a year or two back, I did it all in the NetBeans environment. But that was more because I was already using NB for Java development. Probably Eclipse would also have Android plugins.

There's a bit of learning to do with Android wrt to the user interface model... it's similar to, but significantly different from, other Java UI's like Swing or JavaFX2.



Eclipse does have Android plugins - that's the original pure Java way to develop for Android in fact. However they "recently" released Android studio which is now "The Official Android IDE"



 
 
 
 




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  # 1279552 9-Apr-2015 11:45
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I do have a fair bit of CSS and HTML understanding so could fudge my way through that part easily enough but I'd kind of like to use this project as a side hobby and learn a new skill.

I'll have a look at the Dummies books. Never considered that they would actually be that helpful.

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  # 1279561 9-Apr-2015 12:12
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markl: 

Again, getting off topic a bit, I find it humerous that you'd assert that, without providing any evidence that you've ever tried it. Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE is, in my (and many, many other people's) opinion the best all round IDE going. Bar none. I've used many development tools in my twenty something years in software development, from turbo pascal on a Mac back at uni, to System 390 mainframe assembler, through 4GLs and web development tools. Visual Studio is better than anything you will get that can do more than one type of development.


Getting further OT, and just to humer you... I don't currently use VS (only because the installer doesn't work on my (Windows) system), but have been using it in various incarnations since well before VB6 was the answer to every Windows developer's dreams. But I never used it for cross-platform development. And I'll see your Turbo Pascal and assembler, and raise you a MS Pascal, a dozen other assemblers, Forth, and a teletype as a user interface device.

But my point is that MS, truth be told, would be only to happy if Android was to disappear off the face of the Earth. Under these circumstances, they will always make it easier to develop for their own OS than Android, and expecting MS to provide the best Android development system would be like expecting the Pope to lead you to Buddha.



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  # 1279564 9-Apr-2015 12:24
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Depending on your skill level you should try this out;

http://www.b4x.com/b4a.html

I currently use this to develop Android apps. Its certainly a lot easier and there is a free trial. Code is native Java on the other end.

However in saying that I have (as a result) had to learn Java anyway to write additional libraries for B4A.





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  # 1280093 9-Apr-2015 23:36
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frankv: 

But my point is that MS, truth be told, would be only to happy if Android was to disappear off the face of the Earth. Under these circumstances, they will always make it easier to develop for their own OS than Android, and expecting MS to provide the best Android development system would be like expecting the Pope to lead you to Buddha.



I don't agree - given how much money Microsoft makes from Android, and the disastrous (sales) reception that both Windows Phone and Windows RT have received, your assertion makes no sense. Add to that the fact that Microsoft have been investing serious time and effort into developing apps for Android (Office Mobile, Onenote, Next Lock Screen, Onedrive to name just a few) and I really don't know why you think that way. Microsoft are no longer the big bad meanie trying to topple any and all current and potential competitors. It's a new world, friend. It really is. 



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