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Software Development Blogs: Programming, Software Testing, Agile, Project Management
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Programming
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Keeping dependencies up-to-date in Maven

Xebia Blog - Fri, 05/20/2016 - 09:33
Keeping your dependencies up-to-date is more important than ever in modern projects. Everything is connected to the internet and needs to be secure. New vulnerabilities in libraries are found, exploited and patched within days. We use a lot of dependencies, and due to continuous delivery some of your dependencies will need updating every day. Solid

The Mobile Web Is Open for Business

Google Code Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 22:02

Originally posted on Google Chromium Blog


Posted by Rahul Roy-chowdhury, VP Product Management, Chrome
One of the virtues of the web is its immense reach, providing access to information for all internet users regardless of device or platform. With the explosion of mobile devices, the web has had to evolve to deliver great experiences on the small screen. This journey began a few years ago, and I am excited to be able to say that the mobile web is open for business. Join me live at Google I/O at 2:00pm PT as I discuss the state of the union and how to take advantage of new experiences like AMP and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to deliver a best-in-class mobile experience.





If you don't have time to tune in today, we'll post the recording shortly on our YouTube channel. In the meantime, here's a quick recap of the four aspects to focus on while building a great mobile web experience.
AccelerateExpressiveness has always been a strength of the web, but sometimes that expressiveness can come at the cost of loading time or smooth scrolling. For example, event listeners allow developers to create custom scrolling effects for their website, but they can introduce jank when Chrome needs to wait for any touch handler to finish before scrolling a page. With the new passive event listener API, we've given control back to the developer, who can indicate whether they plan to handle the scroll or if Chrome can begin scrolling immediately.

Speed also goes beyond user experience gains. Studies have shown that 40% of users will leave a retail site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. To get a blazing fast web page in front of users immediately, we've introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). With AMP, we have seen pages load 4x faster and use up to 10x less data. AMP is already seeing great adoption by developers, with more than 640,000 domains serving AMP pages.

EngageProgressive Web Apps (PWAs) let developers take advantage of new technologies to provide users with an engaging experience from the very first moment. Thanks to a new API called service worker, all the important parts of a web app can be cached so that it loads instantly the next time a user opens it. This caching also allows developers to continue to provide a fast and meaningful experience even when the user is offline or on an unreliable network. PWAs provide elements of polish too: an icon users can add to their home screen, a splash screen when they open it, and a full-screen experience with no address bar.
image 9.gif
JalanTikus Progressive Web App

ConvertLogging in is a ubiquitous pattern on the web, but 92% of users abandon a task if they've forgotten their password. To alleviate this pain, Chrome's password manager enables more than 8-billion sign-ins per month, and we're expanding support with the Credential Management API. Using this API allows web apps to more closely integrate with the password manager and streamline the sign-in process.

Even once logged in, checkout can be a complicated process to complete. That's why we're also investing in capabilities such as the Web Payment API and enhanced autofill, assisting users by accurately filling in forms for them. We've found that forms are completed 25% more when autofill is available, increasing odds for conversion.

RetainOnce the first interaction with a user is complete, re-engaging on the web can be tricky. Push notifications address this challenge on native apps, and now the push API is available on the web as well. This allows developers to reconnect with their users even if the browser isn't running. Over 10 billion push notifications are sent every day in Chrome, and it’s growing quickly. Jumia found that users who enabled push notifications opened those notifications 38% of the time and recovered carts 9x more often than other users.
    Jumia Mobile Web Push Notifications

Success StoriesAs developers begin embracing these new technologies, we're seeing success stories from around the world. AliExpress, one of the world's largest e-commerce sites, built a PWA and saw conversion rates for new users increase by 104%. They've also found that users love the experience, spending 74% more time on their site per session.

Another great example is BaBe, an Indonesian news aggregator service that was app-only until they developed a PWA with feature parity to their native app. Since launching they have found it to perform even faster than their native app, and have seen comparable time spent per session: 3 minutes on average on both their mobile website and their native app.

Even developers who have only begun implementing certain PWA technologies have seen success. United eXtra, a leading retailer in Saudi Arabia, implemented push notifications and saw users who opted-in returned 4x more often. These returning users also spent 100% more than users returning from other channels.

These are just a handful of businesses that have begun reaping the benefits of investing in Progressive Web Apps. Learn more about our how partners are using PWA technologies to enhance their mobile web experience.
Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 6.06.16 PM.png
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all the mobile web sessions from Google I/O, which we will continue to upload as they’re ready. Thanks for coming, thanks for watching, and most of all, thank you for developing for the web!



Categories: Programming

Build deeper integrations with Google Classroom

Google Code Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 20:30

Originally posted on Google for Education blog

Posted by Ed Kupershlak, Google Classroom Software Engineer

Last year, we launched the Classroom API to make it easier for administrators to manage classes, and for developers to integrate their applications with Classroom. Since that time, hundreds of applications have integrated with Classroom to help teachers gamify their classes, improve students’ writing skills, build interactive presentations and more.

Do more with coursework in the Classroom API

Today, we’re introducing new coursework endpoints that allow developers to access assignments, grades and workflow. Learning tools can focus on creating great content and, in turn, use Classroom to manage the workflow for assignments created with this content. Gradebooks and reporting systems can now also sync grades with Classroom, eliminating the need for teachers to manually transfer grades.

Several partners have been helping to test the new functionality, including:

  • OpenEd, which provides a library of open education resources for K-12 teachers
  • Tynker, a creative computing platform for teaching students to code
  • GeoGebra, a visual mathematics platform that allows students and teachers to author interactive mathematics content

Access course Drive folders, groups and materials

In addition to the coursework endpoints, we’ve added new functionality to our existing course and roster API endpoints. Developers can now access course Drive folders, groups and materials. Applications can use this new functionality to store files in the same Drive folder as the rest of the resources in a class, or use course groups to manage file sharing permissions.

In the coming months, we’ll be adding more coursework management capabilities. When we do, we’ll post updates to the developer forum and issue tracker. We look forward to working together to make it even easier for teachers and students to use the tools they love with Classroom. Developers, please review the documentation, the FAQ, and ask questions on Stack Overflow. Also, don’t forget to let us know what you’re building using the #withClassroom hashtag on Twitter or G+. And teachers, check out this list of applications that work well with Classroom today.

Categories: Programming

Daydream Labs: exploring and sharing VR’s possibilities

Google Code Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 19:36

Posted by Andrey Doronichev, Group Product Manager, Google VR

In Daydream Labs, the Google VR team explores virtual reality’s possibilities and shares what we learn with the world. While it’s still early days, the VR community has already come a long way in understanding what works well in VR across hardware, software, video, and much more. But, part of what makes developing for VR so exciting is that there’s still so much more to discover.

Apps are a big focus for Daydream Labs. In the past year, we’ve built more than 60 app experiments that test different use cases and interaction designs. To learn fast, we build two new app prototypes each week. Not all of our experiments are successful, but we learn something new with each one.

For example, in one week we built a virtual drum kit that used HTC Vive controllers as drumsticks. The following week, when we were debating how to make typing in VR more natural and playful, we thought — “what if we made a keyboard out of tiny drums?”

We were initially skeptical that drumsticks could be more efficient than direct hand interaction, but the result surprised us. Not only was typing with drumsticks faster than with a laser pointer, it was really fun! We even built a game that lets you track your words per minute (mine was 50 wpm!).

Daydream Labs is just getting started. This post is the first in an ongoing series sharing what we’ve learned through our experiments so stay tuned for more! You can also see more of what we’ve learned about VR interactions, immersion, and social design by watching our Google I/O talks on the live stream.

Categories: Programming

VR at Google - Jump, Expeditions, and Daydream

Google Code Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 17:37

Posted by Nathan Martz, Product Manager, Daydream

Two years ago at Google I/O, we introduced Google Cardboard, a simple and fun way to experience virtual reality on your smartphone. Since then, we've grown the Google VR family with Expeditions and Jump, and this week at Google I/O, we announced Daydream, a platform for high quality mobile virtual reality.

Jump—in the hands of creators and more cameras on the way

We announced Jump, cameras and software to make producing beautiful VR video simple, at I/O last year. Jump cameras are now in the hands of media partners such as Paramount Pictures, The New York Times, and Discovery Communications. Virtual reality production companies including WEVR, Vrse, The Secret Location, Surreal, Specular Theory, Panograma, and RYOT also have cameras in hand. We can't wait to see the wide variety of immersive videos these creators will share with a growing VR audience.

To enable cameras in a range of shapes and sizes and price points. Today, the Jump ecosystem expands with two partnerships to build Jump cameras. First, we're working with Yi Technology on a rig based around their new 4K Action Cam, coming later this year.

With Jump, we've also seen incredible interest from filmmakers. Of course when you're creating the best content you want the absolute highest quality, cinema-grade camera available. To help create this, we're collaborating with IMAX to develop a very high-end cinema-grade Jump camera.

Expeditions—One year, one million students

More than one million students from over 11 countries have taken an Expedition since we introduced the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program last May. The program lets students take virtual reality trips to over 200 places including Buckingham Palace, underwater in the Great Barrier Reef—and in seventh grader Lance Teeselink’s case—Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

And soon, students will have even more places to visit, virtually, thanks to new partnerships with the Associated Press and Getty Images. These partners will provide the Expeditions program with high-resolution VR imagery for current events to help students better understand what’s happening around the world.

Daydream—high quality VR on your Android smartphone

Daydream is our new platform for high quality mobile virtual reality, coming this fall. Over time, Daydream will encompass VR devices in many shapes and sizes, and Daydream will enable high quality VR on Android smartphones.

We are working with a number of smartphone manufacturers to create a specification for Daydream-ready phones. These smartphones enable VR experiences with high-performance sensors for smooth, accurate head tracking, fast response displays to minimize blur, and powerful mobile processors. Daydream-ready phones take advantage of VR mode in Android N, a set of powerful optimizations for virtual reality built right into Android.

