Tag Archive for: android developers

Android App Development: How To Store Data Locally

There comes a time when every Android app developer will have to figure out how to store data locally. Fortunately, the Android development environment does provide all the tools for achieving this goal. 

But why would a developer want to store data locally? Aren’t more apps taking advantage of cloud storage lately? Yes, cloud storage has become commonplace and works incredibly well. However, it’s always a good idea to store your app’s settings, media files, and sensitive data locally in most cases. 

Since the Android developer documentation already provides guides and code samples for data storage, we won’t include any code snippets. On top of that, we’d need to show both Kotlin and Java examples, which would make this article unbearably long and complex for most readers. 

But what we’ll do is reveal how a developer can store data locally and cover this topic from several angles. It’s also preferable to have some background knowledge of the Android app development environment to follow along.

Various Ways To Store Data On Android

The beauty of Android’s file system is that it borrows much from existing disk-based file systems. Thus, it’s both easy-to-understand and versatile for several use cases. 

But don’t go rushing in without understanding the various data storage methods and when to use them. Here’s a brief rundown of how Android can save your app’s data: 

  • App-specific storage: Store data only meant for your app. It’s possible to store this data in an internal storage volume using dedicated directories or within external storage using different dedicated directories. 
  • Databases: With the Room persistence library, it’s possible to store data in a private database. 
  • Preferences: For storing private and primitive data within key-value pairs. 
  • Shared storage: Storing files that your app will share, such as documents and media files.

Data Storage Considerations

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to shift focus. After all, not every data storage solution mentioned earlier is right for your project. And as an Android developer, you should be asking yourself several crucial questions, such as the following:

Can my app reliably access the data? 

That depends entirely on how your app functions. For example, you could be developing a visual novel that autosaves the user’s progression. Every time the user launches the app, they’ll want to continue playing from their latest save.

Therefore, the best place to place the autosave file is in internal storage, where the app can access it immediately and reliably. Storing this file in external storage, such as an SD card, isn’t reliable because the user may remove it at any time. So, when the user launches the app, it will either crash or notify that it can’t find the autosave file, ultimately ruining the play experience. 

How much space does my app need to store data

Always keep in mind the limits of internal storage. Even though newer Android smartphones come with a respectable amount of storage, many users still carry older devices with a severely limited amount of internal storage

Therefore, if your app’s data storage requirements exceed the limits of most commonly-used phones, then consider using external storage.

What type of data will I need to store for my app?  

If you need to store data that only your app will access, you should use app-specific storage. However, if you’re storing documents and media files, you’ll want to use shared storage so that other apps can access these also.

And if you need to store key-value data, you should use preferences, and for data containing more than two columns, use a database instead.

Understanding Storage Locations And Permissions

As mentioned earlier, Android devices come with internal storage and external storage. Although, the size of the latter varies depending on the capacity of the SD card or other storage device that the user decides to insert or plug into their Android device.

And the majority of apps get installed in internal storage, provided they are small enough in size. While Google Play has a 150MB size limit for apps, developers can exceed that limit when utilizing Android App Bundles, an advanced app distribution system. 

For apps that stick within the 150MB size limit, it’s best to store these in internal storage. And if you use the Files app on your Android device, you’ll see that ‘Installed apps’ and ‘System apps’ use the internal storage. But users can move apps from internal storage to external storage with a few simple clicks. And why users often do this is to clear up space on their devices for other tasks.

To store and manage data on Android devices, developers must use the following permissions: MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, and WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE. 

And as of Android 11 (API level 30), the MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission allows write access to files outside MediaStore and the app-specific directory. In most use cases, apps no longer need to declare permissions. But developers should regularly read through the Android guides on how to manage the various file types, as methodologies often change with newer versions of the Android platform.

Know The Differences Between SQLite And Room

If your app needs to handle a large amount of structured data, you’ll want to use a database that utilizes internal storage. And you’ll also want to cache the data that’s most relevant to your app so that users can access it when they’re offline. However, it’s advisable to keep any cache files within the recommended size limit, preferably not exceeding 1MB. 

