Friday, April 4, 2014

App In the Playstore

Like I said in the last post, my app is in the Google PlayStore, and can be downloaded by anyone. There were some things I found out the hard way, but overall, it was a pleasant experience. Yes, I am working on the engine monitor, I just needed to get this wrapped up. I am guessing there will be updates when people start giving me feedback, and there are a couple items I want to update for the next revision.



To get an app in the store, you need to sign up as a developer.  This is a simple task, agreeing to Google's terms, and paying $25. The $25 is a one time fee, and allows you to put in as many apps as you want.

The Playstore is trying to be fair to everyone, without putting them at risk. They don't want apps that are all spam, or extortion type apps, where you can't use the app without paying something extra. They kind of control that by mostly forcing you to use their services to pay for the in app purchases, if there are any, or to clearly label your app as pay to use.

If you want to distribute your app outside the US, you need to certify that the app doesn't break any ITAR rules. They ask you to check a box, and aren't really into looking for specific certifications. That check box probably keeps Google an arms reach out of any ITAR enforcement action.

The one thing that took the most time, Google was a little more picky about my package name. This, being my first app, I went with the defaults in Android Developer Studio. When I created the app, it asked for the package name, and filled the box in with "com.example". I didn't make any plans at the time, so I left that alone.  When I uploaded the app to the playstore the first time it rejected it, saying that "com.example is reserved for special items".

You can look, according to IANA.org, example.com is available to be used for illistrative purposes:

As described in RFC 2606, a number of domains such as example.com and example.org for documentation purposes. These domains may be used as illustrative examples in documents without prior coordination with us. They are not available for registration or transfer.

Wow, who knew. For the engine monitor code, I changed that already to com.engmon, at least for now.

All the icons I had already done. If you look at the icons on a phone, they are a little better looking than in the play store. Maybe if I was making money from this app, I would hire a graphic designer to come up with something clever, but these kind of illustrate the walking outside the app requires.

I did need a large icon to get it in the play store. I didn't start with the big one(512x512 pixels) while building the app. I started with the second big one (144x144pixels), and built proper layers using gimp to build the icon. I scaled the 144 pixel image down to make the smaller icons, and that worked well, as I expected. I tried a couple trees in front of the Android, but it didn't look well. For the big image, gimp did an OK job scaling up the 144 pixel image.

The other thing the app needed, was to be built without any debugging turned on. I get it, many of the debugging facilities are entered using various networking ports. Once someone has access to an app, in a nefarious way, they can do bad stuff, due to the fact that there is really only one user for all the apps on the smart phones out there. All apps have the same permissions for everything.

Google has some funny algorithm that determines where the app shows up when you search. When I type in Acreage calculator, it find an app called Acreage Calculator (the play store allows apps to have the same name, I am guessing trademark registration would trump any conflicts, but I am not gonna worry about it). The other app converts square meters entered in a text field to acres, as a converter would do. My app didn't show up this morning. It may when it gets enough downloads, but how do you get downloads if it isn't visible?


You should down load my app and give it a shot. Please give me feedback in the Playstore, or here. Your ideas may be incorporated in the next release of the app.

Thanks for listening.




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