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Game developers, get ready for our Developer Day at GDC 2016

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:14

Posted by Morgan Dollard, Product Manager of Google Play Games

Next week, we’ll be in San Francisco to host our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Join us to get a first look at our latest efforts to help developers of all sizes build successful mobile games businesses with powerful tools to develop high quality apps, grow a valuable user base, and earn more revenue.

Our Developer Day will take place in room 2020 of the West Hall of Moscone Center on Monday, March 14. Based on your feedback from last year, we're going to keep presentations short and informative with lightning talks around virtual reality, the cloud, ads, and so much more, while dedicating more time to interactive discussions with Google engineers and your peers in the industry.

Here’s a glimpse of the agenda on Monday, March 14:

Opening keynote || 10AM: Be the first to see what’s new and hear about the investments Google is making to help mobile developers grow their game business.

Best practices for success on Google Play || 10:30AM: In this talk, you’ll learn how successful mobile game developers acquire users and bring them back to keep them playing longer.

Lightning talks || 11:15AM: A series of 5-minute talks on innovative technologies to tantalize players, like Project Tango, software to speed and simplify game development, and new ways to predict and prevent user churn.

Interactive roundtables || 2:00PM: After lunch, we’ll break up into interactive roundtables to interact with Google experts and peers on how to build better and more successful games. Ask questions, tell Google product teams what you need, and learn from fellow game developers.

Visit the agenda page to get a full list of our talks and speaker details. Please note that these events are part of the official Game Developer's Conference, so you will need a pass to attend.

For everyone who can’t make it in person, we’ll be live streaming our event on YouTube. Tune in from 10am on Monday, March 18.

Categories: Programming

Grow your games business on Google Play: Game parameters management, video recording, streaming ads, and more

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:13

Posted by Morgan Dollard, Product Manager of Google Play Games

With mobile gamers across 190 countries, Google Play Games is made up of a vibrant and diverse gaming community. And these players are more engaged than ever. Over the past year, the number of games reaching over 1 million installs grew by 50 percent.

Today, at our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference, we announced new platform and ads tools for developers, of all sizes reach, to reach this global audience and accelerate the growth of their games business. Check out below the full range of features that will help game developers build their apps, grow their user base, and earn more revenue.

Making Google Play Games better for players

In February, we introduced Gamer IDs so that anyone could create a gaming persona. We also simplified the sign-in process for Google Play Games so players could pick up playing their game more quickly. We’re also working on product enhancements to make Play Games a little more social and fun, which will mean more engaged players who’re playing your game for longer. One example is the launch of Gamer friends (coming soon!), where your players can add and interact with their friends from within the Google Play Games app (without needing a Google+ account).

We’re also launching the Indie Corner, a new collection on Google Play, that will highlight amazing games built by indie developers. You can nominate your awesome indie game for inclusion at g.co/indiecornersubmission. We’ll pick the best games to showcase based on the quality of the experience and exemplary use of Google Play game services.

Grow your game with powerful new features from Google Play game services

In January, we added features to Player Analytics, the free reporting tool of Google Play game services, which helps you understand how players are progressing, spending and churning. Today, we previewed some upcoming new tools that would be available in the coming months, including:

  • Game parameters management: With game parameters management, you will be able to update gameplay and game economy parameters without the need for APK changes or resubmitting your app. You’ll be able to optimize virtual goods and currencies from the Developer Console or the Google Play Developer API.

Game parameters management in the Google Play Developer Console

  • 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. We are also adding live streaming functionality to allow your fans to broadcast their gameplay experiences in real time on YouTube.
  • Predictive Analytics: 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 30 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.

“Not showing ads to users that were probable to spend increased number of IAP transactions by 15%.” – Avetis Zakharyan, CEO Underwater Apps

New ad formats and targeting to find, keep and monetize high-quality gamers

Promoting your game and growing your audience is important, but it’s just as important to reach the right audience for your game, the players who want to open the game again and again. That’s why today we’ve unveiled new features that make it simpler to reach the right audience at scale.

  • Search Trial Run Ads: In the next few weeks, we’ll launch a new way for users to try your game out when they do a search for games on Google through a new ad format, Search Trial Run Ads. After tapping “Try now”, an individual can play your game for up to 10 minutes, and then download the game in full if they choose. These ads will appear to smartphone users on WiFi. Using this format, you can drive qualified users who are likely to stay engaged with your game after install.

SGN’s Search Trial Run Ad for Panda Pop

  • Portrait Video Ads: More than 80% of video ad views in mobile apps on the Google Display Network are from devices held vertically, but often these videos are created for landscape viewing. Over the next few weeks, we’re launching Portrait Video Ads for a full-screen, immersive portrait video experience. Developers have seen significant improvement in both click-through and conversion rates, resulting in lower cost per install and more installs.
  • Active User Targeting for Games: In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out a new type of targeting for Android apps that allows you to show ads to users who have spent more than 30 minutes playing games, or who have played a Google Play Games integrated game, in the last 30 days.
Earn more revenue in your game with AdMob

AdMob helps game developers around the world maximize revenue through in-app advertising. At GDC, we also announced a new way to help you earn more through AdMob Mediation. Rewarded advertising is a popular form of game monetization -- users are given the choice to engage with ads in exchange for an in-app reward. AdMob Mediation will enable you to easily monetize your apps with rewarded video ads from a number of ad providers. Supported networks and platforms include AdColony, AppLovin, Chartboost, Fyber, Upsight and Vungle, with more being added all the time.

You can learn more about this, and all our ads announcements on the Inside AdWords blog.

