Adding a YouTube Feed to your App

This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of article detailing how to find feeds for your Andromo apps.

If you have a YouTube account your YouTube channel can be a great source of content for your Andromo app. Finding your feed can be a bit tricky, as the correct feed URL isn’t that obvious, however once you know the trick it’s pretty simple.

The URL

YouTube has a handy Interactive YouTube API Demo Beta that you can use to find and configure your feed links, but for this article we will use the following:

http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/base/videos?orderby=published&author=USERNAME

Where USERNAME is your YouTube username.

For this example we are going to use my YouTube account, so my feed URL is the following:

http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/base/videos?orderby=published&author=markIndigoRose

Adding the Activity

Now let’s add the activity to Android. First go to the Activities tab and add a new RSS/Atom New Feed.

Activity Tab

Add RSS/Atom News Feed

Activity Settings

Now let’s configure the new activities settings. We’ll set the “Activity Name” to be: Mark's YouTube and the “RSS/Atom Feed URL” to be the URL from above.

The YouTube feed does not have thumbnails so we will uncheck the “Show Thumbnail Images (Media RSS)” checkbox.

Finally we’ll use the Andromo mascot (Andy) as the icon and that’s it.

RSS/Atom News Feed Settings

What does it Look Like?

Here are some screenshots of the app running on an Android phone:

Dashboard

Feed Data

Feed Item View

Invest Some Time Learning a Graphics Tool

I can’t say that I’ve ever had an interest in graphic design, nor have I really had a need to create anything complicated. Knowing the basics has gotten me by for any personal tasks, and professional tasks. However, while creating android applications using Andromo, I quickly realized the potential of how much nicer my applications could look if I could take advantage of all of the features of a graphics program. I knew how I wanted it to look, but just couldn’t translate that to the screen, and there wasn’t really time to delve into graphics tutorials.

While it’s certainly possible to purchase or find free content, it can be hit and miss when you have something specific in mind.

I do understand that just because you’re fluent in a particular graphics program, doesn’t mean you can create something sexy. However, if something I’ve created doesn’t look the greatest, but I know I’ve used all the tools available to me, I’m ok with that. All in all, learning to use a graphics tool beyond the basics will surely come in handy, and that’s something I’ve put onto my ‘todo’ list…ok that would be…umm…#53.

Andromo Lives. 11:08 PM CDT 2011-08-24

Epic fun. Andromo.com DNS A (host) records propagating now…

Running on multiple load-balanced web servers and back-end database servers. 100% Ruby on Rails. Multiple build daemons calling compiled Java through Ant. Nerd cool.

Check it out – http://www.andromo.com

Andromo is the App Maker for Everyone!™ In as little as five minutes, you can make an Android app to promote your business or launch your million-dollar idea. Follow the simple steps and plug in your content (things like websites, images, HTML/CSS pages, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, eBay, Blogger, iTunes, Tumblr, MySpace, LinkedIn and other RSS and Atom feeds). Andromo will turn it into a professional app that runs on millions of Android smartphones and tablets. And the best part is that it’s free…

Rock on!

SimpleDateFormat can be slow

EDIT: Actually the contents of this post are only 1/4 correct. It’s all right to use the default locale if the date you are formatting does not contain any locale specific strings (i.e. an ISO date) however if it does contain locale specific strings it’s a good idea to use the Locale.en_US which should be cached along with Locale.getDefault() in future iterations of the Android OS.

When we were testing some Andromo made apps we seeing the following lines creep up in our logfile:

08-23 15:40:44.342: INFO/Resources(4152): Loaded time zone names for en_US in 282ms.

In some instances the time amount was creeping up to 800ms and a few times it was over one second. As you can probably guess that amount of time in the UI thread resulted in some janky apps.

We knew that the problem had to do with time zones but try as we might we couldn’t find the issue. That was until we found Android Issue 3147. This was happening both on a 2.1 phone device and on a 3.0 Honeycomb device, so I’m not sure how fixed the issue is yet.

But the issue did point us in the right direction: the default locale.

In the end we switched from using the following code to parse dates (which uses the US locale for the date formatting):

new SimpleDateFormat(pattern, Locale.US);

To the following:

new SimpleDateFormat(pattern, Locale.getDefault());

Which uses the user’s preferred locale for the date formatting. Bye-bye janky date parsing.

So that little switch sped our test apps up a metric tonne, and we ended up with code that’s actually more correct.

