Two-Minute Tutorial 2

TMT2 Market-ready App: Set the Name, Launcher Icon and Permissions Plus a Few Tips for Productizing Your AppLaud App

Specific instructions on how to change your app's name, customize the launcher icon, and set the correct device access permissions. Many useful links and a few tips on publishing your app.
Prerequisites
  • Installation of the latest MDS AppLaud plugin, see Get Started
  • Complete of TMT0 or equivalent (create project, edit files, run app on device or AVD)
Recommended Reading
Prep
  • Create a project with AppLaud or use an existing project
  • Open /AndroidManifest.xml in the Editor
Getting your App ready for market

In addition to other preparations before putting your app on the market, you will need to set the app label and icon (name and icon that appear in Android launcher, screen top, etc). You will also need to specify accurately the permissions used by the app to access the device's code and data.

1. Set the App Name or Label

If the final app name, also called Android app label, was not known at project creation time, it will need to be changed. Select the Application tab at the bottom of the Editor window for
AndroidManifest.xml.


The Label value (@string/app_name) indicates the project will provide the app's label in a string resource with the name app_name. The project's string resources are in /res/values/strings.xml.

Open
/res/values/strings.xml in the Editor and select the Resources tab at bottom of the Editor window. Locate and click on the resource with the name app_name. The value associated with app_name will be the original value entered for Application name during project creation.


Change the value field (appname in the example above) to the name of your app and save. Spaces are allowed. Depending on the name, only the first 9 or 10 letters of the name will show when the app appears in the launcher. Save the file.

2. Customize the Launcher Icon

An AppLaud app uses the MDS version of the PhoneGap logo as the launcher logo by default:

The launcher icon appears in the Android app list, or on the home screen if you’ve dragged it there, along with the app’s name. When you are ready to take your app to market, you’ll want to customize this with your own icon.

The image file (actually three versions of it) is in the project’s /res directory.

Different versions of the icon are provided for low-, medium- or high-density screens in the directories: /drawable-ldpi, /drawable-mdpi, and /drawable-hdpi directories, each has the same file name (icon.png in the example above).

2a. Create the new icon

One example of an app icon would be a simpler, smaller version of the company logo.


Example icon files for each density might have the following specs:
  • ldpi : 36 x 36px, 72ppi
  • mdpi : 48 x 48px, 72ppi
  • hdpi : 72 x 72px, 72ppi
More information about screen-independent images in Android can be found here. More on launcher icon design here.

2b. Add icon files to project

Import or copy the three files into the project’s directories, according to screen density: /res/drawable-ldpi, /res/drawable-mdpi, or /res/drawable-hdpi.

Two Ways to Import or Copy Files into a Project:
  • From Eclipse, use File -> Import or <right-click-on-directory> -> Import, select General -> File System then locate the directory containing the files. Eclipse will automatically update the project meta-data when files are added to a project this way.
  • From outside Eclipse (i.e. command 'cp', drag/drop or copy/paste), the files will appear in the Project Explorer, but you must do File -> Refresh or <right-click-on-project-name> -> Refresh to update the meta-data manually.
2c. Configure Android Manifest to use the new icon file

Select the Application tab along the bottom of the Editor window. Locate the Application Attribute with the name Icon.

The default value is @drawable/icon. This indicates the directory and file name of the icon. The density of the screen will be appended to /drawable to locate the right file for screen density (e.g. /density-hdpi). The name of the image file in this example is icon. The extension (e.g. .png or .jpg) is not specified.


Change the name icon to the name of your image file. Save the manifest file. An error will be reported in the Console if the file specified can't be found.

Delete the old icon.png files. If you leave them in the drawable directories they will be included in your app at build time.

The last step is to Project -> Clean... the project, which propagates the changes made in the manifest file.

Alternative: Manually edit AndroidManifest.xml


When the AndroidManifest.xml file is loaded into the Editor multiple views of the file are presented in tabs at the bottom of the editor window. The Application tab presents easily-readable access to some of the data, as referenced in the previous section. The tab called AndroidManifest.xml displays, and allows editing of, plain xml text. Using the Application tab provides easy access to data and is less prone to errors. However, editing the equivalent fields as raw xml in AndroidManifest.xml will have the same effect on the project. Changes made to raw xml will show up in the Application tab when saved.

3. Set the App Permissions (access to device code/data)

The list of permissions used by your app must be reviewed and modified to accurately reflect the app's function. Select the Permissions tab at the bottom of the Editor window of  AndroidManifest.xml.

By default, an app created with AppLaud requests access to the complete set of permissions, which is probably more than an app needs. For example, an app that delivers and plays media does not need access to read and write contacts.

More information on Android's security and permissions, including defining your own, can be found here.

Add or remove Permissions as needed. Save the manifest file.

4. A few general tips you may find useful

1. Select the minified version of all javascript files you use
2. Consider using a minification tool to minify your javascript
3. Remove from /assets all unused non-minified files
4. Remove all unused image files
5. Remove all consol.log, alert and other debug statements
6. Review any TODO's if you left them in your code
7. Fully retest the entire app after doing steps 1-6!
8. Ask someone else to use your app (preferably with no knowledge of your app) and be open to feedback
9. Register as a developer on the Android Market ($25) and Amazon Appstore (free) to get a sense of what is needed to publish an app (graphic assets, written descriptions, screenshots, videos)
10. DO NOT FORGET the password for your key and keystore!!!

11. Share the link to your published app on the
AppLaud forum.



Had trouble with the above or have comments? Let us know on the mailing list or create an issue.

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