With Daydream, we've also created a reference design for a comfortable headset and an intuitive controller. And, yes we're building one too. The headset and controller work in tandem to provide rich, immersive experiences. Take a look at how the controller lets you interact in VR:

Build for Daydream

The most important part of virtual reality is what you experience. Some of the world's best content creators and game studios are bringing their content to Daydream. You will also have your favorite Google apps including Play Movies, Street View, Google Photos, and YouTube.

You can start building for Daydream today. The Google VR SDK now includes a C++ NDK. And if you develop with Unreal or Unity, Daydream will be natively supported by both engines. Visit the Daydream developer site where you can get access the tools. Plus, with Android N Developer Preview 3 you can use the Nexus 6P as a Daydream developer kit.

This is just the beginning for Daydream. We’ll be sharing much more on this blog over the coming months. We’re excited to build the next chapter of VR with you.

Categories: Programming

Enhancing Android Pay APIs

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 02:28
Posted by Pali Bhat, Senior Director, Product Management

Today, we’re enhancing our APIs, making it easier than ever for the developer community to integrate with Android Pay. With just a few lines of code, you can enable quick and seamless checkout to help increase purchase conversions and ongoing engagement.

Improve conversions within apps

We’ve been working with popular apps such as Airbnb, Yelp Eat24, Kickstarter, TicketMaster, Uber and many others to bring the ease of speedy checkouts to apps. We also want to make the same great in-app experience available to all developers, big or small. So we’re taking a few steps:

  • Earlier today, we announced Android Instant Apps, which gives users the ability to pay using Android Pay with a single tap, without the friction of getting a user to install the app to complete their transaction. 

Example of Android Pay in Android Instant Apps
  • We’re opening the Android Pay API to all developers selling physical goods and services in markets where Android Pay is available—just sign up at developers.google.com/android-pay/
  • We’ve teamed up with payment processors globally so developers can integrate Android Pay with their Android apps in just a few hours.

Enhance mobile web payments

Many users continue to make purchases on mobile sites. But buying something from a website on your phone can be clumsy and cumbersome, which results in much lower conversion rates on mobile sites than on desktop sites.

To make painful web checkout forms a thing of the past, we will be launching PaymentRequest, a brand new web API that we are developing together with Chrome and standardizing across browsers through W3C. Android Pay will be part of this API to allow users to pay on mobile websites as they do in-store and in-app.

Example of Android Pay in PaymentRequest Drive deeper engagement

Thanks for all the great feedback on our Save to Android Pay API since launch. You spoke and we’ve listened: We think you’ll be thrilled with the latest improvements to the Save to Android Pay API. The following enhancements help developers build stronger loyalty and engagement with new and existing customers:

  • Enable users to add offers, loyalty cards and gift cards in the Android Pay app with the tap of a button. Simply add a deep link to an email, SMS message, push notification or within an app and you’re all set.
  • Enroll new customers into a loyalty program in a variety of ways with the new simplified sign-up feature. Customers can sign-up either in store via a NFC tap or through a sign-up page linked from an Android Pay transaction notification.

Example sign-up feature for Walgreens Balance Reward®  
via Save to Android Pay from transaction notification
We believe that mobile payments can make for a better, more secure shopping experience - so we're in this together for the long haul. We’re building a robust Android Pay ecosystem, one that’s open and scalable, to enable developers to drive mobile payments - and their businesses - forward. We're very excited for the road ahead and we hope you are too.

To learn more about Android Pay and share your feedback, visit our developer pages.
Categories: Programming

What’s new in Google Play at I/O 2016: better betas, the pre-launch report, benchmarks, a new Play Console app, and more

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 02:28
Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director, Google Play Apps & Games

Google Play reaches over 1 billion monthly active users giving developers the world’s largest app distribution platform. Last year, Play users installed apps 65 billion times. To keep that great momentum going, we’re continuing to listen to your feedback and invest in more ways to help you grow your app or game business. Today, we’re sharing new features that benefit developers of all sizes.


 

Improvements to beta tests and app discovery on Google Play

Beta testing is a crucial tool that many developers use in the Google Play Developer Console to test their apps with real users, gather feedback, and make improvements before launching widely. Open beta tests are helpful to get feedback from a large group of users and allow any user to join a beta test. We're making open beta tests easier to find and participate in: apps that are available only as open betas and aren’t in production yet will soon appear in Play search results, users will be able to opt-in from Play store listings directly, and users will be able to send you private feedback through your Play store listing too.

We'll also be adding a new featured section to the store, called Google Play Early Access, showcasing a hand-picked group of promising open betas that haven’t gone to production yet.

There are more than a million apps available on Google Play and we continue to work on making it easy for people to discover the apps they’ll love. To that end, you’ll start seeing new collections on the store for tasks that might require a combination of apps. For example, when you're buying a house, you’ll see the best apps for finding real estate, keeping notes, getting a mortgage, and travelling in the area in one handy collection. Developers don’t need to take any action to take advantage of this benefit, apps will automatically be chosen. These contextual collections make it easier for users to discover complimentary apps as well as new types of apps.
Users can now opt-in to beta tests from the Play Store An example of a new collection for apps relating to buying a house Improve your app with the Play pre-launch report

Your app business relies on having high quality apps. To achieve quality, your apps need to be tested on a range of real devices before you ship them to your users. Play’s new pre-launch report summarizes issues found when testing your app on Firebase Test Lab for Android on a wide range of devices.

The pre-launch report in the Developer Console Along with diagnostics to help you fix any crashes we detected in your app, your reports will also include screenshots from devices that use different Android versions, languages, and screen resolutions. These can help you find layout issues. We’ve also included early warnings of known security vulnerabilities that may have sneaked into your app -- even via third party libraries you rely on. You can enable the pre-launch report in the Developer Console.

Gain deeper insights from user reviews at a glance and reply to user reviews more easily

Your app reviews offer a wealth of information on what your users like and dislike about your app. We’re expanding on the improvements we made to ratings and reviews earlier this year, to offer you more ways to take advantage of reviews and better engage your audience.

Review benchmarks let you see your app’s rating distribution compared to similar apps in your category for a list of common topics which are relevant for all apps – like design, stability, and speed. You are also able to see how each area impacts your app’s rating. Review topics will let you see your app’s rating distribution for a list of topics which are specific to your app. With this analysis functionality, you can more easily identify what users think of your app and where to focus your improvement efforts.

Review benchmarks in the Developer Console Developers frequently tell us they find replying to reviews valuable as a channel to directly engage their audience and gather feedback. In fact, we have found that users who update their star rating after a developer has responded to their review increase it by an average of 0.7 stars. For developers who have their own customer support solutions, we’re making replying easier with a new Reply to Reviews API. In the last few months, we’ve tested the API with Zendesk and Conversocial, so you can now start replying to reviews directly from those popular platforms or build your own custom integration.



Developers can now reply to reviews on Google Play from platorms such as Zendesk and Conversocial Understand more about user acquisition and conversion, and see how you’re doing compared to others

The User Acquisition performance report in the Developer Console gives you a snapshot of how many users visit your store listing, how many install your app, and how many go on to make purchases. We’ve now added the ability to see user acquisition data by country and you’ll soon be able to see user acquisition benchmarks and compare your app’s conversion rates to similar apps on the Play store. With this data, you can find opportunities to focus your marketing efforts and increase your installs with tools like Store Listing Experiments.


User acquisition country data in the Developer Console
Building apps and games for billions of users

Hundreds of millions of users, many of them in emerging markets, are coming online and, for many of them, their first experience is on an Android device.
 
To help you get your app ready for this opportunity, we’ve created Building for Billions guidelines with a development checklist to help you optimize your app. You can also get more in-depth tips and best practices for expanding to new markets in the accompanying Building for Billions Playbook

To help you meet local expectations when you set your prices and make purchases more attractive to your users, the Developer Console will now automatically round prices to local conventions in each market. For example, for a US app priced at $1.99, a user in Japan would see ¥200 rather than a non-rounded price from a straight FX conversion. You can also set up pricing templates to change pricing for products in bulk. You can make this change in the Developer Console.

While you're working on getting your app ready for billions of users, we've been enhancing the Google Play experience for them too. With improved compression, we've made app updates more data efficient, and we're focusing on making the Play Store itself faster than ever on all connection types.

We’ve also revamped how we select visible apps in key markets like India and Brazil to better showcase apps that are more relevant locally and apps made by local developers. And we continue to add more payment methods in new countries, including carrier billing and gift cards in India and Indonesia.

Two new apps: Get your app data and important notifications on the go, and stay up to date with best practices

To give you access to your data when you need it, and to keep you informed of crucial business updates with notifications, we’re launching the Play Console app. You can access your app’s data including installs, uninstalls, crashes, ratings, and reviews. You can also receive push notifications for important news like when your app update is live on Google Play. And you can even reply to reviews directly in the app, making it easier and quicker to engage your audience when you want to. Get the Play Console app on Google Play today.

Staying on top of all the features and best practices and strategies you should consider when growing your business can be a challenge. We’ve built another app, the Playbook by Google Play. The Playbook is a tailored list, based on your objectives, of the latest articles and videos from Google experts and across the web to help you grow a successful business on Google Play. Join the Playbook beta today and let us know your feedback.
The Play Console app Playbook by Google Play
Finally, we will be soon making some updates to the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA), which includes the ability for family members to share purchased apps on Google Play. Here you can see the updated DDA.


To learn more about all of these features, tune-in live to ‘What’s new in Google Play for developers’ at 11am PDT / 2pm EDT / 7:00pm GMT+1 on May 19 on the Google Developers YouTube channel.

