Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What is a good design?

  What is a well designed  and interest app? My question is not about functionality. Of course an app should work as intended. What I am interested in is what makes an app look visually appealing. Colors, layout, size and shapes all play a part in creating an enjoyable app. Whenever you create something you have to give it a look, a feel, a certain something that people connect with. Companies spend a lot of money designing their products as well as the advertisement. Imagine a world where things were create strictly for function. One color of car or one style of clothes. I really boring life.
   About a week ago someone new to making apps posted on Google  a layout mock-up that to me looked a bit dull and instead of writing out a comment I created a mock-up that looked a bit better to me. True it was far from perfect but I wanted to give him some ideas such as rounded corners on buttons. Comments I received on my post were less than complimentary. Basically they said it had an outdated look but no one said exactly what made it look outdated. So I did some research and could not find anything that said "This is an Android look" other than keep the interface simple. No fake 3D looking buttons. Then I went to Google play to see  what apps are selling and I don't see a theme  or a particular style. I guess it's much like art. What sells is what's in fashion but that does not mean it's great art.

10,000 hour to Mastery.
10,000 - 371 = 9629 hours left

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Three Letter fail

The difference between this:
<appwidget-provider xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"

and this :
<appwidget-getprovider xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"

is the letters "get", which was enough to prevent my version of an app from becoming a widget on the home screen. The app would work as a app but not as a widget. Android would not recognize it as a widget. Why I added "get" I don't know. It's not in the old example code and I went through it line by line. I had to modify it a bit because the example was a bit outdated, using things like "fill parent" instead of the newer way which is "match parent". Even though it was a "bear" of a problem, the good news is I was able to figure it out.

10,000 hour to Mastery.
10,000 - 366.75 = 9633.25 hours left

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Android video tutorials

A while back I decided not to include  videos in my "10,000 hours to Mastery" goal to master programming and more specifically my desire to make Android apps.  I spent the better part of last year getting to know Java and at some point the videos were redundant and were not adding to my knowledge. I still watched a few ( mainly game programming), so I decided not to count the time.  Now I have come back to Android [which I put aside until I had a better understanding of Java]. I think  Android videos can account for some of the time, as long as I have learned something new.

   I am progressing rather well [I think] with making graphic images, a skill I can apply to any Android Apps I create. I use Inkscape, Gimp  , Adobe CS2 , Paint.net  as well as Blender which can make some wonderful images. All of which you can download for free.

10,000 hour to Mastery.
10,000 - 360.25 = 9639.75 hours left

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Creating icons and buttons

My first button image.
My second button which can be used as a  starting  Icon.

   Every good app needs good looking Icons and buttons. I have been using the Gimp photo editing software. There are many tutorials online, I prefer the videos. You can find Gimp here- http://www.gimp.org/

   There is more to an app then just the code. You have to design the user interface to be simple and visually appealing. Nice colors and a 3D look is eye catching. You might have written the worlds best app but if people are turned off by the visuals  then your app will never be tried.

   The last few days I have not spent much time on Android code itself. My computer was acting buggy so I formatted my hard drive and re-installed the software , including Eclipse and Android which took a while to do.

10,000 hour to mastery.
10,000 - 352.75 = 9647.25 hours left

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Android changes

   I am reading again the Android books I first bought when I started this goal of making Android Apps. I made the mistake of buying the Android books first. After reading them and trying to do the examples they had I decided I really needed to learn Java first as well as learning Eclipse. It been a long struggle with limited time I am able to devote to study with an average of just over 1 hour per day. I have a much better understanding  but still feel like a beginner. Getting back to Android book has made me realize how quickly it is changing. I am coming across outdated examples which makes it hard to do them, I have to improvise solutions that result in the same outcome. On the bright side  it might help me in the long run.

I am not sure how much longer I will keep track of the amount of time spent. The advantage is that it gives me a measurable goal and incentive to keep going when I am at a low point.  

10,000 hour to mastery.
10,000 - 351.25 = 9648.75 hours left