App UI / UX – Part 1

In the previous series on Bluetooth LE we got a simple app working which read temperature and humidity values from a Texas Instruments SensorTag, and displayed them. Functionally the app worked quite well but, because the series was focused on BLE topics, we neglected the UI somewhat. In this series we’ll take a look at…

Gradient Text

Recently there was a comment on the article on Text Shadows asking how to fill text with a gradient. In this article we’ll look at a simple technique for doing precisely that.

Text Clock – Part 5

In the previous article we got our Text Clock widget telling the correct time, and it was published to Google Play. While the widget functions correctly, there are a couple of things that can be improved. In this article we’ll look at those and address them.


When writing software, it is often the tasks that appear trivial which can prove to be rather problematic. In this article we’ll have a look at creating plural strings which, on the surface looks easy, but can cause some unforeseen problems when it comes to actually implementing it.

Transparency – Part 3

In the previous article we looked at the GridLayout label pattern and explored how it is designed to keep the label text visible irrespective of the background. In this article we’ll look at this concept further.

Transparency – Part 2

In the previous article in this series we looked at some dry examples which demonstrated some important aspects of using transparency in our UI. In this article we shall have a look at some real-world examples of how we can use transparency.

VerticalText – Part 2

In the previous article in this series we began looking at how we can creat vertical text on Android. When searching for a solution to this problem I found was another approach that appealed to me because it is just plain sneaky! Also, it uses a vanilla TextView control and doesn’t break any of its…

VerticalText – Part 1

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…

Compound Drawables

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…

Text Shadows

Often tools like Photoshop are used to create graphic elements which are actually text with various effects applied to them, and an well used effect in such elements is the use of shadows. Android supports text shadows, and in this article we’ll explore a number of ways that we can use the built in shadows…