If you’re attending I/O, come and visit the Google Play sandbox to get your app reviewed by experts.
Whether you’re attending I/O in person, at one of the many I/O Extended events around the world, or just watching from home, you can find more Google Play sessions in the I/O 2016 schedule.
Categories: Programming

Introducing Android Instant Apps

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 02:13
Posted by Suresh Ganapathy, Product Manager

Developers have built amazing Android apps. They use your mobile device to the fullest, including the camera, GPS, and sensors to connect to the real world. They’re beautiful and immersive, with Material Design and smooth animations running at 60 frames per second. They use access to identity and payments to create seamless experiences.

But developers tell us they wish they could bring users into their apps more quickly and easily. With the web, you can click on a link and land on a web page — it takes one click and just a few seconds. It should be easier for users to access a wider range of apps, and for developers to reach more people.

So, we asked ourselves: How do we make it possible for people to access a wider range of apps, seamlessly? How do we help developers reach more people? And how do we do that while giving developers access to the range of capabilities and experiences that Android apps provide?

Today we’re sharing a preview of a new project that we think will change how people experience Android apps. We call it Android Instant Apps, and it evolves Android apps to be able to run instantly, without requiring installation. With Instant Apps, a tap on a URL can open right in an Android app, even if the user doesn’t have that app installed.

As a developer, you won’t need to build a new, separate app. It’s the same Android APIs, the same project, the same source code. You’ll simply update your existing Android app to take advantage of Instant Apps functionality. In fact, it can take less than a day to get up and running for some developers, though the effort involved will vary depending on how your app is structured. You modularize your app, and Google Play downloads only the parts that are needed, on the fly. And when you do upgrade, your app will be available to more than a billion users on Android devices going back to Jelly Bean.

This is a big change, so it's going to take some time. We’ve been working with a small set of partners to help refine the experience, including developers like BuzzFeed, B&H Photo, Medium, Hotel Tonight, Zumper and Disney. We’ll be gradually expanding access for developers and bringing Instant Apps to users later this year.

B&H Photo (via Google Search) BuzzFeedVideo (via a shared link) Park and Pay (example) (via NFC)
If you’re interested in learning more about Android Instant Apps, please check out the Android developers website, where you can sign up for updates as they become available. We can’t wait to see what you build when your app is just a tap away.
Categories: Programming

Google Play services 9.0 updates

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 01:57
Posted by Laurence Moroney, Developer Advocate


It’s been a little while since we made a release of Google Play services, because we’ve been busy integrating Firebase. While Firebase will contain the SDKs you’ve come to know and love for building mobile applications that run cross platform, we’ll also continue to ship Google Play services updates with new SDKs regularly. Firebase was built using Google Play services 9.0, so let’s dig a little deeper into some of the new and cool APIs that are available in this release.

Ads If you build apps that monetize with ads, we’ve added a lot of updates since 8.4. There's a new Initialization method that publishers can use to kick off the SDK at app start. There's also a new native ads format: Native Ads Express. With Native Ads Express, publishers can define CSS templates for their ad units that define fonts, colors, positioning, and other style information. AdMob combines these with advertiser assets like headlines and calls to action to make a finished ad, which is displayed in a NativeExpressAdView. Moving the work of customizing presentation off the device means there's less mobile code required, plus it's possible to update templates without redeploying the app.

Nearby We’re continuing to update BLE beacon scanning in Nearby Messages. Any app with ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION will be able to scan for beacons via Nearby without any additional permissions. We recommend developers check to see if the app has the location permission prior to calling GoogleApiClient.connect(). Get started here.

For peer-to-peer Nearby Messages, there’s now an option to show the opt-in dialog upon connection to the GoogleApiClient which significantly reduces boilerplate for obtaining the Nearby permission.

Player Stats API We’re also continuing to update the Play Games Client SDK with improvements to the Player Stat API and the public launch of the video recording API. The Player Stats API now has Predictive Analytics to help you identify which groups of players are likely to spend or churn, and we are adding new predictions for how much a player is likely to spend within 28 days and the probability that a player is a high spender. This allows you to tailor experiences for these players to try to increase their spend or engagement. Learn more about the Player Stats API.

Video recording API You will be able to easily add video recording to your app and let users share their videos with their friends and on YouTube in a few simple steps. In the coming months, we are also adding live streaming functionality to allow your fans to broadcast their gameplay experiences in real time on YouTube.

That’s it for this release of Google Play services 9.0 -- we’re continuing to ship new APIs all the time so watch this blog for future announcements.
Categories: Programming

What’s new in Android: the N-Release, Virtual Reality, Android Studio 2.2 and more

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 00:40
Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

In the past year, Android users around the globe have installed apps–built by developers like you–over 65 billion times on Google Play. To help developers continue to build amazing experiences on top of Android, today at Google I/O, we announced a number of new things we’re doing with the platform, including the next Developer Preview of Android N, an extension of Android into virtual reality, an update to Android Studio, and much more!

Android N Developer Preview is available to try on a range of devices Android N: Performance, Productivity and Security
With Android N, we want to achieve a new level of product excellence for Android, so we’ve carried out some pretty deep surgery to the platform, rewriting and redesigning some fundamental aspects of how the system works. For Android N, we are focused on three key themes: performance, productivity and security. The first Developer Preview introduced a brand new JIT compiler to improve software performance, make app installs faster, and take up less storage. The second N Developer Preview included Vulkan, a new 3D rendering API to help game developers deliver high performance graphics on mobile devices. Both previews also brought useful productivity improvements to Android, including Multi-Window support and Direct Reply.

Multi-Window mode on Android N Android N also adds some important new features to help keep users safer and more secure. Inspired by how Chromebooks apply updates, we’re introducing seamless updates, so that new Android devices built on N can install system updates in the background. This means that the next time a user powers up their device, new devices can automatically and seamlessly switch into the new updated system image.

Today’s release of Android N Developer Preview 3 is our first beta-quality candidate, available to test on your primary phone or tablet. You can opt in to the Android Beta Program at android.com/beta and run Android N on your Nexus 6, 9, 5X, 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One (General Mobile 4G). By inviting more people to try this beta release, developers can expect to see an uptick in usage of your apps on N; if you’ve got an Android app, you should be testing how it works on N, and be watching for feedback from users.

VR Mode in Android  
Android was built for today’s multi-screen world; in fact, Android powers your phone, your tablet, the watch on your wrist, it even works in your car and in your living room, all the while helping you move seamlessly between each device. As we look to what’s next, we believe your phone can be a really powerful new way to see the world and experience new content virtually, in a more immersive way; but, until this point, high quality mobile VR wasn’t possible across the Android ecosystem. That’s why we’ve worked at all levels of the Android stack in N–from how the operating system reads sensor data to how it sends pixels to the display–to make it especially built to provide high quality mobile VR experiences, with VR Mode in Android. There are a number of performance enhancements designed for developers, including single buffer rendering and access to an exclusive CPU core for VR apps. Within your apps, you can take advantage of smooth head-tracking and stereo notifications that work for VR. Most importantly, Android N provides for very low latency graphics; in fact, motion-to-photon latency on Nexus 6P running Developer Preview 3 is <20 ms, the speed necessary to establish immersion for the user to feel like they are actually in another place. We’ll be covering all of the new VR updates tomorrow at 9AM PT in the VR at Google session, livestreamed from Google I/O.

Android Instant Apps: real apps, without the installation 
We want to make it easier for users to discover and use your apps. So what if your app was just a tap away? What if users didn't have to install it at all? Today, we're introducing Android Instant Apps as part of our effort to evolve the way we think about apps. Whether someone discovers your app from search, social media, messaging or other deep links, they’ll be able to experience a fast and powerful native Android app without needing to stop and install your app first or reauthenticate. Best of all, Android Instant Apps is compatible with all Android devices running Jellybean or higher (4.1+) with Google Play services. Android Instant Apps functionality is an upgrade to your existing Android app, not a new, separate app; you can sign-up to request early access to the documentation.

Android Wear 2.0: UI changes and standalone apps  
This morning at Google I/O, we also announced the most significant Android Wear update since its launch two years ago: Android Wear 2.0. Based on what we’ve learned from users and developers, we're evolving the platform to improve key watch experiences: watch faces, messaging, and fitness. We’re also making a number of UI changes and updating our design guidelines to make your apps more consistent, intuitive, and beautiful.  With Android Wear 2.0, apps can be standalone and have direct network access to the cloud via a Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular connection.  Since your app won’t have to rely on the Data Layer APIs, it can continue to offer full functionality even if the paired phone is far away or turned off. You can read about all of the new features available in today’s preview here.


Android Studio 2.2 Preview: a new layout designer, constraint layout, and much more
Android Studio is the quickest way to get up and running with Android N and all our new platform features. Today at Google I/O, we previewed Android Studio 2.2 - another big update to the IDE designed to help you code faster with smart new tooling features built in. One of the headline features is our rewritten layout designer with the new constraint layout. In addition to helping you get out of XML to do your layouts visually, the new tools help you easily design for Android’s many great devices. Once you’re happy with a layout, we do all the hard work to automatically calculate constraints for you, so your UIs will resize automatically on different screen sizes . Here’s an overview of more of what’s new in 2.2 Preview (we’ll be diving into more detail this update at 10AM PT tomorrow in “What’s new in Android Development Tools”, livestreamed from Google I/O):

  • Speed: New layout designer and constraint layout, Espresso test recording and even faster builds
  • Smarts: APK analyzer, Layout inspector, expanded Android code analysis and IntelliJ 2016.1
  • Platform Support: Enhanced Jack compiler / Java 8 support, Expanded C++ support with CMake and NDK-Build, Firebase support and enhanced accessibility

New Layout Editor and Constraint Layout in Android Studio 2.2 Preview
This is just a small taste of some of the new updates for Android, announced today at Google I/O. There are more than 50 Android-related sessions over the next three days; if you’re not able to join us in person, many of them will be livestreamed, and all of them will be posted to YouTube after we’re done. We can’t wait to see what you build!
Categories: Programming

Google I/O 2016: Develop, Grow & Earn

Android Developers Blog - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 20:39
By Jason Titus, Vice President, Developer Product Group

Earlier today, we kicked off our 10-year celebration of hosting developer events with Google I/O in front of over 7,000 developers at Shoreline Amphitheatre, and with millions of other viewers on the I/O live stream around the world. During the keynote, we had a number of announcements that featured tools for Android, iOS, and mobile Web developers, showcased the power of machine learning for delivering better user experiences, and introduced a previewed platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality.