This is just the start of what we’ve got planned for 2016. We hope you can make use of these tools to improve your game, engage your audience, and grow your business and revenue.

Categories: Programming

The Google Play Awards coming to Google I/O

Android Developers Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:12

Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director, Apps and Games Business Development, Google Play

Google Play has seen tremendous growth over the past year, reaching more than 1 billion Android users across 190 countries. As a way to recognize our incredible developer community and highlight some of the best apps and games, we’re kicking off our first-ever Google Play Awards.

The program will showcase five nominees across 10 award categories and feature them in a dedicated collection on Google Play. Nominees were selected by a panel of experts on the Google Play team based on criteria emphasizing app quality, innovation, and having a launch or major update in the last 12 months. The winners of each category will be announced at Google I/O in May.

The full list of categories and nominees are below:

Standout Startup

Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong install growth. And the nominees are...

Dubsmash Hopper Musical.ly Robinhood Vrse Standout Indie

Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, high quality and innovative gameplay. And the nominees are...

Alphabear Alto’s Adventure Fast like a Fox Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector Prune Best Families App

Apps or games with family friendly design that encourage creativity and exploration. And the nominees are...

Card Wars - Adventure Time LEGO Jurassic World™ My Very Hungry Caterpillar Thinkrolls 2 Toca Nature Best Use of Material Design

First-class implementation of material design concepts that deliver an immersive and innovative user experience. And the nominees are...

Bring! Robinhood The Fabulous Todoist Vevo Best Use of Google Play Game Services

High quality games with several strong GPGS feature implementations. And the nominees are...

Sea Battle 2 Table Tennis Touch Tapventures TowerMadness 2 Zombie Highway 2 Early Adopter

Early adopter of a nascent technology or platform, providing a delightful user experience. And the nominees are...

Glide Mechanic Escape Minecraft: Story Mode World Around Me Zumper Go Global

Apps or games with great localization and culturalization, or subject matter appeal, across multiple regions. And the nominees are...

Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle Freeletics Bodyweight Memrise Musixmatch Pokémon Shuffle Mobile Most Innovative

Apps or games offering a highly engaging novelty experience or unique benefit. And the nominees are...

Fast like a Fox NYT VR SmartNews The Fabulous This War of Mine Best App

A true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal, quality and rating. And the nominees are...

BuzzFeed News Colorfy Houzz TuneIn Radio Yummly Best Game

Games with strong mechanics, informative tutorial, broad appeal and tasteful design. And the nominees are...

Alphabear Clash of Kings Clash Royale MARVEL Future Fight Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes

Join us live at the ceremony on May 19th at 7:00 pm PDT on stage 7 at Google I/O or via the live stream. You can also track the conversation on Twitter and G+ using the hashtags #io16.

Categories: Programming

Generic JS Android API wrapper for React Native

Xebia Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 16:06
During a React Native project for one of our clients we added some custom Android and iOS libraries to our code and wanted to call a few exposed methods. In such a case, React Native requires you to write a wrapper class to call those public APIs. It was a small boilerplate nuisance and these

They Have To Be Monsters

Coding Horror - Jeff Atwood - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 22:47

Since I started working on Discourse, I spend a lot of time thinking about how software can encourage and nudge people to be more empathetic online. That's why it's troubling to read articles like this one:

My brother’s 32nd birthday is today. It’s an especially emotional day for his family because he’s not alive for it.

He died of a heroin overdose last February. This year is even harder than the last. I started weeping at midnight and eventually cried myself to sleep. Today’s symptoms include explosions of sporadic sobbing and an insurmountable feeling of emptiness. My mom posted a gut-wrenching comment on my brother’s Facebook page about the unfairness of it all. Her baby should be here, not gone. “Where is the God that is making us all so sad?” she asked.

In response, someone — a stranger/(I assume) another human being — commented with one word: “Junkie.”

The interaction may seem a bit strange and out of context until you realize that this is the Facebook page of a person who was somewhat famous, who produced the excellent show Parks and Recreation. Not that this forgives the behavior in any way, of course, but it does explain why strangers would wander by and make observations.

There is deep truth in the old idea that people are able to say these things because they are looking at a screen full of words, not directly at the face of the person they're about to say a terrible thing to. That one level of abstraction the Internet allows, typing, which is so immensely powerful in so many other contexts …

“falling in love, breaking into a bank, bringing down the govt…they all look the same right now: they look like typing” @PennyRed #TtW16 #k3

— whitney erin boesel (@weboesel) April 16, 2016

… has some crippling emotional consequences.

As an exercise in empathy, try to imagine saying some of the terrible things people typed to each other online to a real person sitting directly in front of you. Or don't imagine, and just watch this video.

I challenge you to watch the entirety of that video. I couldn't do it. This is the second time I've tried, and I had to turn it off not even 2 minutes in because I couldn't take it any more.

It's no coincidence that these are comments directed at women. Over the last few years I have come to understand how, as a straight white man, I have the privilege of being immune from most of this kind of treatment. But others are not so fortunate. The Guardian analyzed 70 million comments and found that online abuse is heaped disproportionately on women, people of color, and people of different sexual orientation.

And avalanches happen easily online. Anonymity disinhibits people, making some of them more likely to be abusive. Mobs can form quickly: once one abusive comment is posted, others will often pile in, competing to see who can be the most cruel. This abuse can move across platforms at great speed – from Twitter, to Facebook, to blogposts – and it can be viewed on multiple devices – the desktop at work, the mobile phone at home. To the person targeted, it can feel like the perpetrator is everywhere: at home, in the office, on the bus, in the street.