The good news is that the Android platform provides developers with two powerful tools for these purposes. Firstly, there’s SQLite, a database engine consisting of libraries that developers can embed in just about any app. And secondly, there’s Room, an abstraction layer that sits over SQLite and is a part of Android Jetpack’s libraries.

So, what does SQLite bring to the table that will benefit Android developers? It facilitates the creation of custom databases for developers knowledgeable in the Structured Query Language (SQL). And since Android provides complete support for SQLite from the get-go, most developers take advantage of this.

Renowned for its power and speed, SQLite is also a great choice if you require a comprehensive relational database. Also worth implementing if you anticipate that users will store data and run queries at regular intervals.

But what about Room, and why should developers use it when SQLite seems so effective? Google has made great strides in offering developers many handy tools as part of Android Jetpack. And for modern Android app development, every developer should consider using Kotlin and the Android Jetpack suite of libraries — and Room is one of those libraries.

Room offers the following advantages; annotations that reduce boilerplate code, simplified database migrations paths, and verification of SQL queries on compile-time. And due to these advantages, it’s recommended to use Room instead of directly utilizing the SQLite APIs.

The Bottom Line

Today, the Android app development environment is mature and offers developers many powerful tools. And these tools make it a relatively simple process to store data locally if it’s a requirement for your app to function as intended. 

Whether you need to store media files, sensitive information, or structured data, you have access to the tools and methodologies to do this properly. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal Android apps with the best-in-class tools!

Why Developing A Camera App For Android Makes Sense

Have you thought about developing a camera app recently? If that’s a yes, then you may be on the right path to creating your next killer app. And yes, we’re well aware that there’s plenty of competition in this space. We only have to take a quick look at the growing number of excellent camera apps for Android to confirm this.

But this is also a space that doesn’t stay static for too long. With constant smartphone camera innovations combined with the proliferation of content creation and social media use, there’s always a need for camera apps to evolve. So, if you plan on creating the next Android app that will drive strong user engagement, consider taking advantage of the camera.

1. Smartphone Manufacturers Are Constantly Improving Their Cameras

The Android smartphone market is rich and diverse. With vendors such as Google, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia, Oppo, Samsung, Sony, Vivo, and Xiaomi servicing a global market, consumers have plenty of options. Unlike Apple, which serves a predominantly higher-end market, Android devices do incredibly well in lower-income territories. However, many Android smartphone manufacturers also target well-heeled consumers with their flagship phones. 

And one area that manufacturers are continuously improving is the camera functionality of their smartphones. Lately, they’re implementing depth sensors, monochrome sensors, macro cameras, telephoto zooming, periscope cameras, and ultra-wide lenses. Thus, allowing users to take phenomenal snapshots at almost any angle, distance, and light condition. It’s also possible to shoot 4K videos with many higher-end Android smartphones, making them ideal for content creators.

2. Why Google Camera Is A Game Changer

As impressive as all this hardware is, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is the software, which makes all the difference in the world. We’re living in the age of computational photography, and that relies heavily on digital processing techniques. And these techniques are equally, if not more important, than what happens inside the camera lens.

Take Google’s Pixel line of phones, for example. These are neither the most expensive nor technically advanced smartphones on the market. However, they’re capable of capturing the most incredible pictures due to the processing initiated by the Google Camera app. And these post-processing algorithms are so good that ports of Google Camera have been made available for non-Pixel devices.

3. Every Content Creator Needs A Good Camera App

The average user will likely stick to the pre-installed camera app that comes with their smartphone. It may not necessarily be the best choice for taking breathtaking photos, but most users are only concerned about taking a selfie, at best. But there’s another type of user that cares about image fidelity, and that’s the content creator.