And over the next three days at the festival, we’ll continue to focus on things that matter to you: Develop, to build high quality apps; Grow & Earn, to find high quality users, increase user engagement and create successful businesses; and What’s Next, a look at new platforms for future growth.

Develop, Grow & Earn with FirebaseThose core themes are best represented in our launch of Firebase. As shared during the keynote, we’ve significantly expanded Firebase beyond a mobile backend to include brand new features, like mobile analytics, growth tools, and crash reporting. Firebase is now a suite of 15 features and integrations designed to help you develop your app, grow a user base and earn money. At the heart of the suite is a new mobile analytics tool we built from the ground up called Firebase Analytics. Available for free and unlimited usage, Firebase Analytics is inspired by our decade-long experience running Google Analytics, but designed specifically for the unique needs of apps.

Let's also take a closer look at the other major developer news at I/O:

Develop
  • Android N Developer Preview 3 — Get a look at the next release of Android N focused on performance, productivity and security. Even better, Android N is now ready to test on primary phones or tablets.
  • Android VR — A rework of the entire Android stack in N to tailor it to provide high quality mobile VR experiences.
  • Android Studio 2.2 Preview — Our new preview focuses on speed, smarts, and Android platform support. This major update includes a completely rewritten, feature-rich Layout Designer.
  • Android Wear 2.0: A developer preview of the biggest platform update since we launched Android Wear two years ago. It includes updated design guidelines and APIs that make the watch even more useful for watch faces, messaging, and fitness. Apps on the watch can now be standalone, with direct network access to the cloud.
  • Recording APIs: enables Android TV app developers and content providers to bring recording functionality to live channels.
  • Google Play services 9.0 — In addition to Firebase, the next release includes new API updates for Ads, Nearby and Play Games services.
  • Android Pay APIs — A new set of tools that includes support for mobile web, Instant Apps, Save to Android Pay and an API for issuers. We’ll have more to share during the session “Android Pay everywhere: New developments” later today at 2:00 PM PT Stage 1 Hercules.
  • Progressive Web Apps — A new set of capabilities to build app-like mobile websites that work reliably on the worst network connections and can send notifications to re-engage users.
  • Credentials API — The latest version of Chrome now supports the Credential Management API, allowing sites to interact with the browser’s credential manager to improve the sign in experience for users. The API enables users to sign in with one tap and lets them automatically sign back in when returning to the site.
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages — Check out the AMP project, an open source initiative that is helping publishers create mobile-optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.
Grow & Earn
  • Reach a global audience on Google Play — New and powerful tools to help you grow your business: discover and join beta tests from the Play Store (including a new Early Access section), discover collections of complementary apps to help users solve complex tasks, see how your app runs on real devices with a new pre-launch report, get insights and benchmarks for reviews and user acquisition, monitor your app stats and get notifications when your updates are live with the new Play Console app, and more.
  • Android Instant Apps — With Android Instant Apps, users can open your app simply by tapping on a link, even if they don’t have the app installed. Instant Apps is compatible with Android Jelly Bean and later, reaching over a billion users. We’re working with a small set of developers now, and we’ll be gradually expanding access.
  • Building for billions — New resources to help you optimize your app and get your business ready to serve over a billion Android users around the world.
  • Universal App Campaigns — Last year, we introduced Universal App Campaigns as a simple and powerful way to surface apps to the billions of users across Google Play, Search, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. We’re building on this success by expanding onto iOS and by helping developers use insights to optimize for lifetime value. See our new apps best practices.
What’s Next
  • Awareness API: We'll be previewing a new, unified sensing platform that enables apps to be aware of all aspects of a user's context, while managing system health for you. Learn more at the "Introducing Awareness API: an easy way to make your apps context aware" session later today at 3:00 PM PT in Stage 5 Libra.
  • Daydream — We’ll have more to share on how developers can start building Daydream apps during the “VR at Google” session tomorrow (May 19) at 9:00 AM PT in the Amphitheatre and livestreamed.
  • Chromebooks — Hear from the team firsthand what’s new with Chromebooks tomorrow (May 19) at 11:00 AM PT in Stage 8 Crater.
  • The Mobile Web — We’ll share what we’re doing to improve the mobile web experience for developers and users tomorrow (May 19) at 2:00 PM PT in the Amphitheatre.
Categories: Programming

New ways to keep data flowing between your apps and ours

Google Code Blog - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 20:32

Originally posted on Google Apps Developers Blog

Posted by Tom Holman, Product Manager, Google Sheets

There was a time when office work used to be all about pushing physical paper. Computing and productivity tools have made things better, but workers still find themselves doing the same tasks over and over across the different apps they use: copying and pasting from a CRM app to a slide presentation, or manually exporting data from a project management app just to turn around and import it back into a spreadsheet. It’s the digital equivalent of pushing paper.

To make it easier to get the job done across multiple apps, without all the copy and paste, we’re announcing three new APIs and a new feature to help workers get to the data they need, when and where they need it.

Build seamless integrations with the new Sheets and Slides APIs

Our new APIs let developers connect their apps—and the data within them—more deeply with Google Sheets and Google Slides.

The new Sheets API gives developers programmatic access to powerful features in the Sheets web and mobile interfaces, including charts and pivot tables. For example, developers can use Sheets as part of a rich workflow that pushes data from their app into Sheets and allows users to collaborate on that data before the updated data is pulled back into the original app, removing altogether the need to copy and paste.

Teams at Anaplan, Asana, Sage, Salesforce, and SAP Anywhere are already building interesting integrations with the new Sheets API. Check out the video below to see an overview of what’s possible as well as several example integrations.


Partner integrations with the new Google Sheets API

The new Sheets API is available today. Find the developer documentation as well as a codelab to help you get started at developers.google.com/sheets.


Similar to the Sheets API, the new Slides API gives developers programmatic access to create and update presentations. For example, developers can use this API to push data and charts into Slides to create a polished report from source data in other application, ready to present.

Conga, ProsperWorks, SalesforceIQ and Trello are all building integrations with Slides using the new API. Several examples of what’s possible are in the video below.


Partner integrations with the new Google Slides API

The Slides API will be launching in the coming months, and these partner integrations will be available soon after. You can sign up for early access to the Slides API at developers.google.com/slides.


Keep your data in sync with the new Classroom API

For developers building tools and workflows for schools, the Classroom API has launched new coursework endpoints to help you build stronger integrations that keep your data in sync. Read the full announcement on the Google for Education blog, here.

Sync assignments & grades programmatically with the Google Classroom API


Say goodbye to stale data with linked charts

Finally, to make sure we can help keep all this data flowing seamlessly from app to app, users can now also embed linked charts from Sheets into Docs or Slides. The result? Once the underlying data in a spreadsheet changes, whether that change comes from an action taken in another app via the API or a collaborator, an updated chart in the corresponding presentation or document is just one click away.

Linked charts allow for easy updates in Docs & Slides

For more information, see how to add a chart to a document or to a presentation.

We can't wait to see what you build.

Categories: Programming

Google I/O 2016: Develop, Grow & Earn

Google Code Blog - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 20:09

By Jason Titus, Vice President, Developer Product Group

Earlier today, we kicked off our 10-year celebration of hosting developer events with Google I/O in front of over 7,000 developers at Shoreline Amphitheatre, and with millions of other viewers on the I/O live stream around the world. During the keynote, we had a number of announcements that featured tools for Android, iOS, and mobile Web developers, showcased the power of machine learning for delivering better user experiences, and introduced a previewed platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality.

And over the next three days at the festival, we’ll continue to focus on things that matter to you: Develop, to build high quality apps; Grow & Earn, to find high quality users, increase user engagement and create successful businesses; and What’s Next, a look at new platforms for future growth.

Develop, Grow & Earn with Firebase

Those core themes are best represented in our launch of Firebase. As shared during the keynote, we’ve significantly expanded Firebase beyond a mobile backend to include brand new features, like mobile analytics, growth tools, and crash reporting. Firebase is now a suite of 15 features and integrations designed to help you develop your app, grow a user base and earn money. At the heart of the suite is a new mobile analytics tool we built from the ground up called Firebase Analytics. Available for free and unlimited usage, Firebase Analytics is inspired by our decade-long experience running Google Analytics, but designed specifically for the unique needs of apps.

