21
Jun
2012-06-21_14h09_21

Google's Android Developer's site got a massive overhaul today, with a brand new UI, tons of new features, and a unified guide for developers on how to design, develop, and distribute their apps all in one place. The new site is fantastic-looking. Clearly Google wants to engage developers more and give them more guidance on how to succeed on the Play Store. So, what say we take a tour?

About Android

For anyone who's been kept in the dark, or just doesn't know everything there is to know about Android yet, Google's provided newcomers with a section just to tout the advantages of developing for Android. While it may seem trivial, one of the biggest criticisms of the Play Store has been Google's engagement of the developer community. This is a big deal as Google aims to engage developers more. On one page, Google highlights a Developer Story. This appears to be something that could become an episodic series, telling the story of how developers found success on the Play Store.

Design

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Once a developer is sold on developing for Android, the first of the three major sections is Design. This section will actually look very familiar to anyone who's seen Google's style guidelines. The site has all the previously-established style guides, articles, and downloads. As an extra reminder to developers, there is an Android-styled menu button for navigating to related sites. Nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean developers?

Develop

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The develop section has had more noticeable changes made to it. The whole thing just seems a bit nicer, and it seems the Android team intends to have more in-depth information and instructions. The main page has information on new developer features, such as in-app subscriptions as seen above, to keep developers up-to-date on all the new features.

The site also offers a host of information and video guides and tutorials on how to use all of the tools available to developers. The information covers just about everything a new or experienced developer could need, from creating your first project in Eclipse, to optimizing battery life and and creating backwards-compatible UIS.

Distribute

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One of the biggest areas that Google can improve on, distribution, has also gotten some special attention paid to it. While Google has gotten better about promoting quality apps in its ecosystem, the company is aiming to give developers the info they need to know where to start. With hundreds of thousands of apps in the Play Store, standing out can be incredibly difficult, even if an app is solid.

The new Distribute section has info on all of the tools that Google offers for keeping up with your app, issuing updates, targeting an app based on local currencies or demographics, and promotion via external sites.

Overall, the new changes make for a much nicer experience as developers research and work on their apps. Google is working on improving its developer communication and support, so hopefully this will raise the quality of apps on the Play Store. If you're a developer, head on over to the site and start exploring.

Source: Android Developers

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

    Notice how the Android Version Distribution Chart is gone *cough Jelly Bean *cough

    • guyfromtrinidad

      Dude its still there under "about Android", "dashboard"

      • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

         Ah, thats weird placement. Anyway, I'm still stoked for I/O. Can't wait for some Jelly Beany goodness.

  • Itchy_Robot

    I'm all for this. I just couldn't stand not giving them a little hell though =) ... being that all my gmail contact images still are being displayed in low res! Please fix this bug ASAP googs!

  • Stian French

    Is it just me, or did that guy in the video look like he stayed up programming waaaaay too late?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      I was thinking that too, his eyes were so purple! I am glad to see such dedication though!

  • wickets

     "Not So Subtly Nudges Developers To The On-Screen Menu Button"

    Why didnt they do the same with the hardware guys...buttons on the phone are hideous but here we have S3!!!!  what a joke

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      Some of us users still REALLY like separate buttons rather than on screen buttons taking away screen real estate.

      • Chris Olson

         If the area where the buttons would have been physically been placed is part of the screen then you're not losing real estate, your gaining screen potentially in some instances.  I've never owned an android device with buttons (TF101 and the GNex) so I'm guessing it's more of a holding onto what you're familiar with.  If you were duplicating physical buttons with on screen buttons I'm completely on board that you're losing screen real estate - so as long as it is properly implemented you're In like Flint!

        • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

          Galaxy Nexus is a good (or bad, depending on your POV) example, it lacks separate buttons but does not have a large screen for it's size, there is plenty of "empty" space on the phone where buttons could have been added (need only 1/4" of vertical space) and freed up some of your screen for more screen stuff.

          Still, in using my Galaxy Tab 2.0 I've learned to appreciate the new way of doing things even if it isn't my first choice, the problem is that beyond Google Apps the apps rarely implement the new UI guidelines and it ends up being a mess.

          Whats worse, is apps that ignore the menu and back buttons when they are present.

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      Some of us users still REALLY like separate buttons rather than on screen buttons taking away screen real estate.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Unfortunately too many developers are getting the "menu button = bad" message without getting the part about on screen actions and the action overflow button.  What you see instead is developers completely ignoring the menu & back buttons on the device (as most devices still have them) and not putting in an action bar or overflow button or other backwards navigation option.

    Most often I see them throw tabs at the problem with the stuff that used to be centralized in the menu spread haphazardly around the various tabs, a perfect(ly bad) example of this is the latest versions of the popular Foursquare app, it ignores menu on my phone and back but doesn't have an action bar, some of the things you used to do with the menu are implemented in decent (if inconsistent) places, others (such as settings) are thrown around on tabs where they don't make any sense, still other functions are simply gone.

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