I've only had a little taste of this treatment, once. The sense of being "under siege" – a constant barrage of vitriol and judgment pouring your way every day, every hour – was palpable. It was not pleasant. It absolutely affected my state of mind. Someone remarked in the comments that ultimately it did not matter, because as a white man I could walk away from the whole situation any time. And they were right. I began to appreciate what it would feel like when you can't walk away, when this harassment follows you around everywhere you go online, and you never really know when the next incident will occur, or exactly what shape it will take.

Imagine the feeling of being constantly on edge like that, every day. What happens to your state of mind when walking away isn't an option? It gave me great pause.

The Scream by Nathan Sawaya

I admired the way Stephanie Wittels Wachs actually engaged with the person who left that awful comment. This is a man who has two children of his own, and should be no stranger to the kind of pain involved in a child's death. And yet he felt the need to post the word "Junkie" in reply to a mother's anguish over losing her child to drug addiction.

Isn’t this what empathy is? Putting myself in someone else’s shoes with the knowledge and awareness that I, too, am human and, therefore, susceptible to this tragedy or any number of tragedies along the way?

Most would simply delete the comment, block the user, and walk away. Totally defensible. But she didn't. She takes the time and effort to attempt to understand this person who is abusing her mother, to reach them, to connect, to demonstrate the very empathy this man appears incapable of.

Consider the related story of Lenny Pozner, who lost a child at Sandy Hook, and became the target of groups who believe the event was a hoax, and similarly selflessly devotes much of his time to refuting and countering these bizarre claims.

Tracy’s alleged harassment was hardly the first, Pozner said. There’s a whole network of people who believe the media reported a mass shooting that never happened, he said, that the tragedy was an elaborate hoax designed to increase support for gun control. Pozner said he gets ugly comments often on social media, such as, “Eventually you’ll be tried for your crimes of treason against the people,” “… I won’t be satisfied until the caksets are opened…” and “How much money did you get for faking all of this?”

It's easy to practice empathy when you limit it to people that are easy to empathize with – the downtrodden, the undeserving victims. But it is another matter entirely to empathize with those that hate, harangue, and intentionally make other people's lives miserable. If you can do this, you are a far better person than me. I struggle with it. But my hat is off to you. There's no better way to teach empathy than to practice it, in the most difficult situations.

In individual cases, reaching out and really trying to empathize with people you disagree with or dislike can work, even people who happen to be lifelong members of hate organizations, as in the remarkable story of Megan Phelps-Roper:

As a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas, Phelps-Roper believed that AIDS was a curse sent by God. She believed that all manner of other tragedies—war, natural disaster, mass shootings—were warnings from God to a doomed nation, and that it was her duty to spread the news of His righteous judgments. To protest the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in America, the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funerals of gay men who died of AIDS and of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members held signs with slogans like “GOD HATES FAGS” and “THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS,” and the outrage that their efforts attracted had turned the small church, which had fewer than a hundred members, into a global symbol of hatred.

Perhaps one of the greatest failings of the Internet is the breakdown in cost of emotional labor.

First we’ll reframe the problem: the real issue is not Problem Child’s opinions – he can have whatever opinions he wants. The issue is that he’s doing zero emotional labor – he’s not thinking about his audience or his effect on people at all. (Possibly, he’s just really bad at modeling other people’s responses – the outcome is the same whether he lacks the will or lacks the skill.) But to be a good community member, he needs to consider his audience.

True empathy means reaching out and engaging in a loving way with everyone, even those that are hurtful, hateful, or spiteful. But on the Internet, can you do it every day, multiple times a day, across hundreds of people? Is this a reasonable thing to ask of someone? Is it even possible, short of sainthood?

The question remains: why would people post such hateful things in the first place? Why reply "Junkie" to a mother's anguish? Why ask the father of a murdered child to publicly prove his child's death was not a hoax? Why tweet "Thank God for AIDS!"

Unfortunately, I think I know the answer to this question, and you're not going to like it.

Busy-Work by Shen, owlturd.com

I don't like it. I don't want it. But I know.

I have laid some heavy stuff on you in this post, and for that, I apologize. I think the weight of what I'm trying to communicate here requires it. I have to warn you that the next article I'm about to link is far heavier than anything I have posted above, maybe the heaviest thing I've ever posted. It's about the legal quandary presented in the tragic cases of children who died because their parents accidentally left them strapped into carseats, and it won a much deserved pulitzer. It is also one of the most harrowing things I have ever read.

Ed Hickling believes he knows why. Hickling is a clinical psychologist from Albany, N.Y., who has studied the effects of fatal auto accidents on the drivers who survive them. He says these people are often judged with disproportionate harshness by the public, even when it was clearly an accident, and even when it was indisputably not their fault.

Humans, Hickling said, have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.

In hyperthermia cases, he believes, the parents are demonized for much the same reasons. “We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay. So, when this kind of thing happens to other people, we need to put them in a different category from us. We don’t want to resemble them, and the fact that we might is too terrifying to deal with. So, they have to be monsters.

This man left the junkie comment because he is afraid. He is afraid his own children could become drug addicts. He is afraid his children, through no fault of his, through no fault of anyone at all, could die at 30. When presented with real, tangible evidence of the pain and grief a mother feels at the drug related death of her own child, and the reality that it could happen to anyone, it became so overwhelming that it was too much for him to bear.

Those "Sandy Hook Truthers" harass the father of a victim because they are afraid. They are afraid their own children could be viciously gunned down in cold blood any day of the week, bullets tearing their way through the bodies of the teachers standing in front of them, desperately trying to protect them from being murdered. They can't do anything to protect their children from this, and in fact there's nothing any of us can do to protect our children from being murdered at random, at school any day of the week, at the whim of any mentally unstable individual with access to an assault rifle. That's the harsh reality.