Popular platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube, have given rise to a new generation of content creators. And these content creators rely on high-quality video and digital photography to engage their audiences. Moreover, many of these creators are incredibly tech-savvy and always on the lookout for a good camera app that will give them an edge.

These are the types of users that regularly trawl Google Play to find an Android app that fulfills their needs. It could be an AI-powered camera app that automatically applies image filters. Or it could have improved UX design that makes it easier for the user to identify and adjust shutter speeds. The possibilities are almost endless! And with this growing demand from content creators, developers will need to rise to the occasion.

The Bottom Line

Developing an Android app that will take the world by storm is a challenging but not impossible endeavor. Luckily, smartphone manufacturers and content creators play a crucial role in driving forth innovation. Not only that, but they open up several opportunities that are worth pursuing, such as evolving the camera app. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop your upcoming Android app with trailblazing camera functionality.

Android App Development Without Programming

Android app development can be challenging, especially for developers with limited experience in Java or Kotlin. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as it’s possible to create phenomenal apps with no coding. Below, we unveil several handy tools that will let you complete your apps quickly and easily. 

1. Choosing An App Builder For Your Next Project

Perhaps you’re a novice developer or don’t have team members proficient in programming languages, such as Java or Kotlin. But you have a ton of great app ideas that you want to see come to fruition. So what do you do? Well, you could seek the services of a professional development studio to help you complete your project. But if that’s not an option, then you could consider using an app builder.

Nowadays, there are a plethora of app builders available that make Android app development a breeze. They make it easy for cash-strapped or non-technical appreneurs to create apps without typing a single line of code. Here’s a list of several popular solutions for developing Android apps on the fly:

  • AppMachine – Slick and powerful, AppMachine utilizes several pre-coded building blocks that help simplify the development process. More advanced users can integrate JavaScript and web services that further extend the features of this app builder.
  • Appy Pie – It’s a cloud-based development suite that allows non-technical developers to create chatbots, mobile apps, and websites. The company has introduced Android App Maker, a drag and drop solution integrating analytics without requiring Google SDK kits.
  • GoodBarber – GoodBarber offers either a content management system (CMS) or shopping app solutions. Using its drag and drop interface, non-technical developers can easily target Android, iOS, and the web.

2. No Coding Solutions For Mobile Game Developers

If you’re a mobile game developer, then you’re spoiled for choice as far as game engines and tools are concerned. And that’s due to the rise of indie and mobile gaming over the past decade. Thus, creating fertile ground for a variety of developer-friendly solutions that democratize game development.

While it’s possible to develop rudimentary games using an app builder, it’s not the wisest choice. And the reason for this is that modern game engines come with all the necessary tools geared almost exclusively for game development purposes. Here’s a shortlist of commercial game engines that allow you to complete projects with no coding at all:

  • Construct 3 – An easy-to-use web-based game development suite that’s ideal for making 2D arcade-style games. It uses a visual scripting system consisting of an event sheet with optional JavaScript integration.
  • GameMaker Studio 2 – It’s the grandaddy of user-friendly game engines, which helped bring game development to masses of hobbyists. Nowadays, it’s a professional suite renowned for its proprietary Drag and Drop™ system that facilitates rapid development.
  • Unity – Boasting an excellent editor and powerful tools, Unity has become the world’s most popular game engine. Developers gain access to several indispensable tools, such as Bolt, a node-based visual scripting asset.
  • Unreal Engine – As the most powerful tool on this list, it is the best choice for projects requiring high-fidelity visuals. Thus, the engine is incredibly complex but features its proprietary Blueprint visual scripting system, allowing designers and non-technical staff to create gameplay systems quickly.

3. Take Your Android App Development Endeavors To The Next Level

While app builders and off-the-shelf game engines make life easier, they may not always be the right choice for you. App builders are often limited and not suitable for more complex or specialized projects. Likewise, many popular game engines have certain limitations and are only suitable for specific game genres. Therefore, carefully consider whether your Android app will benefit from a more custom-made approach

If that’s the case, then it’s best to seek the services of a professional studio that specializes in Android app development. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help take your upcoming project to the next level!

