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Android App Development: Blunders to Avoid

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, November 30, 2012
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Bangalore: Although, the mobile application development industry is a relatively new industry; however there have been many reports of blunders made by the application developers. The Android platform, the world’s leading smartphone platform with over 700,000 apps in the app store as of October 2012 is also not free from many blunders.

As the Android platform is rising in fame, many developers plunge into the platform. Unlike the iOS platform, the android smartphones available in the market today come in varied screen sizes and specifications which have made testing and development difficult. Moreover, apps designed for the iPhone are also compatible with the iPad and this proves to be an added advantage to the iOS developers. Not to forget, Apple’s iPad is leading the tablet category.

Developers ought to think of the various difficulties that they may face before planning to develop an app in the android platform. Take a look at some of the problems a developer can face in Android application development.

1.    Inadequate Support for Multiple Devices & Operating System Versions
Unlike the iOS platform, there is a multitude of smartphones with varied screen sizes, specifications and features that supports the android operating system. Not to forget, the various operating system versions and the different keypad layout.  All these features act as a hindrance in the development of android apps. Furthermore, an app developed for a particular operating system version may not work on another version.

Rob Szumlakowski on provided some tips to combat this problem. According to Rob, android app developers should use density – independent pixels (dp) or layout_weights to layout the User Interface for their application. The layout system can automatically scale the dp according to the screen sizes and density while for regions that are proportionally the same, layout_weights are useful.  He further advised app developers to use XML resources to layout the screen.

2.    Switching the App from free to paid is Impossible
Although the android platform allow a developer to launch free as well as paid apps and facilitates switching from paid to a free app, however, it is only a one – way process wherein a developer will not be able to switch his app back to the paid mode. For developers who would like to promote their paid apps, Todd Ogasawara on advised them to develop a “lite” version of the paid app and offer it for free during the promotion period.

3.    Loading Multiple Big Images is Impossible
A major problem faced by android smart phone users is their inability to load many large images. The main reason behind this problem is the relatively small size of the RAM. To overcome this problem and free up the RAM, Rob advised developers not to forget to set the callback to null and to use a combination of small images and XMl – drawables as much as possible.

4.    An iOS App Look- alike
Another blunder made by many developers is porting their iOS apps onto the android platform. It should always be remembered that what looks good and useful in the iOS platform may not be the same on the Android platform. Rob highlights the importance of going through the design guidelines provided by Google before building an app on the android platform on how an android app should look.

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