When faced with the abyss of pain and grief that parents feel over the loss of their children, due to utter random chance in a world they can't control, they could never control, maybe none of us can ever control, the overwhelming sense of existential dread is simply too much to bear. So they have to be monsters. They must be.

And we will fight these monsters, tooth and nail, raging in our hatred, so we can forget our pain, at least for a while.

After Lyn Balfour’s acquittal, this comment appeared on the Charlottesville News Web site:

“If she had too many things on her mind then she should have kept her legs closed and not had any kids. They should lock her in a car during a hot day and see what happens.”

I imagine the suffering that these parents are already going through, reading these words that another human being typed to them, just typed, and something breaks inside me. I can't process it. But rather than pitting ourselves against each other out of fear, recognize that the monster who posted this terrible thing is me. It's you. It's all of us.

The weight of seeing through the fear and beyond the monster to simply discover yourself is often too terrible for many people to bear. In a world of heavy things, it's the heaviest there is.

[advertisement] At Stack Overflow, we help developers learn, share, and grow. Whether you’re looking for your next dream job or looking to build out your team, we've got your back.
Categories: Programming

An Outsourcing Playbook for Android development

Android Developers Blog - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 17:23

Posted by Rupert Whitehead, Developer Relations

We recently updated The Secrets to App Success on Google Play with tools and tips to help app and game developers grow successful businesses on Google Play. However, many great apps are created by agencies and freelancers on behalf of companies. Today, we’re releasing a new playbook to help companies of any size who are considering outsourcing their Android app development.

How do you choose an agency? What are the pitfalls you should avoid? What can you do to make your app successful? These are some of the questions tackled by the new Outsourcing Playbook that you can read on Google Play.


Let us know your feedback

Once you’ve checked out the guide, we’d love to hear your feedback so we can continue to improve our developer resources and support. Let us know what you think.

Categories: Programming

The Product Samurai Strategy Canvas

Xebia Blog - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 16:00
"May you live in interesting times" said Feng Menglong in 1627, and it's never been a more fitting expression than today. With companies leapfrogging in the age of disruption to change the way they work and the business models that they use. Scrum has brought us autonomous hyper productive teams that can quadruple your output,

Digital Transformation Defined

This post is a walkthrough multiple definitions of digital transformation from multiple sources.

Digital transformation can be elusive if you can’t define it.

Lucky for us, there is no shortage of definitions for digital transformation.

I find that rather than use one single definition for digital transformation, it’s actually more helpful to look at a range of definitions to really internalize what digital transformation means from multiple angles.

Before you walk through the definitions, be sure to review Satya’s pillars for Digital Transformation so you have a simple mental model to work with.

Wikipedia on Digital Transformation

Wikipedia has a simple explanation:

“Digital transformation refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”

What I like about that definition is that it goes beyond pure business and includes all impact on society, whether it’s education, government, sports, arts, leisure, etc.

Altimeter on Digital Transformation

Altimeter defined digital transformation from a customer-focused lens in their online report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation:

“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

What I like about Altimeter’s definition is that it’s outside in vs. inside out.  The big idea is to leverage technology to adapt to your customer’s changing preferences.  So if you “transform”, but there is no visible impact to your customers or to the market, then you didn’t really transform.

Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business on Digital Transformation

Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business define Digital Transformation in Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations like this:

“Digital transformation – the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises.”

While their definition may look simplistic, the power is in the data behind the definition.  It’s a global study of how 157 executives in 50 large traditional companies are managing – and benefiting from – digital transformation.

Agile Elephant on Digital Transformation

Agile Elephant defines digital transformation like this:

“Digital transformation is the process of shifting your organisation from a legacy approach to new ways of working and thinking using digital, social, mobile and emerging technologies.  It involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitisation of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.”

While this definition may seem more elaborate, I find this elaboration can really help get somebody’s head into the digital transformation game.

MIT Sloan’s 9 Elements of Digital Transformation

In The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee identify the key attributes of digital transformation:

Category Items Transforming Customer Experience
  1. Customer Understanding
  2. Top-Line Growth
  3. Customer Touch Points
Transforming Operational Processes
  1. Process Digitization
  2. Worker Enablement
  3. Performance Management
Transforming Business Models
  1. Digitally Modified Businesses
  2. New Digital Businesses
  3. Digital Globalization

 

The nine elements are excerpted from their digital report, Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations.  Here are quick summaries of each:

  1. Customer Understanding – Customer Understanding is where “Companies are starting to take advantage of previous investments in systems to gain an in-depth understanding of specific geographies and market segments.”
  2. To-Line Growth – Top-Line Growth is where “Companies are using technology to enhance in-person sales conversations.”
  3. Customer Touch Points – Customer Touch Points are where “Customer service can be enhanced significantly by digital initiatives.”
  4. Process Digitization – Process Digitization is where “Automation can enable companies to refocus their people on more strategic tasks.”
  5. Worker Enablement – Worker Enablement is where “Individual-level work has, in essence, been virtualized — separating the work process from the location of the work.”
  6. Performance Management – Performance Management is where “Transactional systems give executives deeper insights into products, regions and customers, allowing decisions to be made on real data and not on assumptions.”
  7. Digitally Modified Businesses – Digitally Modified Businesses is “finding ways to augment physical with digital offerings and to use digital to share content across organizational silos.”
  8. New Digital Businesses – New Digital businesses is where “companies are introducing digital products that complement traditional products.”
  9. Digital Globalization – Digital Globalization is where “Companies are increasingly transforming from multinational to truly global operations.”

