Why it’s hard to find Android developers

I’m an Android developer (at Aviary) and a New Yorker since late 2010. I’ve been also an actionscript and python developer for more than 10 years.

I hear this every day. Your New York based company is desperately looking for an Android developer, and it’s damn hard to find one.

And you know what? This is your fault. I mean you, tech startup. Yes, you.

Almost all the startups I know here in NYC have launched their core product for iOS first (most of the PMs I’ve spoken with have said that was because of lack of people or time). And then, maybe, if there’s time… they start to realize they need to have an Android version of their app. But by this point the job is not to “create” something, it’s just a “porting” job. Which, for obvious reasons, is a much less attractive job for developers, just as it would be for a PM or a designer. [Read more...]

Floating Action Menu for Android

I’ve just created this simple Android library, inspired from the recent changes to the Google+ app, which introduced a floating action item to the bottom. In G+ the action item appears and disappears based on the page scrolling.

In the same way I’ve created this library, with some more customization options, like the gravity and direction of the floating menu items.

Here’s a video of a sample implementation:

Source code and documentation can be find on the github project page:

https://github.com/sephiroth74/android-floating-action-menu

java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError workaround

If you ever worked with native shared libraries in Android you’ve probably already faced the “java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError” java exception which randomly seems to happen on certain devices ( actually it’s happening on xperia phones mostly, based on my reports ).
There are a bunch of bug reports in the android project like this: https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=35962 or this https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=64111.
The problem is that Google basically marked all of them as “resolved”, even if developers are still complaining about it.

[Read more...]

More Picasso changes

I recently added more changes to my forked version of the Picasso library.

Delay

Added withDelay(long ms) method in the RequestCreator class. Basically it will delay the load of the passed resource by n milliseconds.

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Picasso.with( context )
   .load( url )
   .withDelay( 100 )
   .into( image );

Batch toggle on/off

In the original Picasso code all the “complete” events are dispatched using a batch operation, this means that you can have at the same time 3/4 “complete” events being triggered, which eventually can cause lags in the UI.
In this fork the batch is disabled by default and can be re-enabled by using:

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Picasso.with( context )
   .setUseBatch( true );

Fork or download the source from GitHub:
https://github.com/sephiroth74/picasso

Link the library in your build.gradle:
compile “it.sephiroth.android.library.picasso:picasso:+”

Forking Picasso

Recently I started using this nice library, Picasso, for my Android projects.
Basically it’s a library which allows you to load any type of images (local or remote, assets or resources) asynchronously into your ImageView. It will load them in background for you, this not blocking the UI. It has also an internal cache system and it also comes with some useful features like “fade” ( when an image is loaded into the view it will automatically create a fade in effect ), “transform” ( you want to post transform the loaded bitmap ), “resize”, “fit” and more.

You can find a better explanation of the project here: http://square.github.io/picasso/

By the way, long story short, as often happens, when you start to use a 3rd party library you also find it’s limitations and you want to make your own changes to fit your particular needs. In fact I made a fork of this library starting adding my changes.

Here’s a first list of changes I made:

Cache

Added the possibility to use an external cache instance per request.
Example:

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// creating a cache object with 1MB max size
Cache cache = new LruCache( 1024*1024*1 );

// now create a new request which will use this cache object
Picasso.with( this ).load( file ).withCache( myCache ).into( imageView );

Remember to clear the cache when you don’t need that anymore ( using cache.clear() )

Generators

Generators can be used to load images which cannot be loaded using the common scheme convention. There are different situations when you need to generate a Bitmap which is not directly related to a file or url or even a real bitmap resource.

In this case you can use the scheme “custom.resource” with a Generator.
A Generator is a simple interface with only one method:

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public interface Generator {
   Bitmap decode( String path ) throws IOException;
}

So you can use a generator in this way:

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Picasso.with(this)
   .load( Uri.parse( "custom.resource://" + file ) )
   .withGenerator( new Generator() {
      @Override
         public Bitmap decode( String path ) throws IOException {
            return whatever(path);
         }
      } ).into( imageView );

Resize

Both the original Picasso methods resize and resizeDimen have been modified in the followings new methods:

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public RequestCreator resizeDimen(int targetWidthResId, int targetHeightResId, boolean onlyIfBigger);
public RequestCreator resize(int targetWidth, int targetHeight, boolean onlyIfBigger);

basically you can pass an option to skip the resize operation if the loaded bitmap is smaller than the passed `targetWidth` and `targetHeight`

BitmapFactory.Options

Picasso uses a default BitmapFactory.Options object, every time, to decode the required Bitmap.

I’ve added a method `withOptions` in the RequestCreator which allow you to pass your own Options object which will be used to decode the image.
Example:

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BitmapFactory.Options options = new BitmapFactory.Options();
options.inPreferredConfig = Config.RGB_565;

Picasso.with(this)
   .load(file)
   .withOptions(options)
   .into(imageView);

https://github.com/sephiroth74/picasso

Obtain styleable fields at runtime

Ususally, when we want to get some “R” attributes at runtime, we use the Resources getIdentifier method, which is useful for getting strings, drawables and ids at runtime. Unfortunately this method cannot be used to get the styleable fields. However, using java reflections, there’s another way to solve the problem. With this snippet you can get styleable fields at runtime in your code:

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public static final <T> T getFieldFromStyleable( Context context, String name ) {
    try {
      // use reflection to access the resource class
      Field field = Class.forName( context.getPackageName() + ".R$styleable" ).getField( name );
      if ( null != field ) {
         return (T) field.get( null );
      }
   } catch ( Throwable t ) {
      t.printStackTrace();
   }
   return null;
}

Which can be used in this way:

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int[] array = getFieldFromStyleable( context, "MyListView" );
array = context.obtainStyledAttributes( attrs, styleableArray, defStyle, 0 );

purePDF moved to github

As you may have noticed I’m not working with flash and actionscript anymore. However I still receive some requests regarding the purePDF library I published, well I don’t remember when exactly :)
By the way, I decided to move the code to github, thus it will be easier for anyone still interested in that library to fork and add modifications and share to other people.

Here’s the link to the project: https://github.com/sephiroth74/purePDF