Back from Android Developer Lab

I had a good day at the Android Developer Lab. It was pretty freeform with a short presentation, lunch and then diving right into device testing. We got our hands on:

  • Motorola Droid
  • HTC Tattoo
  • LG Eve
  • Samsung Behold II

I concentrated on the Tattoo and Droid because of their non-standard screen resolutions. The Reader Widgets worked with only minor alignment issues on the large widget on the Tattoo. A fix is on its way.


Android Developer Lab London 19th Nov

I applied to go to the first Android Developer Lab in London but that filled up too quickly. They’re putting on a second one on Thursday this week which I am going to. If anyone also attending wants to say hello, I’ll be carrying a blue backpack and answering to the code word ‘Ubik’. Or the name Mark. Looking forward to getting my hands on some shiny new Android 2.0 hardware and meeting some fellow devs.


Android 1.6: still no animated GIF support

I was just playing around with my newly updated G1 and realised that animated GIFs still do not animate on it. This has been an Android bug since day 1 in both the browser and ImageView. If you visit a web page containing an animated GIF all you will see is the first frame and nothing else. This annoyed me a bit when it was in 1.5 (cupcake) but the fact that its still in 1.6 (donut) is amazing. Android users may have noticed that ads in apps downloaded from the market are just static images and/or text. The Adfonic ads in my Reader Widget Small app are text only because of this bug. I can’t believe that Google, a company built by ad money, has let this one slide for so long. Animated GIF ads can be annoying but to leave developers without the option to use them is very restrictive. Rant over.

android webapps

Reader Widgets and Android 1.6

I have installed the official Android 1.6 (aka Donut) ADP build on my G1. I’ve done some initial testing and found that both Reader Widget Small and Reader Widget Pro work on it. I have also uploaded screen shots for both to the market (only visible in the 1.6 version of the market). PubCrawler still works too. Now where is my Android 1.6 build for my Hero, HTC? 🙂


Google Reader Widget: The First Month

Its been a month since I uploaded my Reader Widget Small to the Android Market so I thought this was a good arbritrary point to post an update. Since then there have been over 2000 downloads and 48 ratings at an average of about 4 stars which I’m very pleased with.

There are some minor updates I need to make to this version and work is progressing on the “Pro” widget. I also have some ideas for non-Google Reader widgets but it will probably be a while before I get to those!


Reader Widget 1.2

After some feedback from the guys over at xda-developers I changed the background of the Reader Widget to a more standard one:


I have also fixed the onclick action so that it work for browsers other than the default e.g. Steel.
The layout of the configuration screen is improved and it scrolls when the phone is horizontal now.
Get the updated version at the usual place.

I have also uploaded this version to the Android Market as a free app. Search for “reader small” and it should appear. If you download it from there please rate it. Any feedback is welcome.


My First Android App: The Reader Widget

I’ve been developing an Android widget over the past few days. It uses the Google Reader API to find the number of unread items in Google Reader. It also displays the most recent unread item time. Get it here.
After installation go to your home screen, press Menu, Add, then Widgets and it should be in the list.

Reader Widget


  • Android 1.5 (cupcake)
  • Google Reader Account
  • Install applications from unknown sources enabled (in SettingsApplications)


  • Compact 1×1 cell size
  • Automatic authorization against Google Reader API (no username and password required)
  • Configurable update period from 10 mins to 24 hours
  • Most recent unread item time displayed
  • Touch or click on it to launch Google Reader browser window

Give it a try. I might even upload it to the market. The reason its called “ReaderWidgetSmall” is because I’m planning on creating larger versions that show more info about what’s new in your Google Reader feeds.


PubCrawler now has manual location

PubCrawler now has manual location functionality. When Google Gears is not installed it falls back to asking for location in a JavaScript prompt(). With or without Gears on the map screen the location can be changed with a new button. Another minor change is the removal of the map buttons at the bottom for everything but Android devices. iPhones can use multitouch gestures to zoom and drag the map (Google’s functionality not mine!). For Android 1.5 I have added drag functionality myself though.

Coming soon: HTML5 database to save crawls on iPhone (instead of Google Gears DB which Android uses).


PubCrawler Web App

My first mobile web app is PubCrawler. It finds pubs in your location automatically and can show you a route around them. Navigate from pub to pub and save the number of pints drunk in each. Crawls are saved for viewing later.
Its being developed in HTML, CSS 3.0 and JavaScript using Google Gears GeoLocation, Maps API, Local Search and dojo Toolkit. Google Gears is required. It works on:

  • Android phones like the T-mobile G1
  • Windows Mobile 6 with Opera Mobile 9.5 technology preview build (go to in the browser to install Gears)
  • Firefox 3 with Google Gears installed (although the CSS 3.0 elements won’t look right)
  • Google Chrome

On first visit a prompt will pop-up asking you if you trust the site to use Gears. If you don’t click the accept button it won’t work.