Let's also take a closer look at the other major developer news at I/O:

Develop
  • Android N Developer Preview 3 — Get a look at the next release of Android N focused on performance, productivity and security. Even better, Android N is now ready to test on primary phones or tablets.
  • Android VR — A rework of the entire Android stack in N to tailor it to provide high quality mobile VR experiences.
  • Android Studio 2.2 Preview — Our new preview focuses on speed, smarts, and Android platform support. This major update includes a completely rewritten, feature-rich Layout Designer.
  • Android Wear 2.0: A developer preview of the biggest platform update since we launched Android Wear two years ago. It includes updated design guidelines and APIs that make the watch even more useful for watch faces, messaging, and fitness. Apps on the watch can now be standalone, with direct network access to the cloud.
  • Recording APIs: enables Android TV app developers and content providers to bring recording functionality to live channels.
  • Google Play services 9.0 — In addition to Firebase, the next release includes new API updates for Ads, Nearby and Play Games services.
  • Android Pay APIs — A new set of tools that includes support for mobile web, Instant Apps, Save to Android Pay and an API for issuers. We’ll have more to share during the session “Android Pay everywhere: New developments” later today at 2:00 PM PT Stage 1 Hercules.
  • Progressive Web Apps — A new set of capabilities to build app-like mobile websites that work reliably on the worst network connections and can send notifications to re-engage users.
  • Credentials API — The latest version of Chrome now supports the Credential Management API, allowing sites to interact with the browser’s credential manager to improve the sign in experience for users. The API enables users to sign in with one tap and lets them automatically sign back in when returning to the site.
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages — Check out the AMP project, an open source initiative that is helping publishers create mobile-optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.
Grow & Earn
  • Reach a global audience on Google Play — New and powerful tools to help you grow your business: discover and join beta tests from the Play Store (including a new Early Access section), discover collections of complementary apps to help users solve complex tasks, see how your app runs on real devices with a new pre-launch report, get insights and benchmarks for reviews and user acquisition, monitor your app stats and get notifications when your updates are live with the new Play Console app, and more.
  • Android Instant Apps — With Android Instant Apps, users can open your app simply by tapping on a link, even if they don’t have the app installed. Instant Apps is compatible with Android Jelly Bean and later, reaching over a billion users. We’re working with a small set of developers now, and we’ll be gradually expanding access.
  • Building for billions — New resources to help you optimize your app and get your business ready to serve over a billion Android users around the world.
  • Universal App Campaigns — Last year, we introduced Universal App Campaigns as a simple and powerful way to surface apps to the billions of users across Google Play, Search, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. We’re building on this success by expanding onto iOS and by helping developers use insights to optimize for lifetime value. See our new apps best practices.
What’s Next
  • Awareness API: We'll be previewing a new, unified sensing platform that enables apps to be aware of all aspects of a user's context, while managing system health for you. Learn more at the "Introducing Awareness API: an easy way to make your apps context aware" session later today at 3:00 PM PT in Stage 5 Libra.
  • Daydream — We’ll have more to share on how developers can start building Daydream apps during the “VR at Google” session tomorrow (May 19) at 9:00 AM PT in the Amphitheatre and livestreamed.
  • Chromebooks — Hear from the team firsthand what’s new with Chromebooks tomorrow (May 19) at 11:00 AM PT in Stage 8 Crater.
  • The Mobile Web — We’ll share what we’re doing to improve the mobile web experience for developers and users tomorrow (May 19) at 2:00 PM PT in the Amphitheatre.
Categories: Programming

Firebase expands to become a unified app platform

Google Code Blog - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 19:57
Posted by James Tamplin & Francis Ma, Firebase Product Leads

Eighteen months ago, Firebase joined Google. Since then, our backend-as-a-service (BaaS) that handles the heavy lifting of building an app has grown from a passionate community of 110,000 developers to over 450,000.

Our current features -- Realtime Database, User Authentication, and Hosting -- make app development easier, but there’s more we can do, so today, we’re announcing a major expansion!

Firebase is expanding to become a unified app platform for Android, iOS and mobile web development. We’re adding new tools to help you develop faster, improve app quality, acquire and engage users, and monetize apps. On top of this, we’re launching a brand new analytics product that ties everything together, all while staying true to the guiding principles we’ve had from the beginning:

  • Developer experience matters. Ease-of-use, good documentation, and intuitive APIs make developers happy.
  • Work across platforms. We’ll support you whether you’re building for iOS, Web, or Android.
  • Integrate where possible. Firebase has one SDK, one console, and one place to go for documentation and support. You can mix-and-match any of our features and, where it makes sense, data flows between them to help you do more, faster.
Introducing Firebase Analytics

Firebase Analytics is our brand new, free and unlimited analytics solution for mobile apps. It benefits from Google’s experience with Google Analytics, but differs in a few important ways:

First, Firebase Analytics is user and event-centric. Instead of focusing on pageviews, screenviews, and sessions, it gives you insight into what your users are doing in your app. You can also see how your paid advertising campaigns are performing with cross-network attribution, which tells you where your users are coming from. You can see all of this from a single dashboard.

Second, Firebase Analytics is integrated with other Firebase offerings to provide a single source of truth for in-app activity and through a feature called Audiences. Audiences let you define groups of users with common attributes. Once defined, these groups can be accessed from other Firebase features -- to illustrate, we’ll reference Audiences throughout this post.

Develop Faster with Messaging, Storage, Config

To help you build better apps, our suite of backend services is expanding.

Google Cloud Messaging, the most popular cloud-to-device push messaging service in the world, is integrating with Firebase and changing its name to Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM). Available for free and for unlimited usage, FCM supports messaging on iOS, Android, and the Web, and is heavily optimized for reliability and battery-efficiency. It’s built for scale and already sends 170 billion messages per day to two billion devices.

One of our most requested features is the ability to store images, videos, and other large files. We’re launching Firebase Storage so developers can easily and securely upload and download such files. Firebase Storage is powered by Google Cloud Storage, giving it massive scalability and allowing stored files to be easily accessed by Google Cloud projects. The Firebase Storage client SDKs have advanced logic to gracefully handle poor network conditions.

Firebase Remote Config gives you instantly-updatable variables that you can use to tune and customize your app on the fly to deliver the best experience to your users. You can enable or disable features or change the look and feel without having to publish a new version. You can also target configurations to specific Firebase Analytics Audiences so that each of your users has an experience that’s tailored for them.

In addition, we’re continuing to invest heavily in our existing backend products, Firebase Realtime Database, Firebase Hosting, and Firebase Authentication. Authentication has seen the biggest updates, with brand new SDKs, and an upgraded backend infrastructure. This provides added security, reliability, and scale using the same technologies that power Google’s own accounts. We’ve also added new Authentication features including email verification and account linking. For Hosting, custom domain support is now free for all developers, and the Database has a completely rebuilt UI. We’re working hard on other great Realtime Database features, stay tuned for those.

Introducing Test Lab and Crash Reporting

We’re adding two new offerings to Firebase to help you deliver higher quality apps.

When your app crashes, it’s bad for your users and it hurts your business. Firebase Crash Reporting gives you prioritized, actionable reports to help you diagnose and fix problems in your iOS or Android app after it has shipped. We’ve also connected Crash Reporting to Audiences in Firebase Analytics, so you can tell if users on a particular device, in a specific geography, or in any other custom segment are experiencing elevated crash rates.

Cloud Test Lab, announced last year at Google I/O, is now Firebase Test Lab for Android. Test Lab helps you find problems in your app before your users do. It allows for both automatic and customized testing of your app on real devices hosted in Google data centers.

Grow Your App with Notifications, Dynamic Links, and More

After you’ve launched your app, we can help you grow and re-engage users with five powerful growth features.

Firebase Notifications is a new UI built on top of the Firebase Cloud Messaging APIs that lets you easily deliver notifications to your users without writing a line of code. Using the Notifications console you can re-engage users, run marketing campaigns, and target messages to Audiences in Firebase Analytics.

Firebase Dynamic Links make URLs more powerful in two ways. First, they provide “durability” -- links persist across the app install process so users are taken to the right place when they first open your app. This “warm welcome” increases engagement and retention. Second, they allow for dynamically changing the destination of a link based on run-time conditions, such as the type of browser or device. Use them in web, email, social media, and physical promotions to gain insight into your growth channels.

Firebase Invites turns your customers into advocates. Your users can easily share referral codes or their favorite content via SMS or email to their network, so you can increase your app's reach and retention.

Firebase App Indexing, formerly Google App Indexing, brings new and existing users to your app from the billions of Google searches. If your app is already installed, users can launch it directly from the search results. New users are presented with a link to install your app.

AdWords, Google’s advertising platform for user acquisition and engagement, is now integrated with Firebase. Firebase can track your AdWords app installs and report lifetime value to the Firebase Analytics dashboard. Firebase Audiences can be used in AdWords to re-engage specific groups of users. In-app events can be defined as conversions in AdWords, to automatically optimize your ads, including universal app campaigns.

Monetize Your App With AdMob

To help you generate revenue from your app and build a sustainable business, we’ve integrated Firebase with AdMob, an advertising platform used by more than 1 million apps. We’ve made it easier to get started with AdMob when you integrate the Firebase SDK into your app. Using AdMob, you can choose from the latest ad formats, including native ads, which help provide a great user experience.

Introducing a New Console, Documentation, and SDK

Along with new feature launches, we’re moving our website and documentation to a new home: firebase.google.com.

We’re also launching a brand new console to manage your app. It is completely redesigned and rebuilt for improved ease of use, and we’ve deeply integrated it with other Google offerings, like Google Cloud and Google Play.

Firebase now uses the same underlying account system as Google Cloud Platform, which means you can use Cloud products with your Firebase app. For example, a feature of Firebase Analytics is the ability to export your raw analytics data to BigQuery for advanced querying. We’ll continue to weave together Cloud and Firebase, giving you the functionality of a full public cloud as you grow.

You can also link your Firebase account to Google Play from our new console. This allows data, like in-app purchases, to flow to Firebase Analytics, and ANRs (application not responding) to flow to Firebase Crash Reporting, giving you one place to check the status of your app.

Finally, we’re announcing the beta launch of a new C++ SDK. You can find the documentation and getting started guides here.

Announcing New Pricing Plans

We’re excited to announce that most of these new products, including Analytics, Crash Reporting, Remote Config, and Dynamic Links, are free for unlimited usage.

