The Inside Scoop on Internal App Sharing

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The Inside Scoop on Internal App Sharing

 

            Testing your apps is a crucial component in a successful release.  Every time you issue updates to your app you run the risk of introducing bugs that can ruin a user’s experience.  We do what we can with unit and UI tests to check and limit these bugs, but some still manage to slip by (no one’s perfect!). So how can we deal with these bugs before they actually get into the hands of a user?

 

Internal App Sharing:

 

            Whether you’re a solo developer or working for a larger company, Internal App Sharing can help with this.  It essentially allows you to upload a second version of your app onto the Google Play Store.  It’s a private upload though that’s only available to people you share the URL with.  What this does is allow you to keep your production app intact while simultaneously letting a select group of people test the new version.

It’s somewhat similar to the beta feature that has been available for quite some time.  But the key difference here is that the app is private. It’s only available to those friends/family/coworkers that you choose to share it with.  It offers a great way for you to limit your testing to people you know. Very aptly names Internal App Sharing!

 

Some Caveats:

 

            Internal App Sharing was first released to us at Google I/O this year so it’s still very new.  After playing around with it and reading the documentation there are a few things to note.  First off, there is a maximum of 100 users that can download the app using this link. So if you are crazy popular then you won’t be able to let all of your friends test! Realistically this probably isn’t a big deal as 100 testers should be plenty to see major bugs that are introduced, but all the same the limit exists.

 

Another limit that might impose a little more on you is that the app you upload has to have a matching package name.  For most cases this will always match since it’s the same app, but if you have different schemes you’re building your app with (debug vs release) that offer different features you’ll need to make sure nothing is different in those package names. Other than these limits though it’s a fairly straightforward process with a positive experience.

 

I currently use Internal App Sharing and I would recommend that you check it out as well!  It’s a great way to share a build of your app with changes to those closest to you before officially releasing anything to the public.  What are your thoughts on the feature?  Let us know in the comments below.

Android Quits on Q

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Android Quits on Q

Well, Android Q has officially been named.  At least, the next version of Android has been named.  In a shocking turn of events Google has decided to move away from its tradition of naming the OS after desserts.  Instead of any Q-esque dessert, Android 10 has been announced.  After 10 years of dessert names, it’s all numbers from here on.

Android 10:

With Android 10 as the next version, things will simply increment up from here (11 and so on).  I guess it had to come to an end eventually, but I think it’s safe to say most of us expected this to happen closer to Z than Q. The world needs more desserts!

As for whythe naming pattern changed, it’s not just because Q is a hard letter to match with a dessert.  Google’s VP of product management for Android said that it’s because desserts aren’t inclusive enough.  “We have some good names, but in each and every case they leave a part of the world out.”

Android is a global brand, and as such they don’t want to pick desserts that are regional and other people can’t relate to.  At least that’s what they say…I still think no one could come up with the right thing for Q!

Android’s Rebranding:

While the naming convention has changed, don’t worry!  The classic Android robot still exists.  He received an updated logo but it’s nothing too drastic. A few small tweaks for him and some larger changes for the Android word itself.  Now in all black, the logo is supposed to be more readable on small devices.  Changing it to a sleek black will help with that issue.

And of course it wouldn’t be any fun if the images were just introduced and then that was it.  Here’s a fun little video released by Android showing off the new look. The video emphasizes heavily that we’ve been growing together as a community, and that shouldn’t stop anytime soon.  While it’s a little cheesy, I have to agree with the sentiment.  There is a sort of bond between Android users and especially as a developer it’s been really fun to watch it change over the years.  Here’s hoping Android 10 continues that trend!

What are your thoughts on the new naming convention?  How about the logo?  Let us know in the comments below.

Android Q Swipes Into Beta 6

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Android Q Swipes Into Beta 6

Android Q has been out since March steadily progressing through its betas.  This week Q hit its last step in the refinement process with the release of the final beta 6.  The official release is “a few weeks away” at this point, but if you’re interested in exploring Q early there’s no better time than the present!

Changes With 6:

Spoiler Alert: there aren’t that many changes in the new version.   Final APIs for developers were locked down in beta 4, so 5 and this new version are mostly bug fixes and small tweaks.   But one big change is with gesture navigation.  The back gesture has received a bit of a makeover.  Here’s what Google had to say about it:

“We’ve made further refinements to Gesture Navigation in Beta 6 based on user feedback. First, to ensure reliable and consistent operation, there’s a 200dp vertical app exclusion limit for the Back gesture. Second, we’ve added a sensitivity preference setting for the Back gesture.”

To non-developers the 200dp may not make sense, but the concept is fairly simple.  Apps have the option to opt out of the back button gesture navigation, but only to an extent.  They’re only allowed to stop the back gesture for 200 “density-independent pixels”.  The idea behind this is to make things easier if you’re in an app that involves horizontal scrolling.  We don’t want a user to accidentally go back when they’re just trying to scroll through a list.

Feedback on Gestures:

Another somewhat confusing part of the left-side gesture recognition is that some apps have drawers you can open from this side.  On trick you can use to view these instead of accidentally going back in the OS is swiping to the right but also up at a 45 degree angle.  Not really something you should have to distinguish between as it feels like bad design, but that’s how things currently are.

Google says that feedback has played a lot into the gesture changes they’ve made with Q, and hopefully it works out in a manner that feels fluid and easy to use.  Every beta seems to have had a different version of gestures, so Google only has so long to get it all right!

There are currently dozens of different navigation styles in the Android ecosystem thanks to the fact that not all phones are made in house by Google.  But this is about to0 change with the release of Q.  Google announced at I/O this year that gesture navigation will be standardized and that other phones must adhere to it in order to run Android OS.  This will be a very welcome change for anyone who has felt lost swapping from one phone to another.  But it’s also high stakes to make sure that things are done right.

Getting Q Today:

System images for this beta are currently available for all Pixel devices.  If you have one then you’ll be running on Q soon enough, but if you’re looking to play around right away then go set it up and let us know what you think in the comments below.  We also still don’t know what Q’s snack name is.  It’s probably the most important part of any software, so stay tuned for that!

 

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