Posts Tagged ‘Programming’

Nobody talks of “fragmentation” in the windows world. No one talks about “fragmentation” in the Mac world. Yet for some reason no one talking about mobile neglects to talk about “fragmentation” in Android.

Yes there are multiple versions of the OS out there and running on handsets, so what? There are still people – albeit a very small fraction of total users – running Windows 98 or ME. There are still people that run Tiger or Panther or even older versions of MacOS, so what? They run this because that’s what works on the hardware that they have or they need an app that won’t work on a more modern version or because they just don’t want to upgrade.

Developers programming for a desktop (and by desktop I mean, non-mobile) environment are used to dealing with multiple screen resolutions, different OS versions and all the other issues that can arise because of the choices that users make. People who develop for Linux have even more issues – there are so many variations of Linux out there that there are bound to be issues because you wrote and tested your application on Ubuntu but not on Red Hat. This is a part of the development world.

Just because Apple in its infinite wisdom has decided to create a closed system in the mobile space where only certain screen resolutions are supported and everything is very neat and tidy doesn’t mean that this is the best thing for users – or for developers. The truth of the matter is that people like being able to choose what’s best for them. The Apple system is fine – it gives a good uniform user experience and makes life a little bit easier for developers because they know exactly what they are going to be seeing on the handset. With that, it’s not right for everyone.

Android – with all of its issues – gives the user the choice of how s/he wants the phone to look and behave. The control of exactly what OS version is running. The choice of a bigger screen or a higher resolution. Yes developers have to work a little bit harder to take these things into account and yes this can lead to having an app that doesn’t work on one phone or another. Most developers, when they run into a phone specific issue go out and fix them – and usually pretty quickly.

Android is not a fragmented system. Nor is MacOS, Windows or Linux. each offers different options and capabilities to users and developers. Enough already with the F-word. Start calling it what it is – choice for developers. Choice for handset manufacturers. Most importantly, it’s choice for users.

I just want to give some advice to webmasters everywhere.

1. Not everyone uses Internet Explorer – check to make your site works with other browsers as well.  It’s very annoying to have to switch browsers to use your site – and unless there’s a real reason to use it, I probably won’t.

2. Flash doesn’t work on mobile devices – I can understand that you don’t want to have a special “mobile” website, but remember that in this day and age a lot of surfing is done from mobile devices.  Especially if your site is for a place that people might want to go to like a restaurant or a store, make sure there is a way to have your address and phone number accessible.

3. Google and other search engines only look at text – if you have a Flash only site, it’s not going to do well in search engines and you’ll end up spending a fortune to some SEO person to tell you this.

Thank you.

SMS Location version has been released and is available on the Android Market.   I added some new features:

* Drop down linked to the contacts for ease of picking the recipient (OK this was done in yesterday’s but today I made it able to search both first and last names!)

* The message is editable prior to sending.  It’s limited to 160 characters for now but if I get requests I’ll remove the limit.

* The message is split if necessary since some languages are limited to 70 characters in SMS messages this could have caused problems in some countries.

That’s about it.  If you like the app, please go into the market and rate it and comment.  Thanks!

Just figured I’d post that I added a Contact drop-down to SMS Location.  Start typing in the contact name and it will show you all of the phone numbers.


Just a reminder – if you downloaded please go to the market and give a rating and maybe a comment or 2.  Thanks!

I’m planning on doing some revisions to SMS Location and adding the following features:

1. You can type a name and search contacts (similar to Handcent SMS)

2. Ability to send e-mail.

3. Ability to edit message prior to sending.

Hopefully I’ll release at least one of the features over the weekend.  If you have any other feature requests, leave them here (or better yet on the Market page along with a rating…) and I’ll see what I can do!


SMS Location Update

Posted: January 24, 2011 in computers
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I updated SMS Location to fix a problem where the link sent in an SMS would be used as the start location for a directions search and not show up as a search result.

A bit of Android programming

Posted: January 18, 2011 in computers
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As I said earlier I planned on taking the App Inventor version of the SMS Location app I did and writing it in Java.  It came out better – and smaller – and I’m thinking about publishing it in the Market.  I know there’s still some work to be done but I figured I’d upload a Beta version if anyone wants to try it.  If you do, let me know what you think – good bad or ugly – so I can work on getting it better.  Here’s the URL or just scan the QR code.

Download SMS-Location for Android

Well, I said I’d talk about programming so I will.   A few weeks ago one of my co-workers asked me if I knew of an Android app that would take your GPS co-ordinates (or address) and send them to someone via SMS.  It seems his wife was always having trouble telling him where she was and he needed some help being able to find her.  I thought about it for a minute and realized I knew of an app that displayed the co-ordinates and one that sent by e-mail but none that sent by SMS.  Since Google had just made App Inventor open to the public I decided this was a good time to try it out.  4 or 5 hours of work later I had this – it will SMS the address or co-ordinates of the phone to any recipient in the contacts list.  I had the base of it up and running in less than 2 hours and gave it some finishing touches and debugging with the rest of the time.  My next Android project?  Writing the same app in Java…

Just scan the QR code to download the App Inventor version (Google still won’t let them be posted to the market 😦 )