What’s in store for Logan Apps

So last week I talked about Logan Apps expanding. I’ve finally got some time to talk about what’s going on. Some of this might be a bit on the technical side, so anything in green that you can’t understand, don’t feel bad about skipping.

So last week, I was browsing my Twitter feed and saw a link about RIM paying Android developers to port their apps to BlackBerry BBOS10 the upcoming weekend. I looked at the link and it said they had an Android runtime environment and that many apps wouldn’t need to be rewritten. I checked and my apps had passed the validation and did indeed work on the Blackberry.  So I prepped to spend the weekend porting my apps.

I didn’t move over all my apps. For example, I didn’t port Screen Block since it uses some special APIs into the OS and is targeted to low-end or broken phones.  Since BBOS10 is for new, high-end phones, it made no sense to port this over.

I also didn’t port E^2 since it used some non-portable APIs to play through the earpiece, and it’s really an app you want to try on a physical device.

But for things like PTO Tracker, Quidbit, and Simple Pricebook, these all ported over just fine. Luckily, I had spent part of my Christmas break doing some updates to PTO Tracker that not only made the app have a more consistent look and feel on Android, but also worked better on BlackBerry devices since those devices don’t have a physical back button, but have an overlay in the compatibility mode to support this.  While Quidbit and Simple Pricebook would work untouched, I went through the hassle of implementing ActionBar Sherlock in them both so they would both look/run better on BlackBerry devices.  I had planned on doing this anyway, but the offer just sped up my work.

After moving over those apps, I tried to figure out what to do next.  I have a few “private” apps, such as the Bible Quizzing app I wrote and a mockup I did for a proof-of-concept.  Bible Quizzing was going to be released eventually, so I removed the hard-coded stuff I had for our group and turned it into a general purpose quizzing scorekeeping app.  The other app I had gave me enough framework to create a contraction timer app.

After that, I started going through my list of app ideas.  Some of the ideas were way too complex to implement in a weekend, but other weren’t.  So I was actually able to crank through part of my backlog.  Overall, I got 11 apps submitted.

Amie knew I was going to be doing porting all weekend. When I got home from work on Friday, I went down to the computer and started working.  She fed the girls dinner and we ordered a pizza for my port-a-thon. I went to bed Friday night and then couldn’t sleep well, so I got up super early on Saturday and started cranking out more code. I worked at it all day.  Didn’t even shower. By the end of Saturday I was just toast and had trouble thinking straight.

Once my apps are live, I’ll post a link to them.  Overall, I was really impressed with the ease of development.  I have another pool of customers that really takes no time to get ready for.  I’m also glad that when I get some more complex apps made, I’ll be able to move them to the BlackBerry world untouched.  And if I come up with a great idea for an app that won’t port over, I will take the time to make a separate app for BlackBerry and Android.

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I haven’t gotten the other apps moved into Google Play yet, but I do plan on putting them there.  I might have to clean things up a bit (Android devices have many various screen sizes, so you have to check those) and do some clean up on the artwork, which was a little rushed for the weekend.

So the other news? Well, I discovered that my computer is really underpowered.  I got it in May of 2008. So it’s 4.5 years old then.  But I bought it from Dell Financial Services.  It was a super nice workstation that some company leased, and then didn’t need any more. It’s original manufacture date according to the sticker is 06/22/05.  It was probably a $3,000 workstation back then, which is pretty powerful.  I paid $250 when I got it.  I remembered the super boost of some of my activities when I got it.  Even today, it does most activities fairly well. It does lag a bit when I try to do full-screen video.

But the BlackBerry simulator uses VMWare to do emulation of the OS. This requires a processor with VT extension.  My computer didn’t have this type of processor.  Our new laptop didn’t either (because it was a cheap $200 laptop).  The old laptop did though, but it was super slow. I had even avoid upgrading some of the software I used previously because my computer was too slow for it.

But what I’m doing now requires something more powerful.  So I’m using the funds I get from the Blackberry AppWorld port-a-thon to purchase a new workstation. I’ve debated, but I’ve come to the conclusion I should get a Mac since iOS development (e.g. iPhones, iPod, and iPads) must be done on a Mac. Even if I don’t port my apps to the Mac, learning how to make iOS apps will be helpful to know in my field of work. I’m probably the most unenthusiastic Mac buyer ever.

So there you have it, Logan Apps will now be available on two platforms, I have a bunch of new apps coming soon, and I’ll be getting a new workstation which will allow me to do further development.  And I hustled all Friday night and Saturday to do it.

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Bryan Logan

About Bryan Logan

I'm Bryan. I like to innovate things. These innovations may materialize as activities with the kids, new/easier/better ways of doing things, smartphone apps, or just funny blog posts. You can find me on Twitter and
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