Sidenote – George, Didier, and Andrew sum up the power of digital transformation when they say, “”Whether it is in the way individuals work and collaborate, the way business processes are executed within and across organizational boundaries, or in the way a company understands and serves customers, digital technology provides a wealth of opportunity.”

Digital Business Transformation

I think it’s worth pointing out the distinction between Digital Transformation and Digital “Business” Transformation.

Digital Business Transformation is specifically about transforming the business with digital technologies.

There are many lenses to look at but in particular it helps to view it through the lens of business model innovation.   So you can think of it as innovating in your business models through digital technologies.   Your business model is simply the WHO (customers), the WHAT (value prop), the HOW (value chain), and your WHY (profit model.)

An exec from SAP at Davos said it well when he said “new business models are driven by different interactions with companies and their customers.”

In pragmatic terms, that means evolving your business model and interaction patterns to meet the changing demands of your customers all along your value chain.  For example, consider how millennials want to interact with a business in today’s world.  They want to learn about a company or brand through their friends and family on social networks and through real stories from authentic people, and they want access to services anytime, anywhere, from any device.

Another way to think about this is how many companies are learning how to wrap their engineering teams around their customer’s end-to-end journey to directly address the customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

Hopefully, this helps give you a good enough understanding to get going with your Digital Transformation and to understand the difference between Digital Transformation and Digital Business Transformation so that you can pave your path forward.

If nothing else, go back to the Altimeter Group’s definition of Digital Transformation,“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”, and use Satya’s pillars for Digital Transformation as a guide to stay grounded.

Additional Resources

Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations, by Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business

The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, by Altimeter

The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee

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All Digital Transformation

Microsoft Stories of Digital Business Transformation

Re-Imagine Customer Experience

Re-Imagine Operations

Satya Nadella on Digital Transformation

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Building TV Channels

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 22:59

Posted by Josh Gordon, Developer Advocate

Channel surfing is a popular way of watching TV. You pick up the remote, lean back, and flip through channels to see what’s on. On Android TV, app developers can create their own channel-like experiences using the TV Input Framework.

To the user, the channels you create look and feel just like regular TV channel. But behind the scenes, they stream video over the internet. For example, you can create a channel from a video playlist.

Watch this DevByte for an overview of how to build to a channel, and see the sample app and developer training for more info. The sample shows how to work with a variety of media formats, including HLS, MPEG-Dash, and HTTP Progressive.



If you already have an app that streams video, consider also making your content available as a channel. It’s a great opportunity to increase engagement. We’re excited to see what you develop, and look forward to seeing your content on the big screen!

Categories: Programming

Do You Need To Learn Math To Be A Programmer?

Making the Complex Simple - John Sonmez - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 13:00

This was a very interesting question I got from one of Simple Programmer readers… Do you need to learn math to be a programmer? Is math really that necessary for programmers? Will you be a bad programmer if you don’t know math? In what ways math can help you as a programmer and developer? Watch this […]

The post Do You Need To Learn Math To Be A Programmer? appeared first on Simple Programmer.

Categories: Programming

Android Support Library 23.2

Android Developers Blog - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 22:40

Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate

Android Support Library 23.2

When talking about the Android Support Library, it is important to realize this isn’t one monolithic library, but a whole collection of libraries that seek to provide backward-compatible versions of APIs, as well as offer unique features without requiring the latest platform version. Version 23.2 adds a few new support libraries as well as new features to many of the existing libraries.


Support Vector Drawables and Animated Vector Drawables

Vector drawables allow you to replace multiple png assets with a single vector graphic, defined in XML. While previously limited to Lollipop and higher devices, both VectorDrawable and AnimatedVectorDrawable are now available through two new Support Libraries support-vector-drawable and animated-vector-drawable, respectively.

Android Studio 1.4 introduced limited support for vector drawables by generating pngs at build time. To disable this functionality (and gain the true advantage and space savings of this Support Library), you need to add vectorDrawables.useSupportLibrary = true to your build.gradle file:


 // Gradle Plugin 2.0+  
 android {  
   defaultConfig {  
     vectorDrawables.useSupportLibrary = true  
    }  
 }  

You’ll note this new attribute only exists in the version 2.0 of the Gradle Plugin. If you are using Gradle 1.5 you’ll instead use


 // Gradle Plugin 1.5  
 android {  
   defaultConfig {  
     generatedDensities = []  
  }  

  // This is handled for you by the 2.0+ Gradle Plugin  
  aaptOptions {  
    additionalParameters "--no-version-vectors"  
  }  
 }  

If you are using AppCompat 23.2.0, setting these flags is required. This requirement has been relaxed as of AppCompat 23.2.1 and the flags are only required if you wish to use support vector drawables.

You’ll be able to use VectorDrawableCompat back to API 7 and AnimatedVectorDrawableCompat on all API 11 and higher devices. Due to how drawables are loaded by Android, not every place that accepts a drawable id (such as in an XML file) will support loading vector drawables. Thankfully, AppCompat has added a number of features to make it easy to use your new vector drawables.

Firstly, when using AppCompat with ImageView (or subclasses such as ImageButton and FloatingActionButton), you’ll be able to use the new app:srcCompat attribute to reference vector drawables (as well as any other drawable available to android:src):


 <ImageView  
  android:layout_width="wrap_content"  
  android:layout_height="wrap_content"  
  app:srcCompat="@drawable/ic_add" />  

And if you’re changing drawables at runtime, you’ll be able to use the same setImageResource() method as before - no changes there. Using AppCompat and app:srcCompat is the most foolproof method of integrating vector drawables into your app.