7 Steps To Build An Android MVP App

Are you sitting on the fence of whether or not to build an Android MVP? Given the global proliferation of Android smartphones and other devices, it makes sense to support the platform. But it’s also a platform that’s harder to develop for than iOS, making some developers balk at the thought. While Android development does have its fair share of quirks, it’s still worth supporting in the long run. Follow these 7 steps to build an Android MVP app and reach users around the world. 

Why You Need An Android MVP App

The market for Android apps is dynamic and ever-growing. Unlike Apple’s tightly locked iOS ecosystem, Android is truly open. While most users download their Android apps from Google Play, that’s not the only choice available to them. Popular Android digital storefronts such as Amazon AppStore, Aptoide, and GetJar are several good alternatives. And smartphone manufacturers such as Huawei and Samsung have their brand-specific app stores, namely: Huawei AppGallery and Samsung Galaxy Apps.

Also, the Android platform makes it easy to sideload apps, allowing users to download and install apps from any source, including directly from the developer’s website. Undoubtedly, all these storefronts give developers ample opportunities to leverage their apps and grow their respective audiences further. Moreover, these storefronts make the perfect testing ground to try out new app ideas.

What all this means is that you should be developing an Android MVP if you’re targeting this platform. An MVP will allow you to reduce your costs and risks by focussing strictly on essential features. Then, you can test the viability of your ideas on a variety of markets and audiences. And once you receive feedback and analyze all relevant data points, you can then iterate your app MVP accordingly.

iOS MVP Example Takeaways

While Android’s a platform that every app developer should consider supporting, we have a few takeaways regarding iOS. From recent findings, iOS apps have higher engagement and retention rates. Furthermore, iOS users buy more purchasable apps and spend more on in-app purchases than Android users. And from a developer’s standpoint, it’s usually a faster and smoother process to develop and test iOS apps. Thus, iOS is better suited for creating an app MVP in most cases.

And to give you a brief idea about what this entails, let’s go over an iOS MVP example. NS804 developed Brew Trader, which is an app aimed at craft beer enthusiasts. The app helps them track down fellow aficionados located nearby and trade bottles in an efficient manner.

To develop this app, we set out to make our MVP ideation as simple as possible. While we initially listed down plenty of cool ideas, we eventually narrowed these down to the most relevant. The Brew Trader MVP ended up with three screens: a map showing bottle locations and the latest offers, a user profile, and a messenger so that users can DM each other. We built this MVP using the modern Swift programming language and by implementing a view controller design pattern.

1. Start With A Clear Purpose

One lesson that the above iOS MVP example offers us is that having a clear purpose is vital. As we’ve already revealed, Beer Trader is a simple and incredibly focused app. And that’s what defines most of the best and successful apps in the marketplace.

Before embarking on Android MVP development, you’ll need to ask yourself what problem you’re trying to solve. Ideally, you’ll come up with a no-frills solution that solves this one problem exceptionally well. Never try to solve many problems in your MPV, as it will lack direction and suffer feature creep.

2. Define Your Audience

We’ve mentioned how Android’s wide variety of storefronts make it easy to target a large audience beyond Google Play. However, audiences vary widely from storefront to storefront, and they all have different expectations. For example, Amazon AppStore users are more accustomed to purchasing apps and games in particular. But that’s not true for Aptoide users, who predominantly seek free apps without any geo-restrictions. On top of that, Google Play’s audience is incredibly diverse given the popularity of the platform.

So, what’s a busy Android developer to do? As always, you’ll want to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t try to target all these users and stick to one or two app stores initially. If you’re developing a premium app with in-app purchases, it makes sense to target Google Play and possibly Amazon AppStore users. 

But you’ll need to narrow down your target audience even further. Perhaps you’re creating a VR architectural visualization app that depicts Brutalist architecture. In that case, you’ll want to target architects and designers based in Canada, the Czech Republic, the USA, the UK, Russia, Serbia, and Sweden, where this type of architecture is prominent.