For our four paid products: Test Lab, Storage, Realtime Database, and Hosting, we’re announcing simpler pricing. We now offer:

  • A free plan with generous limits
  • A fixed-rate plan for early-stage startups who need a predictable monthly price
  • A metered pay-as-you-go plan that scales with the largest apps
Some Things Stay the Same

Many things are changing, but Firebase’s core principles remain the same. We care deeply about providing a great developer experience through easy-to-use APIs, intuitive interfaces, comprehensive documentation, and tight integrations. We’re committed to cross-platform development for iOS, Android, and the Web, and when you run into trouble, we’ll provide support to help you succeed.

If you were using a Firebase feature before today -- like the Realtime Database, GCM, or App Indexing -- there’s no impact on your app. We’ll continue to support you, though we recommend upgrading to the latest SDK to access our new features.

More to Come

As far as we’ve come, this is still early days. We’ll continue to refine and add to Firebase. For example, the JavaScript SDK does not yet support all the new features. We’re working quickly to close gaps, and we’d love to hear your feedback so we can improve. You can help by requesting a feature.

Get Started!

All the new features are ready-to-go, and already in use by apps like Shazam, SkyScanner, PicCollage, and more. Get started today by signing up, visiting our new site, or reading the documentation to learn more.

We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Categories: Programming

Digital Transformation Books

image

Here is a roundup of my favorite books on Digital Transformation.

If you know me, you know I read a lot.  For me, it’s a quick way to “stand on the shoulders of giants” and to learn the patterns of what works.  I’ve found that the right books can help me leap frog ahead.

I’ve also found that reading a variety of books on a topic helps me get a better balcony view.  It’s from this balcony view that I can create clarity from chaos, and see the forest for the trees.

Reading multiple books on a topic also helps big ideas sink in better.  I might not quite get an idea in one book, but then it suddenly clicks in with another book, because the author presented it in a different way.   I find reading multiple books actually compounds my learning and pays off in ways I can’t predict, often creating serendipity.

Key Areas for Digital Transformation

My collection of Digital Transformation books spans a few key areas that I think help when it comes to driving Digital Transformation.

  1. One key area is innovation.  Innovation is the life blood of Digital Transformation.  If you can’t reimagine your business or explore the art of the possible, you won’t be very effective in your transition to the Digital Era.  Success transformation requires a reboot and a rethink of new ways to create and capture value at the edge.
  2. Another key area is business model innovation.  This is far more important than most people understand until they realize that it’s the business model that determines which ideas and which innovations survive in the market.  So many great ideas die on the vine because they lack an effective business model.   The more you learn about value engineering and how to translate ideas into real market opportunity, the better equipped you are to create new revenue streams in the Digital Economy.
  3. Another key area is culture change.  Culture is the environment you create for Digital Transformation to survive and thrive.  Culture is what can also kill Digital Transformation.  Creating a learning culture that obsesses over customers and embraces the Millennial way and empowers employees with new ways of working takes intentional effort and deliberate behavior change.
  4. Another key areas is Digital Business Design.  Thinking through your customers, your channels, your value prop, your value stream, and your differentiation is art, science, and strategy in action.  Arming yourself with a mental toolbox of methods, models, and tools can help you gain a real advantage here.
  5. Lastly, and perhaps my favorite topic, is trends and insights.  I don’t look for trends, as in trendy ideas that are more like fads.  I look for fundamental shifts in power or shifts in value or shifts in market demand or shifts in capabilities.  I build catalogs of trends and insights that help me innovate faster, put building blocks together, and use creative synthesis to reimagine and envision future state possibilities.  What if you knew the key trends shaping the world around you, influencing everything from where to live to what career to pursuit to how to create and capture value?

If you read the right books on trends, you end up with the closest thing to a crystal ball.  But rather than bet on one future, you can play the art of the long view and play out multiple paths of possibility.  And that’s how the paranoid survive.

With that in mind, here is my list of Digital Transformation books …

Getting Started

Some of you will want the full list of books.  Others will want the short-list.  All of you need to know which books to start with to get the most bang for the buck.

If you could only read one book, I think Leading Digital gives you the best all up, big picture view of what Digital Transformation is all about.  You will have plenty of stories to draw from, great mental models, and a working knowledge of how to frame out and think through Digital Transformation, including a good idea of what Gartner means when they say, “Bi-Modal IT.”

If you can read two books, then also read No Ordinary Disruption.  This will give you a comprehensive view of the key trends that are shaping the next 10 years around the world and will help you better anticipate the changes around you.

If you can read three books, then read Digital Transformation: A Model to Master Disruption.  This is really an “ideas” book, but it’s both surprisingly simple and surprisingly insightful.  You’ll need to separate the wheat from the chaff, but there are many ripe seeds that will inspire and kickstart your own thinking around how to best approach Digital Transformation.

1. Leading Digital image Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfeeLeading Digital is effectively a guide for driving Digital Transformation in the Enterprise.  While there is a lot of advice perfect for startups, Leading Digital is really a guide to existing large businesses that need to reinvent themselves for the Digital Era.

Leading Digital covers everything from successful Digital Transformation stories to dual-speed IT to customer experience transformation.  This book really provides a mental model and simple approach to driving Digital Transformation.

 

2. No Ordinary Disruption image No Ordinary Disruption, by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan WoetzelDirectors of the McKinsey Global Institute do a deep dive to figure out the key trends and forces shaping the next 10 years.  The authors show how the trends are taking shape through anecdotes, data, and graphics.

 

3. Digital Transformation: A Model to Master Digital Disruption image Digital Transformation, by Jo Caudron and Dado Van PeteghemDigital Transformation introduces “The Infinite Loop of Transformation”:

  1. The Disruption phase: experiencing and acknowledging the severe impact of new players and/or technological evolutions on the core business activities.
  2. The Modeling phase: mapping out the impact of the disruption and trying to transform possible digital threats into digital opportunities, scenarios, and business cases for the future.
  3. The Transformation phase: implementing the digital transformation mode throughout the entire business processes, culture and systems.

The authors also introduce a simple model for approaching innovation:

  1. The Factory
  2. The Guesthouse
  3. The Garage

 

 

Digital Transformation Books A – Z

This is my more comprehensive list of Digital Transformation books that really helped me get an edge in terms of figuring out how to drive Digital Transformation.  It’s a wide variety, but like I said, it’s how the books come together in a symphony of ideas, or more like a mosaic of patterns, that helped me gain new insight well beyond what I could gain by just one or two books.  It’s this collective perspective and cornucopia of ideas that better equip me for driving forward in the Digital Frontier.

1. Age of Context image Age of Context, by Robert Scoble and Shel IsraelAge of Context provides a walkthrough of 5 technological forces shaping our world:

  1. mobile devices
  2. social media
  3. big data
  4. sensors
  5. location-based services

The authors use stories and examples to help us easily understand how brands can use the technologies to change the world. 2. B4B

 

image B4B, by J.B. Wood, Todd Hewlin, and Thomas LahB4B is a framework for transitioning from product-focused to customer outcome-focused.  It helps you prepare for a world of “pay for play” where customers pay when they use the product.

 

3. Blue Ocean Strategy image Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renée A. MauborgneBlue Ocean Strategy provides a way to create disruptive innovation and create uncontested market space.  Rather than compete in a bloody “red” ocean and compete on features, the idea is to create a new market and enjoy a “blue” ocean.

A simple example is rather than try to compete in the circus industry with better animals and a better ringmaster, change the game.  Cirque de Soleil created a new kind of circus by focusing on adults and using acrobats instead of animals to create exotic shows.

 

4. Business Model Generation image Business Model Generation, by by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves PigneurBusiness Model Generation is a guide for creating new business models and designing tomorrow’s enterprises.  It provides a canvas, patterns, design, strategy, and process.

The backbone of the book is a walkthrough of the 9 building blocks for business model generation:

  1. Customer Segments
  2. Value Propositions
  3. Channels
  4. Customer Relationships
  5. Revenue Streams
  6. Key Resources
  7. Key Activities
  8. Key Partnerships
  9. Cost Structure

 

 

5. Business Model Navigator image The Business Model Navigator, by Oliver Gassmann, Karolin Frankenberger, and Michaela CsikThe Business Model Navigator is a great walkthrough of what exactly business model innovation is, along with 55 patterns that represent 90% of business model innovation to date.

 

6. Consumption Economics image Consumption Economics, by J. B. Wood, Todd Hewlin, and Thomas LahConsumption Economics explains the challenge where more value will be created than can be absorbed by users and consumers.  Additionally, the true disruption will be to your business model. Future customers won’t want to pay you high prices out of big “CapEx” budgets anymore. They will expect lower “cloud” prices paid from “OpEx” budgets only when and if they successfully consume the business value of your products.

 

 

7. Digital Disciplines image Digital Disciplines, by Joe Weinman and Fred WiersemaDigital Disciplines walks through how companies can develop a competitive edge through four digital disciplines:

  1. information excellence
  2. solution leadership
  3. collective intimacy
  4. accelerated innovation

 

 

8. Digital Disruption image Digital Disruption, by James McQuiveyThis is a guide to learn how to be a digital disruptor.

James McQuivey shares his approach to disruptive innovation.  He’s gone into the biggest companies, even in traditional industries like insurance and consumer packaged goods and changed the way they think about innovation.

McQuivey shares a simple 3-step process for digital disruption:

  1. First, adopt the right mindset; Take risks, invest as cheaply as possible, and build on existing platforms to find the fastest path to solving a customer’s problem.
  2. Second, seek the “adjacent possible”—the space just next to yours where new technology creates opportunity.
  3. Finally, disrupt yourself. Use these tools to make parts of your business obsolete before your competitors do.