You’ll find directly referencing vector drawables outside of app:srcCompat will fail prior to Lollipop. However, AppCompat does support loading vector drawables when they are referenced in another drawable container such as a StateListDrawable, InsetDrawable, LayerDrawable, LevelListDrawable, and RotateDrawable. By using this indirection, you can use vector drawables in cases such as TextView’s android:drawableLeft attribute, which wouldn’t normally be able to support vector drawables.

As of Android Support Library 23.3.0, support vector drawables can only be loaded via app:srcCompat or setImageResource()..

AppCompat DayNight theme

While enabling the use of vector graphics throughout your app is already a large change to AppCompat, there’s a new theme added to AppCompat in this release: Theme.AppCompat.DayNight.


Prior to API 14, The DayNight theme and its descendents DayNight.NoActionBar, DayNight.DarkActionBar, DayNight.Dialog, etc. become their Light equivalents. But on API 14 and higher devices, this theme allows apps to easily support both a Light and Dark theme, effectively switching from a Light theme to a Dark theme based on whether it is ‘night’.

By default, whether it is ‘night’ will match the system value (from UiModeManager.getNightMode()), but you can override that value with methods in AppCompatDelegate. You’ll be able to set the default across your entire app (until process restart) with the static AppCompatDelegate.setDefaultNightMode() method or retrieve an AppCompatDelegate via getDelegate() and use setLocalNightMode() to change only the current Activity or Dialog.

When using AppCompatDelegate.MODE_NIGHT_AUTO, the time of day and your last known location (if your app has the location permissions) are used to automatically switch between day and night, while MODE_NIGHT_NO and MODE_NIGHT_YES forces the theme to never or always use a dark theme, respectively.

It is critical that you test your app thoroughly when using the DayNight themes as hardcoded colors can easily make for unreadable text or icons. If you are using the standard TextAppearance.AppCompat styles for your text or colors pulled from your theme such as android:textColorPrimary, you’ll find these automatically update for you.

However, if you’d like to customize any resources specifically for night mode, AppCompat reuses the night resource qualifier folder, making it possible customize every resource you may need. Please consider using the standard colors or taking advantage of the tinting support in AppCompat to make supporting this mode much easier.

Design Support Library: Bottom Sheets

The Design Support Library provides implementations of many patterns of material design. This release allows developers to easily add bottom sheets to their app.

By attaching a BottomSheetBehavior to a child View of a CoordinatorLayout (i.e., adding app:layout_behavior="android.support.design.widget.BottomSheetBehavior"), you’ll automatically get the appropriate touch detection to transition between five state:

  • STATE_COLLAPSED: this collapsed state is the default and shows just a portion of the layout along the bottom. The height can be controlled with the app:behavior_peekHeight attribute (defaults to 0)
  • STATE_DRAGGING: the intermediate state while the user is directly dragging the bottom sheet up or down
  • STATE_SETTLING: that brief time between when the View is released and settling into its final position
  • STATE_EXPANDED: the fully expanded state of the bottom sheet, where either the whole bottom sheet is visible (if its height is less than the containing CoordinatorLayout) or the entire CoordinatorLayout is filled
  • STATE_HIDDEN: disabled by default (and enabled with the app:behavior_hideable attribute), enabling this allows users to swipe down on the bottom sheet to completely hide the bottom sheet

Keep in mind that scrolling containers in your bottom sheet must support nested scrolling (for example, NestedScrollView, RecyclerView, or ListView/ScrollView on API 21+).

If you’d like to receive callbacks of state changes, you can add a BottomSheetCallback:


 // The View with the BottomSheetBehavior  
 View bottomSheet = coordinatorLayout.findViewById(R.id.bottom_sheet);  
 BottomSheetBehavior behavior = BottomSheetBehavior.from(bottomSheet);  
 behavior.setBottomSheetCallback(new BottomSheetCallback() {  
    @Override  
    public void onStateChanged(@NonNull View bottomSheet, int newState) {  
      // React to state change  
    }  
      @Override  
      public void onSlide(@NonNull View bottomSheet, float slideOffset) {  
       // React to dragging events  
   }  
 });  

While BottomSheetBehavior captures the persistent bottom sheet case, this release also provides a BottomSheetDialog and BottomSheetDialogFragment to fill the modal bottom sheets use case. Simply replace AppCompatDialog or AppCompatDialogFragment with their bottom sheet equivalents to have your dialog styled as a bottom sheet.

Support v4: MediaBrowserServiceCompat

The Support v4 library serves as the foundation for much of the support libraries and includes backports of many framework features introduced in newer versions of the platform (as well a number of unique features).

Adding onto the previously released MediaSessionCompat class to provide a solid foundation for media playback, this release adds MediaBrowserServiceCompat and MediaBrowserCompat providing a compatible solution that brings the latest APIs (even those added in Marshmallow) back to all API 4 and higher devices. This makes it much easier to support audio playback on Android Auto and browsing through media on Android Wear along with providing a standard interface you can use to connect your media playback service and your UI.

RecyclerView

The RecyclerView widget provides an advanced and flexible base for creating lists and grids as well as supporting animations. This release brings an exciting new feature to the LayoutManager API: auto-measurement! This allows a RecyclerView to size itself based on the size of its contents. This means that previously unavailable scenarios, such as using WRAP_CONTENT for a dimension of the RecyclerView, are now possible. You’ll find all built in LayoutManagers now support auto-measurement.

Due to this change, make sure to double check the layout parameters of your item views: previously ignored layout parameters (such as MATCH_PARENT in the scroll direction) will now be fully respected.

