August 22, 2014

Pick a Portuguese Name (or how my son made an app appear)

I recently became a father. As all fathers (I think) one of the things that took some time to choose was the name of my child.

In Portugal there are some "hard" (and weird) rules about what names can be given to a child as can be read here. So I've compiled a list of possible names (which still does not have all the names possible but is a already very extensive list) and thought that it could be fun to develop an app which provided the list of names to future parents and the meaning of each of the names.

It is still in a very early state, by I've open sourced it. If you want to help (or fork it), be my guest.

If I manage to finish it, and get to a an app that I really like the UI/UX i'll publish in the Play Store and provide here the link.

August 1, 2014

How some coincidences make you smile.

Well, we all have some coincidences in our life that we smile about, specially when it is obvious that what happened is not really related to you, but it really seems that way for a split of a second.

On the 15th of July I've talked with some engineers from Facebook (who were developing the Android app) about some boring use-cases I had when using the app:

1. The link nightmare
Everytime I clicked a link on Facebook for Android it opens on the default browser, (Chrome)... all went well, until I tried to return to Facebook... if you are an Android user you probably have noticed that Chrome uses a LOT of memory, which makes most of the background apps die.
This is not a problem for most of the use-cases, but when using Facebook it would really bore me, as when I returned to the app, it (re)started and was nowhere near the place where I was on my news feed... in fact the news feed was entirely different...

That made me start to avoid opening links on my Android device.

2. My attempt on solving the link nightmare
Well, on Twitter, I don't have any link nightmare... why? Simple. If I want to open the link right away I just open, and even if the app is killed, when I return to it, the feed is exactly at the same place.
That wasn't an option for Facebook for several reasons.. so my approach was my second most common behavior on Twitter when see interesting links... star it.

Most of the times I really don't use the star to mark a favorite tweet or something like that, I just use it as a bookmark to save that tweet for later use. Unfortunatly Facebook has no such thing....

Until the 21st of July....

"Two years after acqhiring read-it-later startup Spool, Facebook today launched a basic Pocket competitor called Save. It’s a feature for iOS, Android, and web that lets you store links from News Feed and Facebook Pages for Places, Events, Movies, TV shows, and music to a list where you can view them later."


Guess what happened a few months later...

"Facebook is rolling out a new feature in its app that many have offered for some time — an in-app browser — to speed up reading and sharing of links found within the social network. As is the case in many RSS readers and Twitter apps, Facebook's in-app browser will load the web page of a link you clicked within the Facebook app, rather than tossing you out to Chrome or another browser that you have installed on your phone."

Although I know that this had really nothing to do with me, it still makes me smile as it makes me thing that as a developer I can see how some big-shot apps UX be improved quite clearly.


With the advent of Mobile Phones we started to store the numbers of our family and friends on the devices and slowly forgot what is our best friend phone, or our grandmother. But how can we remember any of them if we never need to remember them? The problem begins when we don't have our phone, or it runs out of battery...
Well... now you just press the name in the contact list and puff: This app helps you memorize the numbers of the people you want: Whenever you go to your contact list and try to call a number, it will only let you call it if you fill in the missing number(s).

I've really develop this when I found out an API which allowed me to intercept any outgoing call. So I started wondering what I could do as a kind of proof of concept that could use that API.

I've ended up with this really basic app, which serves to demonstrate the use of this. I suppose most of the Android users don't really want (or need) to memorize phone numbers... but it was fun to develop!

Get it on Google Play

Developing Android - Good practices

A wide look at how to develop in Android using a lot of information given by Google on their Google IO talks.

All the images and graphics are not mine and their author is when possible referred.

A great thanks to Google for providing great videos.