 

9. Digital Master image Digital Master, by Pearl ZhuPearl Zhu outlines what the Digital Masters do to apply advanced digital technology across all business arenas to build high performing organizations:

  1. Develop visionary digital leadership
  2. Shape open and creative digital mindsets
  3. Craft and execute a holistic digital strategy
  4. Advocate digital innovation next practices
  5. Refine a highly effective enterprise culture
  6. Optimize high-performing business capabilities
  7. Explore data-rich digital Intelligence
  8. Unleash enriched digital talent potential
  9. Pursue high level digital maturity

 

10. Digital to the Core image Digital to the Core, by Mark Raskino and Graham WallerDigital to the Core is interesting because it’s written by two Gartner fellows.  In Digital to the Core, the authors walk through leading at three levels:

  1. industry
  2. enterprise
  3. self

The authors draw from interviews with 30 top C-level executives including GE, Ford, McDonald’s, and more.  The authors also include  Gartner’s annual CIO and CEO global survey research.

 

 

11. Digital Transformation image Digital Transformation, by Mark BakerMark Baker shares how different consulting companies and business leaders are thinking about Digital Business Transformation. He his insights to life through interviews with corporate digital leaders and real-life examples.

 

12. Digital Transformation: A Model to Master Digital Disruption image Digital Transformation, by Jo Caudron and Dado Van PeteghemDigital Transformation introduces “The Infinite Loop of Transformation”:

  1. The Disruption phase: experiencing and acknowledging the severe impact of new players and/or technological evolutions on the core business activities.
  2. The Modeling phase: mapping out the impact of the disruption and trying to transform possible digital threats into digital opportunities, scenarios, and business cases for the future.
  3. The Transformation phase: implementing the digital transformation mode throughout the entire business processes, culture and systems.

The authors also introduce a simple model for approaching innovation:

  1. The Factory
  2. The Guesthouse
  3. The Garage

 

 

13. Disrupting Digital Business image Disrupting Digital Business, by R “Ray” WangDisrupting Digital Business walks through how organizations no longer control the conversation.  In this era of social and mobile technology, customers, employees, suppliers, and partners are in direct communication with one another.

Ray Wang explains new ways to think about 5 areas of business:

  1. Consumerization of technology and the new C-suite
  2. Data’s influence in driving decisions
  3. Digital marketing transformation
  4. The future of work
  5. Matrix commerce

 

 

14. Edge Strategy image Edge Strategy, by Alan Lewis and Dan McKoneEdge Strategy provides a simple frame to better understand the edges you can use to create and capture value:

  1. Product edge. How to capture incremental profits and other benefits by slightly altering the elements and composition of a core offering
  2. Journey edge. How to create and capture extra value by adjusting your role in supporting the customer’s journey to and through your offering
  3. Enterprise edge. How to unlock additional value from resources and capabilities that support your core offering by applying them in a different context, for a different offering or different set of customers

 

 

15. How Digital is Your Business? image How Digital is Your Business?, by Adrian J. Slywotzky, David Morrison, and Karl WeberSlywotzky and Morrison show how a digital business is one whose strategic options have been transformed–and significantly broadened–by the use of digital technologies.

 

How Digital is Your Business shares the following:

  1. The core of How Digital is Your Business: Profiles of the future: the in-depth story of the digital pioneers–Dell Computer, Charles Schwab, Cisco Systems, Cemex.
  2. Insight into how to change a traditional enterprise into a digital business: the stories of GE and IBM.
  3. An analysis of the profitable dot-coms: AOL, Yahoo!, and eBay.

Through stories and case studies, How Digital is Your Business? also provides digital tools you can use to create a digital future for your company.

 

16. Leading Digital image Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfeeLeading Digital is effectively a guide for driving Digital Transformation in the Enterprise.  While there is a lot of advice perfect for startups, Leading Digital is really a guide to existing large businesses that need to reinvent themselves for the Digital Era.

Leading Digital covers everything from successful Digital Transformation stories to dual-speed IT to customer experience transformation.  This book really provides a mental model and simple approach to driving Digital Transformation.

 

17. Leading Digital Strategy image Leading Digital Strategy, by Christopher Bones and James HammersleyLeading Digital Strategy shares strategies, methodologies and models to improve the effectiveness of your online offering.

Leading Digital Strategy also shows you how to implement a customer-centric culture, and provides a practical framework for multi-channel success.

 

18. No Ordinary Disruption image No Ordinary Disruption, by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan WoetzelDirectors of the McKinsey Global Institute do a deep dive to figure out the key trends and forces shaping the next 10 years.  The authors show how the trends are taking shape through anecdotes, data, and graphics.

 

19. Scaling Up image Scaling Up, by Verne HarnishScaling Up shows you how to scale up a venture and build an industry-dominating business.

The goal of Scaling Up is to help you create a company where the team is engaged; the customers are doing your marketing; and everyone is making money.

To do so, Scaling Up focuses on the four major decision areas every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash.

 

20. Service Design for Business image Service Design for Business, by Ben Reason, Lavrans Løvlie, and Melvin Brand FluService Design for Business shows you how to transform your cusotmer experience and design services that respond to customers’ needs and demands.

In Service Design for Business, you’ll learn the following keys to designing more effective services:

  1. Approach customer experience from a design perspective
  2. See your organization through the lens of the customer
  3. Make customer experience an organization-wide responsibility
  4. Analyze the market factors that dovetail with customer experience design

 

21. Ten Types of Innovation image Ten Types of Innovation, by Larry Keeley, Helen Walters, Ryan Pikkel, and Brian QuinnTen Types of Innovation provides insights to diagnose patterns of innovation within industries, to identify innovation opportunities, and to evaluate how firms are performing against competitors.

The 10 types of innovation are:

  1. Product
  2. Product System
  3. Service
  4. Channel
  5. Brand
  6. Customer Engagement
  7. Process
  8. Structure
  9. Profit Model
  10. Network

 

22. The Digital Economy image The Digital Economy, by Don TapscottIn the Digital Economy, Don Tapscott provides new forecasts of where the digital world is headed.

The essence of the book is effectively essays where Tapscott walks through the following topics:

  1. Natural frictions between present-day Industrial Capitalism and the Digital Economy
  2. The radical effects of the Internet on traditional corporate structures and systems
  3. Dramatic changes in business collaboration and culture thanks to social media
  4. The rise of web-based analytics and how they have transformed business functions
  5. Government transparency, citizen empowerment, and the creation of public value
  6. Teaching and learning—revolutionary developments driven by digital content

 

 

23. The Digital Enterprise image The Digital Enterprise, by Karl-Heinz StreibichKarl-Heinz Streibich provides a guide to Industry 4.0 and lights it up with 20+ examples of Industry 4.0 in action.  Learn how Industry 4.0 will bring massive efficiencies to aviation, utilities, and many other industries.

 

24. The Digital Transformation Playbook image The Digital Transformation Playbook, by David L. RogersThe Digital Transformation Playbook helps business leaders create and pursue a digital plan.

In The Digital Transformation Playbook, Rogers provides 5 key rules to help businesses create new value and outperform their competitors in the digital age.

Roger’s rules address the following categories:

  1. customers
  2. competition
  3. data
  4. innovation
  5. value proposition

 

25. The Essence of Value image The Essence of Value: Secrets of Desired Products- 80 Inspiring Strategies for Creative Companies, by Mario PrickenThe Essence of Value reveals the fundamental parameters that create value and make products “shine”, based on examples from the worlds of business, the arts and religion.

Mario Pricken has analyzed more than 300 products, objects and events over their entire lifecycles in order to reveal the patterns that make things extraordinarily valuable. He’s identified 80 parameters that can be found, for example, in the biographies of exceptional cars, watches, luxury foods, designer furniture, artwork and services – such as the elements of uniqueness, scarcity, the effect of time or magnificently orchestrated transfers of ownership.

You can use the tools to quickly determine the “value-DNA” of a product.

 

26. The Experience Economy image The Experience Economy, by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. GilmorePine and Gilmore make the case that experience is the missing link between a company and its potential audience. The Experience Economy offers rich examples—including the U.S. Army, Heineken Experience, Autostadt, Vinopolis, American Girl Place, and others—to show fresh approaches to scripting and staging compelling experiences.

 

27. The Fourth Industrial Revolution image The Fourth Industrial Revolution, by Klaus SchwabKlaus Schwab dubs this era of profound change as the fourth industrial revolution.

The fourth industrial revolution brings waves of great change including:

  1. Ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing
  2. Artificially-intelligent robots
  3. Self-driving cars
  4. Neuro-technological brain enhancements
  5. Genetic editing

Schwab has been at the center of global affairs for over four decades and is convinced that  the period of change we are living through is more significant, and the ramifications of the latest technological revolution are more profound than any prior period in history.

 

28. The Industries of the Future image The Industries of the Future, by Alec RossAlec Ross explains what’s next for the world: the advances and stumbling blocks that will emerge in the next ten years, and how we can navigate them.

While Alec Ross was working as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, he traveled to forty-one countries, exploring the latest advances coming out of every continent. From startup hubs in Kenya to R&D labs in South Korea, Ross has seen what the future holds.

Ross shows us what changes are coming in the next ten years, highlighting the best opportunities for progress and explaining why countries thrive or sputter. He examines the specific fields that will most shape our economic future, including robotics, cybersecurity, the commercialization of genomics, the next step for big data, and the coming impact of digital technology on money and markets.

 

29. The Profit Zone image The Profit Zone, by Adrian J. Slywotzky, David J. Morrison, and Bob AndelmanIn The Profit Zone, the authors address the most fundamental question in business:
Where Will I Make a Profit Tomorrow?


30. The Second Machine Age image The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfeeErik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity amid exponential technological change. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.

 

31. Value Migration image Value Migration, by Adrian J. SlywotzkySlywotzky walks through how several companies created a business design – how they select customers, differentiate their offerings, configure their resources, go to market, and capture value – based on a strategic understanding of their customers’ highest priorities.