3. Think About What To Scale Back

Scaling back and finding your true minimum is one of the most important things you can do. But you should be careful, as you don’t want your Android MVP to be so devoid of features that it becomes useless. Aim for the least amount of features but ensure that they all work flawlessly. Be sure to implement or retain all core functionality relevant to your app and avoid or remove any fluff. While there are no guarantees, most users will find such an app valuable.

4. Create A Detailed Explainer

Clients, users, and stakeholders will want to know what your app MVP is all about. This presents the perfect opportunity to create a detailed explainer. Carefully lay out your plans, even if they don’t all make it into the MVP. Also, consider adding a roadmap so that your audience knows what you have planned in the months ahead. And use video, especially if your MVP relies heavily on graphics and other visual elements.

5. Design The UI and UX

You’ve worked hard on creating the logic for your app, so don’t skimp on the design work either. Ensure that you’re following best practices and guides aimed at Android developers. As you go about building your user interface (UI), consider how your app bar, bubbles, dialog windows, menus, pop-up messages, and other UI elements work together. Ultimately, you want a clean and cohesive UI that flows naturally. And look closely at engagement and usability, as these correlate with your MVP’s user experience (UX). 

6. Choose Your Language

A key benefit of Android development is that you can choose from several programming languages to create your project. Most developers will probably go with Java since this is the official language of the platform. However, in recent years, Kotlin has been gaining popularity since it’s similar but easier than Java.

For game developers, C++ is an apt choice, especially when optimal performance is essential. But Unity that uses the C# language has become a popular option amongst cross-platform and mobile game developers. And for simpler 2D games where performance isn’t a big concern, JavaScript and LUA are valid options. 

7. Create A Testing Group

Try to create a community that backs your app as early as possible. Even if you only manage to gain a small following early on, these users can be invaluable. Entice them with competitions and insider early access initiatives to test your app. Then, set up a robust feedback pipeline so that these users can conveniently share their thoughts with your team. Keep track of all this feedback and ensure that your team makes the necessary iterations. Finally, always thank and credit your users for all their contributions.

In Conclusion

Developing for Android can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. However, it’s possible to overcome the more challenging aspects of the platform by following these 7 steps. Contact us today to find out how NS804 can make your next Android app simply amazing.

What Are The Best Tools For Android App Development?

When embarking on the Android app development journey, you’ll need to choose the right tools. Google provides several excellent tools at no cost to developers to help them get started. But third-party vendors such as Microsoft and Unity also offer Android developers powerful and versatile solutions. We’ll be covering these in more detail below.

1. Choosing The Right Tools For Android App Development 

The world of Android software development can be fascinating and rewarding, provided you choose the right tools. Fortunately, there are several mature and robust tools on the market that facilitate a smooth development process. Here’s a shortlist of tools that every Android developer should have as part of their toolchain:

Android SDK – The official software development kit (SDK) that makes Android mobile app development possible. It contains several battle-tested libraries and tools for building, compiling, debugging, monitoring, and testing apps. 

Android Studio – All developers need an integrated development environment (IDE) to make their ideas come to life. And Android Studio is the quintessential IDE for Android developers, even though there are many alternatives in the marketplace. Moreover, it’s the official IDE for the Android platform and comes with an emulator, image files, and SDK. 

Unity – If you’re developing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps or games, consider using Unity. It’s a versatile game engine, renowned for its powerful and user-friendly editor and ability to build games for the most popular platforms with a single click. To target Android, you’ll need to download the Android Build Support module together with Android SDK/NDK and Open JDK.

2. When To Use Another IDE Instead Of Android Studio 

If you’re building native Android apps or targeting the platform exclusively, you’ll probably want to stick with Android Studio. But if you’re targeting Android, iOS, and Windows, you may prefer a cross-platform solution. And one of these is Xamarin, which utilizes Microsoft’s rich .NET ecosystem and tooling and offers native performance. However, Xamarin requires Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2019 IDE as a prerequisite.