If you have a custom LayoutManager that does not extend one of the built in LayoutManagers, this is an opt-in API - you’ll be required to call setAutoMeasureEnabled(true) as well as make some minor changes as detailed in the Javadoc of the method.

Note that although RecyclerView animates its children, it does not animate its own bounds changes. If you would like to animate the RecyclerView bounds as they change, you can use the Transition APIs.

Custom Tabs

Custom Tabs makes it possible to seamlessly transition to web content while keeping the look and feel of your app. With this release, you’ll now be able to add actions to a bottom bar for display alongside the web content.

With the new addToolbarItem() method, you’ll be able to add up to currently 5 (MAX_TOOLBAR_ITEMS) actions to the bottom bar and update them with setToolbarItem() once the session has begun. Similar to the previous setToolbarColor() method, you’ll also find a setSecondaryToolbarColor() method for customizing the background color of the bottom bar.

Leanback for Android TV

The Leanback Library gives you the tools you need to easily bring your app to Android TV with many standard components optimized for the TV experience. The GuidedStepFragment received a significant set of improvements with this release.

The most visible change may be the introduce of a second column used for action buttons (added by overriding , android.os.Bundle)">onCreateButtonActions() or calling )">setButtonActions()). This makes it much easier to reach completion actions without having to scroll through the list of available GuidedActions.

Speaking of GuidedActions, there’s a number of new features to allow richer input including editable descriptions (via descriptionEditable()), sub actions in the form of a dropdown (with )">subActions()), and a GuidedDatePickerAction.


These components should make it much easier for you to get information from the user when absolutely required.

Available Now

Version 23.2 of the Android Support Library is available via your SDK Manager and Android Studio. Take advantage of all of the new features as well as additional bug fixes starting now! As always, file bug reports at b.android.com and connect with other developers on the Android Development Google+ community.

Categories: Programming

SWAYAM: India’s First MOOCs Platform

It’s always cool to see the work our team is doing around the world to help hack a better world.

Our Digital Advisory Services team is helping the Government of India, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), to reimagine the student experience and to develop India’s first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) platform.

Apparently, the presentation went so well that the honorable HRD minister, Smriti Irani tweeted our Student Experience Journey Map that helps show the vision and the Digital Transformation opportunities.

Way to go!

image

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Are You Making These Terrible Mistakes When Asking For Advice?

Making the Complex Simple - John Sonmez - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 13:00

Lots of freelancers and creatives adhere to a “I never dole out free advice” mantra when asked if someone can pick their brain for a few minutes. Think – when was the last time a person asked you for programming advice? If you could “just take a look” at their blog? Explain to your mother […]

The post Are You Making These Terrible Mistakes When Asking For Advice? appeared first on Simple Programmer.

Categories: Programming

Android Studio 2.1 supports Android N Developer Preview

Android Developers Blog - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 22:49

Posted by Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

With the launch Android N Developer Preview, we wanted to give you an easy and comprehensive way to build, test and validate your apps on the latest release with Android Studio. Built on the speed and feature enhancements of Android Studio 2.0, the stable release of Android Studio 2.1 includes updates to the IDE wizards, build system and Android Emulator so that you can try out new features and APIs of the developer preview including the new Jack compiler and Java 8 language support. In addition to support for the N Developer Preview, Android Studio 2.1 also includes performance improvements to Instant Run which leads to faster edit and deploy build speeds. If you are developing and validating your app with the N Developer Preview or want faster Instant Run speeds, you should download or update on the stable release channel to Android Studio 2.1.

Android Studio 2.1 includes the following new features:

  • N Developer Preview Support: Android Studio 2.1 is the best IDE to test and validate your app with the N Developer Preview. Get the latest versions of the preview SDK, experiment with the new Java 8 support, and gain access to the only official Android Emulator able to run N Developer Preview Emulator System Images to help in your testing.
  • Instant Run: For those of you who enjoyed the fast edit, build and deploy cycle with Android Studio 2.0, Instant Run now can now update incremental changes to your app code significantly faster.

Deeper Dive into the New Features

N Developer Preview

On top of new features and APIs of the N Developer Preview, Android Studio 2.1 release includes support for the new Jack compiler and support for Java 8. With the Jack compiler, lambdas, method references, compile-time type annotations, intersection types and type inference are available on all versions of the Android platform. Default and static methods and repeatable annotations are available on Android N and higher. To use Java 8 language features when developing with the N Developer Preview, you need to use the Jack compiler. The New Project Wizard [File→ New→ Project] generates the correct configurations for projects targeting the N.

Getting started with development is as easy generating a new project or updating a few settings in your existing project. Once you are ready to test, you can create a fresh Android Virtual Device (AVD) and run your app on the N Developer Preview using the new Android Emulator.


N Developer Preview on the new Android Emulator

Instant Run & General Build Performance Improvements

Instant Run and general build speed are now faster with two new features: incremental Java compilation and in-process dex.

In previous versions of Android Studio, a single line of Java code change will cause all the Java sources in the module to be recompiled. Now in Android Studio 2.1, incremental Java compilation is enabled by default to reduce compilation time by compiling only what is needed.

We are also speeding up build times by using in-process dex, which converts class files to dex files within the Gradle daemon process. This avoids the costly processing operation of creating separate dex processes. To use this feature, you will need to increase the amount of memory available to the Gradle daemon to at least 2GB (1 GB is the default). This feature will help speed up both incremental and full builds.

We’d appreciate your feedback as we continue to improve Instant Run and general build performance. We are going to keep working on making build times even faster in coming releases. Click here to learn even more about the build changes.

