22
Mar
11

How to Develop A “First Application” for Android

Me liking Python doesn’t make Java any lesser of a language…

Yeah, as usual, it is another of the projects that I “HAD” to undertake. Not for grades this time though. Just helping one of the professors along…

AIM:

Given an excel spreadsheet of sampled values of a waveform, recreate the moving waveform on an Android display. More than one concurrent waves may be there.

Preparation:

  1. Download Android SDK and AVD manager from http://developer.android.com and install it.
  2. From within the above tool, download some stuff, specifically, the samples, desired SDK platforms, and documentation.. Hefty >200 MB download though.
  3. Set up Eclipse ADT plugin. (This is a blessing for Android development)
  4. Start digging through the documentation.
  5. Plan out your approach.
  6. Do the Hello World tutorial.

Creation (specifically for my project):

  1. Used the SurfaceView class as drawing surface for the animation. Seemed simple against the other alternatives.
  2. Used Path class to recreate waveform from points(at this moment, random points, data is not yet available).
  3. Test.
  4. Used Apache POI (User model) to convert excel spreadsheet data into a Java understandable format.
  5. Changed code written in step 2 to take input from step 4 and display non-random, user-supplied data.
  6. Quite notable is the fact that the storage options on Android are varied, and suitable for a wide variety of uses. I chose by my personal taste, the Internal Storage. The aim being not persistent storage across invocations, but persistence while the data is being readied for presentation.
  7. Integrated everything.
  8. Test.

Work Still To Be Done(in my project):

  1. Performance Sucks: As soon as I’ll put some labels/controls on the SurfaceView, my performance will hit rock-bottom. Still trying to figure a way out.
  2. Usability: Some work on User controlled customization, like animation speed, pause etc. is not done.
  3. Storage: My current storage solution is not even a storage solution. Its just a dumpster :D.. If I go public with this, I’ll need a better and more logical storage architecture.

Time Taken:

I’m writing this 11 days into the task. Out of which most of the days were wasted in lazying around. Engineering you know.

And just today, the Professor came to my room to see the progress 😀 That’s a first

If you’re one of the guys who’ll foolishly wanna ask me for help, see ways to really contact me here..

Conclusion:

  • Android has one of the best documentations around, and trust me when I say, I’ve read some good ones.
  • Easy to build and test once you know Eclipse and Android Debug Bridge
  • You’ll never ever complete a project without Open Source technologies if you’re not working on .Net (I used Apache POI)
  • Java is still slow. Faster than last I checked on my Symbian (:P) but still slow.
  • Google rocks. Always.
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