 

32. Value Proposition Design image Value Proposition Design, by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda, and Alan SmithValue Proposition Design gives you the processes and tools you need to create compelling products and services customers want to buy.

 

33. Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption image Zone to Win, by Geoffrey A. MooreZone to Win is a playbook to address the challenge large enterprises face when they seek to add a new line of business to their established portfolio.

Zone to Win is a high-powered tool for driving your company above and beyond its limitations, its definitions of success, and ultimately, its competitors, by focusing on spurring next-generation growth, guiding mergers and acquisitions, and embracing disruption and innovation.

 

I hope my list of Digital Transformation books helps you, or someone you know, get an edge.  Digital Transformation is risky business and a lot of companies fail to cross the Cloud chasm.  Sadly, what they don’t know, can hurt them.

Don’t let a lack of know how set you back during what can possibly be called the greatest opportunity in our lifetimes to build a better world and empower every person and every organization on the planet, the digital way.

What great Digital Transformation books did I miss?

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Developing for Direct Boot

Android Developers Blog - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 04:33

Posted by Wojtek Kaliciński, Developer Advocate

Starting with Android N, a device that has been powered on can boot into a new mode called Direct Boot before the user has a chance to unlock it for the first time. In this mode, the operating system is fully operational, but access to private app data is limited and only apps that have been updated to be Direct Boot aware can run.

Is Direct Boot right for my app?

Not every app should run in Direct Boot mode, so before you start coding check if your app fits these common use cases:

  • Apps that schedule alarms, such as alarm clocks.
  • Apps that provide important and timely notifications, like messaging apps.
  • Apps that provide services to other apps or the system, such as Accessibility Services.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and we look forward to seeing what other kinds of apps can benefit from Direct Boot.

Making your app Direct Boot aware

In order to let your app run before the user unlocks the device, you have to explicitly mark components as being Direct Boot aware in the manifest:

 <activity|provider|receiver|service ...  
     android:directBootAware=”true”>  

You can pick the subset of your app components that need to be Direct Boot aware, but if you are using a custom Application class, it is assumed to be Direct Boot aware if any component inside your app is marked as Direct Boot aware.

For apps that need to run as soon as the system starts in Direct Boot mode, there is a new Intent.ACTION_LOCKED_BOOT_COMPLETED broadcast. All apps will still receive Intent.ACTION_BOOT_COMPLETED after the user unlocks the device.

Using the device protected storage area

To support running apps before the user provides the credentials needed to unlock private app data, all Android N devices now provide two storage locations for data:

  • Credential protected storage, which is the default storage location for all apps, available only after the user has unlocked the device
  • Device protected storage, which is a new storage location that can be accessed at all times when the device is booted, including during Direct Boot

Components of your app that are marked as Direct Boot aware must rely on device protected storage for any data required for their operation during Direct Boot mode. They may still access credential protected storage after the user has unlocked the device.

To access device protected storage you need to create and use a secondary Context object for all file-related APIs:

 Context deviceProtectedContext = context.createDeviceProtectedStorageContext();  
 deviceProtectedContext.openFileInput( ... )  

When your app gets updated to a Direct Boot aware version, you might have previously saved Shared Preferences or databases that need to be migrated to device protected storage. You should use Context.moveSharedPreferencesFrom() and Context.moveDatabaseFrom() before accessing them to make sure the app continues to work properly even when data is backed up and restored from older versions or other devices.

Things to watch out for

You should think carefully about what you put in the device protected storage. This should be a minimum set of data that will let your app work during Direct Boot. For example, in a messaging app you could store an access token with a narrow scope that only has access to the number of new messages on your server. All sensitive, private information, like the full message history and a read/write access token, should still be saved in credential protected storage.

Another thing to remember is that during Direct Boot apps can only access other Direct Boot aware apps and components. If your app depends on external Services and Activities, make sure you gracefully handle the situation when they’re not available. Intent filters will by default match only components available in the current user state (locked / unlocked). There are two new flags for explicitly telling the Package Manager which components to enumerate: PackageManager.MATCH_DIRECT_BOOT_AWARE and PackageManager.MATCH_DIRECT_BOOT_UNAWARE.

What’s next?

Until devices with Android N that support Direct Boot out of the box are released, you can test your apps using Android N Developer Preview builds. On Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, you can wipe all user data and enable full Direct Boot mode by using Settings > Developer options > Convert to file encryption. Alternatively, you can reboot into bootloader and issue the appropriate fastboot command:

 $ adb reboot-bootloader  
 $ fastboot --wipe-and-use-fbe  

Warning: Both methods will perform a factory reset and delete all user data on your device.

Alternatively, you can use an emulated Direct Boot mode. To enable it, set a lock pattern on the device, choose "No thanks" if prompted for a secure start-up screen when setting a lock pattern, and then use the following adb shell commands to enable and disable emulation:

 $ adb shell sm set-emulate-fbe true  
 $ adb shell sm set-emulate-fbe false  

Please note that using these commands will cause your device to reboot. You should only be using emulated Direct Boot mode on test devices, as it may cause data loss.

#BuildBetterApps

Follow the Android Development Patterns Collection for more!

Categories: Programming

Building better mobile apps for work

Android Developers Blog - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 19:38

Posted by Matt Goodridge - Google Play for Work Product Manager

Last year, we introduced Android for Work, a program designed to pair the strength of the Android platform with support from the rich ecosystem of OEMs (device manufacturers like Samsung), EMMs (Enterprise Mobility Managers) and carriers with the goal of transforming the workplace. This means that developers get the support they need to develop apps that configure to meet business needs without customization.

With Android for Work, developers have been able to build apps for business and make them available via Google Play for Work to all types of industries. No matter the place or use case, Android for Work has helped lead businesses to foster employee productivity and creativity through increased mobility.

Today we are announcing the Android for Work DevHub, a place for developers to keep up with Android in the workplace and engage fellow business app developers in an open forum. Android for Work DevHub members will receive access to Google Play for Work and Android for Work product betas and developer events and will have the opportunity to learn from Google experts on topics like how to:

  • leverage tools and resources provided by the AppConfig Community, which established a standard that provides Android developers a simple way set up app configurations,
  • improve app security by integrating with Android for Work APIs,
  • get an app featured on Google Play for Work,
  • and more…

Among the early members of the Android for Work DevHub is Keeper, a mobile-first company committed to securing corporate credentials and sensitive information. Darren Guccione, Keeper’s CEO and co-founder, said: “Having our team be able to talk with Google experts as a part of the Android for Work DevHub has been very helpful in optimizing Keeper, as an essential product, for the workplace.” In addition to Keeper, select developers across an array of industries are already represented in the Android for Work DevHub, and—starting today—any business developer can apply to become a member, too.

To learn more about Android for Work, join us at Google I/O Thursday, May 19th at 2pm on Stage 10 Cassiopeia. I’ll be joined live on stage with James Kelly, product manager in Android for Work and Rich Hyndman, and Android developer advocate, to walk through the latest developments in Android for Work that will help you make awesome apps for businesses and to meet the Android for Work team in-person at our shop to see the Android for Work retail experience.

Categories: Programming

SE-Radio Episode 257: Michael Nygard on Clojure in Practice

Michael Nygard of “Release It!” fame talks with Stefan Tilkov about his experience using the Clojure programming language. Topics include the tool chain and development process, the Clojure learning curve, and on-boarding new developers. Michael explains the similarities and differences compared to typical OO languages when implementing domain logic, and uses both game development and […]
Categories: Programming

SE-Radio Episode 257: Michael Nygard on Clojure in Practice

Michael Nygard of “Release It!” fame talks with Stefan Tilkov about his experience using the Clojure programming language. Topics include the tool chain and development process, the Clojure learning curve, and on-boarding new developers. Michael explains the similarities and differences compared to typical OO languages when implementing domain logic, and uses both game development and […]
Categories: Programming

Scratch and Google Introduce Scratch Blocks

Google Code Blog - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 17:04

Posted by Champika Fernando, Product Manager, Google and Kasia Chmielinski, Product Lead, Scratch

Today, we announced a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch Team on the development of a new generation of graphical programming blocks, called Scratch Blocks. Released as an open-source developer preview today, Scratch Blocks builds on Google’s Blockly technology and the Scratch Team’s expertise in designing creative interfaces for young learners.

Scratch Blocks represents the first step in a broader effort, focused on developing new software toolkits that enable developers to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere.

Since its launch in 2007, Scratch has empowered more than 11 million young people globally to create more than 14 million games, animations, and stories, and to share their creations with others in the Scratch online community. (source: https://scratch.mit.edu/statistics/)

Dance Party 3.0 project by ArtsyGal on Scratch

Like the Scratch Team, we believe that coding is more than just a set of technical skills; coding is a valuable tool for everyone, empowering kids (and adults) to imagine, invent and explore.

Today, we’re releasing an early developer preview of the Scratch Blocks horizontal grammar - an icon-based grammar that’s optimized for small screens, and is ideal for beginner-friendly experiences (see screenshot below). We also have plans to support the vertical, text-based grammar that’s already familiar to today’s users of Scratch.

This prototype implementation of Scratch Blocks controls a LEGO WeDo 2.0 device over a bluetooth connection.

We’re also continuing to improve Blockly, the technology underlying Scratch Blocks. Today, we open-sourced a native Android version of Blockly that supports building better experiences on tablets, and we plan to open-source an iOS version later this year. We've also made significant improvements to the performance of web Blockly, enabling better rendering performance on mobile devices.

Scratch Blocks will be featured at I/O Youth on May 17, 2016, and in the “Developing for Kids” Sandbox at Google I/O from May 18-20, 2016 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. Learn more about Scratch Blocks at scratch.mit.edu/developers. Learn more about Blockly at developers.google.com/blockly.

Categories: Programming