Author Archives: rachelredner

Renewed Enthusiasm

So… Zadatak stopped abruptly at the end of last semester. But we’re back! We plan to have Zadatak in the android marketplace sometime soon. Keep looking for updates.

A change of Operating Systems

My phone finally went to Ice Cream Sandwhich (Android 4.0).  It looks sharp and runs extremely smoothly. Scrolling through huge lists actually works as you would expect it to. Awesome, right?

Wrong (well, mostly right, but for the sake of Zadatak, I’ll be dramatic). I knew how drastically different things could look among phones with different resolutions, but I never expected the drastic difference in the appearance of Zadatak between Android OSs.

So here is Zadatak as it was on my phone before the change of operating systems. Notice the rounded edges on the OPAQUE buttons. These are the standard buttons with no change to the background color (any change results in non-gradient and perfectly squared buttons).


Now this is the same code, on the same phone, just running Android 4.0 / ICS. Notice how the title bar actually contains our logo? Looks great. But, the buttons are transparent, and the edges are squared as opposed to rounded. It looks too messy! I’m not sure what to do about the transparency, except to hard code the color for the buttons as #FF—— as that specifies pure opacity, but hard coding the color gives away any chance to regain the nice rounded edges. I think this means I am going to have to create my own buttons in photoshop that satisfy both requirements.

Lesson learned? Test now, test often, and test on every device / operating system you can.


Checklist of Remaining Features

We’re rapidly approaching the release of a beta version. All of the screens have been created, although we still need to finish the design for some of them. The scheduling algorithms has been created, although it is yet to be fully implemented. Alarms have been created, although they are still extremely buggy.

Everything is coming together slowly (despite all of us being caught up with classes, job interviews, and graduate school applications), but there are still some things we haven’t been able to figure out. Making alarms work the way we would expect, filling in lists with data from java, etc. Our to-do list is ever shrinking, and I expect to see our application in the app store around the middle of December.

Now, for a bit of a rant. I’m having lots of issues between git and eclipse, and eclipse and my phone. Unfortunately, when I ‘pull’ eclipse refuses to update, telling me that the files are out of sync. Despite my attempts to refresh, or close eclipse and re-open, or even rebuild the projects, it still refuses to update files. However, I finally learned how to handle eclipse when it’s being finicky, Project –> Clean followed by manually building all the files allows me to run the updated files with no problems. As for my phone and eclipse, I am increasingly running into issues with compatibility. My phone will run fine for the first few times, and then randomly eclipse will decide that my phone is no longer compatible, and want to launch an emulator instead.  If I disconnect my phone and reconnect, it works perfectly again. I’m unsure what to do to prevent this so I don’t have to unplug my phone every 5 iterations…

Rant aside, everything in the project is going well! Hopefully the beta will be out soon, so keep your eyes out!






The Challenge of Design

After lots and lots of struggling, some real, usable interfaces exist for Zadatak! Who would have thought it would have been a such a struggle after practicing with fake buttons. But usable code with real restrictions is another ball park. The new code supports page switches (easier than I thought it would be) and a nice background (much harder than I thought it would be!) . Transparency and scrolling were also new features for myself.

As far as the interface design goes, many challenges still exist and need to be tackled. Some I know how to handle (checking the user’s data for consistancy) and some will require some research before writing any actual code (how to grab our list of tasks from a SQL database and output it to the user). The biggest and most important challenge that exists for Zadatak is sending out alarms when working on a task is required. This is critical for the functionality of our app, even when the application isn’t running. I’m not sure how to tackle this one yet, but thank goodness for google!

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The Dawn of Zadatak

In starting to learn how to create an android application, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll start with learning how to make things in XML. Buttons, text, sliderbars, radio buttons, slider bars…. Of course, you could always use the handy drag-and-drop system of eclipse, but it’s just not the same as writing your own code. So I practiced creating buttons and boxes in different sizes and alignments, and after lots of application crashes and syntax errors, I finally got it down. They don’t actually do anything, but that’s for a different day…