Preparing

The first step of publishing an application to the Market is, well, to write the application. See the rest of the book for directions on how to do that. But simply writing code is not enough. Your program needs to be of a high quality, free of bugs (yeah right), and compatible with as many devices as possible. Here are a few tips to help you:

• Test it on at least one real device before letting anyone else see it. If you forget all the other tips, remember this one.

• Keep your program simple, and polish the heck out of it. Make your program do one thing well, rather than a lot of things poorly.

• Pick a good Java package name, such as com.yourcompany.prog-name, that you can live with for a long time. Android uses the package name defined in AndroidManifest.xml as the primary identifier for your application. No two programs can have the same package name, and once you upload a program to the Market with that name, you cannot change it without completely removing it, requiring all users to uninstall, and publishing a new program.

1. http://market.android.com

• Pick a meaningful value for android:versionCode= and android: versionName= in your AndroidManifest.xml file.2 Consider future updates, and leave room for them in your naming scheme.

• Follow the Android best practices,3 such as designing for performance, responsiveness, and seamlessness.

• Follow the user interface guidelines,4 such as icon design, menu design, and proper use of the Back button.

Compatibility with multiple devices is one of the toughest challenges facing the Android programmer. One issue you'll have to deal with is users having different versions of the platform installed on their phones. See Chapter 13, Write Once, Test Everywhere, on page 256 for advice.

Although first impressions and compatibility are important, you'll need to strike a balance between tweaking and polishing your application to make it perfect vs. releasing it in a timely fashion. Once you think it's ready, the next step is to sign it.

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