3. Why You Should Consider Using Firebase

For a simple mobile app, you probably won’t need to access cloud services. But if you’re developing something more complex, you may require a suite of tools that allow easy integration to Google’s back-end infrastructure. And if you need analytics and authentication together with AdMob integration, then Firebase is a solid choice. Before forging ahead, consider Firebase’s pricing and hidden costs to see if it fits within your budget.

4. Always Profile And Test Your Mobile App

Your development team may be incredibly talented, but it would be a mistake to ship your app without profiling and testing beforehand. The good news is that both the Android SDK and Android Studio come with powerful profiling tools

Android SDK includes the Dalvik Debug Monitor Server (DDMS) that allows developers to emulate phone calls, examine threads, profile methods, view the heap, and gather information about the CPU, GPU, and frame rate. And the Android Studio IDE offers real-time monitoring of the CPU, GPU, memory, and network. 

5. Android Software Development Is Constantly Evolving 

Without a doubt, Android app development will be around for a long time still. There’s a massive international audience with an insatiable appetite for innovative apps released on the Google Play Store.

And while most developers will want to support both iOS & Android, they can’t go wrong if they can only support Android at the start. Moreover, they’ll find that Android’s tooling will only get better and more diverse with time. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you with your Android software development endeavors.

4 Major Obstacles With Android Freelance Projects

Major Obstacles Emerge With Android Freelance Projects

When it comes to mobile app development there are a few paths you can take. A modern, and popular option is to go with a freelance developer. However, as with any freelancing industry; it can be difficult to find the right match. Almost like dating. This is specifically true in the Android freelance projects market. Since Android is such a versatile Ios that really allows developers a sand-box-like feel, experts can make Android apps that are top-notch. Unfortunately, though, the average Android developer is likely not an expert.

That’s not to say it isn’t worth pursuing app development for Android, rather, that if you hire a freelance android developer – you should take caution to vet them thoroughly, and require multiple references.

Four Major Obstacles Faced in Android Freelance Projects

Getting to the heart of the matter, if you do choose to develop an Android project with an Android developer; you should be aware of these common obstacles that may emerge, and take mitigating preparatory steps.

Finding The Right Developer

This was already alluded to above, but there is an art to finding the right freelance developer, no matter the ios. In fact, there’s an art to finding the right freelancer period. Regardless of industry. However, there are ways to vet the freelance developers that you come across, such as requiring references and a proven portfolio.

Even with all of that, however, freelancers have a tendency to disappear. Create a written contract to further ensure yourself against the risk of using a freelance developer over an agency.

Ideas Don’t Belong To Anyone

While this may seem like a pleasant and idealistic statement, in the world of mobile app development, and western business in general, this is a very stark contrast to the way we operate. In some regions recreation or mockery, in the sense of copying someone’s success, is the highest form of flattery. However, in mobile app development – standing out and paving new paths is one of the best ways to be noticed.

No matter where you lay on the principal of the matter; protecting your informational property in the mobile app world is absolutely vital. Don’t let someone take your brilliance and make it their own.

Android Freelance Projects Take Longer

There is a library of reasons that freelance projects take longer in general, but specifically android freelance projects. Some of that has already been touched on in this article, with flakey developers who vanish, or timelines being extended beyond a reasonable limit. The list truly goes on and on. However, with the help of an agency app developer; your timeline will be strict and your app ready to launch before you know it.

Outdated Looks, Styles, Tones

Finally, the last risk that comes with hiring a freelancer for your android project is an outdated look, feel, and style to your finished application. This is simply because freelancers aren’t always up on the latest trends and preferences in the mobile app development market.

Final Thoughts

For more information on mobile app development through an agency vs a freelancer, visit NS804 today. NS804 is the mobile app development agency for everyday people.