Maybe this will help other Android programmers searching for google results in the future.

Edit:

If you are interested in what the dates look like (or skeptical) in different locales here are three examples:

More Andromo Apps in the Android Market

We’ve got a couple more Andromo apps in the Android Marketplace:

Tech Watch

If you like to keep up-to-date with all the newest gadgets and technology news, look no further. Tech Watch is an application that delivers all the latest gadget and technology news from some of the most popular sources, straight to your mobile device.

Red Brick Music

Red Brick Music is your one stop app for music news. Find out what’s happening in the music world at any time right on your mobile device. Explore some of the hottest and most interesting music feeds from around the world, from mainstream to indie and back, all in one easy to use app.

If you you love music this is the app for you.

So there you have it, Andromo is growing and getting closer and closer to being made public. Not much longer everyone, watch this space and you’ll be in the know.

First Andromo App in the Android Market!

Getting closer to a public release everyone! The first Andromo built application has arrived in the Android Market: Developer News for Android

You can view my example video here:

This is an app that I’ve been working on as part of my Andromo testing regime and now that everything at andomo.com is getting stable I thought it would be a fun idea to release it into the wild for anyone to test and try out. After all using the device may help explain Andromo better then any blog post I could write.

I know we’re not live yet but we are getting close…see you soon.

Oh and I even have this fancy button:

Available in Android Market

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility?

Wow, just got into the office this morning and I was looking at google+ and I saw this: Supercharging Android: Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility linked to by Reto Meier.

Now maybe I’ve had my head in the code for too long but I for one did not see this coming. The post by Larry Page seems (as far as I can tell) to cite strengthening Google’s patent portfolio as one of the reasons for this purchase. But I wonder what this means for Android? Less fragmentation? More devices that always get updates to latest version of Android? More Android tablets? Either way it should be interesting.

There is some more information on the Google Investor Relations site and even a live webcast of a conference.

Building an app in less than five minutes

Happy Friday everyone! Here is a short video demonstrating how fast you can build Android apps using andromo.com

Build an Android App using andromo.com

Again this is a very early version of andromo and things will likely change before we go public.

More Sneak Peeks

I’ve been asked to highlight a few more features of Andromo by a multiple unnamed people so I thought I would oblige via additional screen shots. If you have anymore questions or would like to see anything that I haven’t highlighted please comment on this blog. Remember that we are still in active development and when you eventually log into andromo.com to create Android apps things will likely change.

The Action Bar

The action bar will show the title of the current activity and when clicked a drop down will appear allowing you to easily jump to any other activity in the app.

ActionBar

Switch activities using the action bar

The colours for the action bar (and almost everything else you see) are all customizable via the Andromo web interface.

Action Bar Colour Settings

Action bar colour settings

The Dashboard

The dashboard (highlighted in my previous post) is the “home” activity for you app. This will show all of the different activities in your app and is fully customizable. Users can get back to the dashboard at any time using the home icon on the action bar.

You can even use different icons

You can add background textures; images; and configure margins and colours in order to tailor your dashboard to you content. We wanted to strike the right balance between customization and simplicity so we streamlined the choices down to the most important and powerful options.

Andromo dashboard settings

Configure your settings online

Andromo dashboard

My dashboard now with more droids

Sharing Content

Users can share content from within your app easily using long-clicks, a button on the action bar, or the options menu. For an example of a tweet from my test app you can visit my (very new) Adromo twitter account: http://twitter.com/#!/MarkAtAndromo

share

Share with others

The About Dialog

The about dialog for my test app, automatically created by Andromo and filled with the appropriate information.

About Dialog

About dialog with information about your app

More to come…but for now I really should get back to programming so that you can check out all the features yourself.

Andromo Sneak Peek

I’ve been quiet around here for a few weeks so I thought I’d spice things up and post a sneak peek at test App I’ve been making using Andromo. It’s not finished but it may give you an idea of what is possible using Andromo. The screen shot was taking on a Motorola Xoom running Honeycomb.

Test App made with Andromo

Test App made with Andromo

More soon!

Edit: For those wondering (Lorne) yes I know that all of those icons are the same, this is a test app, but I still wanted to use something Android related. And for the rest (Ulrich) the screen shot is my test app’s “dashboard”. Each of the icons represents one activity in my app. You can click on them to jump to that activity or use a drop down in the action bar. I’ll look into posting more screen shots as things develop.

And yes this app was generated without having to write any code.