Archive for January, 2012

VerticalText – Part 1

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Recently I was working on a project where I had free reign over the UI, and felt that it would be very nice to have some vertically oriented text. On searching through the Android API docs, I found that rotating Views isn’t supported directly, but a quick Google search found a number of approaches. In this article we’ll explore a couple of different methods for displaying vertical text in Android.

Compound Drawables

Friday, January 20th, 2012

I recently learned about a small feature in Android which has been there since API level 1 (the variant that we’ll use has been in there since API 3, but others appeared in API 1): Compound Drawables. In this article we’ll have a look at what they are and see how we can use them to simplify some of our layouts.

Data Backup – Part 2

Friday, January 13th, 2012

In the first article in this series we had a first look at Android Data Backup. We got a simple app working which successfully stored its SharedPreferences in the cloud and restored them we the app was re-installed. Thee was one problem, however: If we manually triggered a restore of the SharedPreferences, we did not receive a callback when the restore occurred despite registering an OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener. Let’s discover why…

Data Backup – Part 1

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Normally on Styling Android I try and stick to UI / UX tips and techniques, but in this series of articles I’m going to cover a topic that is not directly UI / UX specific yet, if implemented, can delight your users: using Android Data Backup to backup and restore app settings / config to the cloud. The technique that we’re going to explore is something that I implemented a while ago in an app that I created just for my own use, but whenever I switch devices, I’m always pleasantly surprised when my config magically reappears on the new device, and I don’t need to configure my app from scratch. Data backup is something that Google Developer Advocate Richard Hyndman has recently blogged about demonstrating how app settings can be manually backed up and restored on ICS. I can only agree with Richard’s sentiment that it is a pity that more games do not implement cloud backup to store your progress. In this series of articles we’ll look at how easy it is to implement cloud backup in your app using the built in Data Backup tools.