What's Next

Update

If you are using a previous version of Android Studio, you can check for updates on the Stable channel from the navigation menu (Help → Check for Update [Windows/Linux] , Android Studio → Check for Updates [OS X]). If you need a new copy of Android Studio, you can download it here.

Test and Validate Apps with N Developer Preview

After you update to or download Android Studio 2.1 and you want to test and develop your apps with the N Developer Preview, create a fresh Android Virtual Device (AVD) for the new Android emulator, and check out these additional setup instructions.

We appreciate any feedback on things you like, issues or features you would like to see. Connect with us -- the Android Studio development team -- on our Google+ page or on Twitter.

Categories: Programming

SE-Radio Episode 255: Monica Beckwith on Java Garbage Collection

Monica Beckwith joins Robert Blumen for a discussion of java garbage collection. What is garbage collection? GC algorithms; history of GC in the java language; fragmentation and compaction; generational strategies; causes of pauses; impact of pauses on application performance; tuning GC; GC on multi-core and large memory machines; should production servers be implemented in non-GC […]
Categories: Programming

[New eBook] Download The No-Nonsense Guide to In-App Ads

Google Code Blog - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 21:23

Originally Posted on Inside AdMob Blog


Posted by Joe Salisbury, Product Specialist, AdMob
A clear trend is emerging in the world of smartphones – people want free apps. According to a study by Juniper Research, barely 1% of apps are now paid for at the point of download.1

While demand for free apps continues to increase, app developers are answering a very important question, “what’s the best way to publish my app for free while sustainably funding my business?”

In-app ads are a reliable solution that is set to grow 3.2X between 2014-18. 2

Many of the world’s most popular apps rely heavily on in-app advertising to earn income. Apps like PicsArts and Trivia Crack each have hundreds of millions of downloads and use advertising as a revenue source. In-app ads are evolving and there are many options for developers to utilize which provide great experiences for users.

So, how do you get started with ads?

To answer this, we’re launching a new ebook called “The No-nonsense Guide to In-App Ads”, the latest in our No-nonsense series. This guide is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of in-app advertising for those new to the opportunity. We’ll walk you through how digital ads can be included into your app strategy and what’s the best way for you to get started.

In the eBook, you’ll learn:

  • Foundational advertising concepts like eCPM, Fill Rate, Demand, and Inventory.
  • A simple overview of how businesses make money from advertising. 
  • How Pay Per Click advertising works.
  • A basic explanation of ad networks and how they can help you monetize your app.
  • How to choose the right ad network for your app.

Download a free copy here.


For more tips on app monetization, be sure to stay connected on all things AdMob by following our Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages.

Posted by Joe Salisbury, Product Specialist, AdMob

1 - Juniper, April 2015 and Juniper website, The App Landscape Today, Feb 2015
2 - App Annie/IDC, April 2015, Mobile App Advertising and Monetization Trends 2013-2018
Categories: Programming

How Budding Programmers Can Get Their Work Noticed

Making the Complex Simple - John Sonmez - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 13:00

Parallel with the rising number of online tech solutions, the need for programmers is constantly growing. Today, in order to boost the information flow and workplace efficacy, almost every company needs a user-friendly website, an app or a highly optimized piece of software. In other words, never before was it easier and more lucrative to […]

The post How Budding Programmers Can Get Their Work Noticed appeared first on Simple Programmer.

Categories: Programming

Solving Agile portfolio planning for Lawns 'R' Us

Xebia Blog - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 09:28
Agile portfolio planning is a great (chief) product owner tool to plan and trace initiatives across various teams. Implementing it can be difficult and cumbersome at times. This post explores the number one critical success factor to do Agile portfolio planning right; Outcome oriented decision making. Outcome goals are valuable for streamlining your Agile portfolio

Satya Nadella on Digital Transformation

Satya posted his mental model for Digital Transformation:

image

I like the simplicity.

What I like is that there are four clear pillars or areas to look at for driving Digital Transformation:

  1. Customers
  2. Employees
  3. Operations
  4. Products

Collectively, these four Digital Transformation pillars set the stage for transforming your business model.

What I also like is that this matches what I learned while driving Digital Business Transformation with our field with customers, and as part of Satya’s innovation team.

Effectively, to generate new sources of revenue, organizations re-imagine their customer experience along their value chain.  As they connect and engage with their customers in new ways, this transforms their employee experience, and their operations.  As they gain new insight into their customers behavior and needs, they transform their products and services.

In a world of infinite compute and infinite storage…how would you re-imagine your business for a mobile-first, cloud-first world?

You Might Also Like

Digital Transformation is Business Transformation

How Leaders are Building Digital Skills

Microsoft Stories of Digital Business Transformation

Re-imagine Your Customer Experience

Re-imagine Your Operations

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Saying goodbye to OAuth 1.0 (2LO)

Google Code Blog - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 17:00

Originally posted on Google Apps Developers Blog

Posted by Vartika Agarwal, Technical Program Manager, Identity & Authentication, and Wesley Chun, Developer Advocate, Google

As we indicated several years ago, we are moving away from the OAuth 1.0 protocol in order to focus our support on the current OAuth standard, OAuth 2.0, which increases security and reduces complexity for developers. OAuth 1.0 (3LO)1 was shut down on April 20, 2015. During this final phase, we will be shutting down OAuth 1.0 (2LO) on October 20, 2016. The easiest way to migrate to the new standard is to use OAuth 2.0 service accounts with domain-wide delegation.

If the migration for applications using these deprecated protocols is not completed before the deadline, those applications will experience an outage in their ability to connect with Google, possibly including the ability to sign-in, until the migration to a supported protocol occurs. To avoid any interruptions in service for your end-users, it is critical that you work to migrate your application(s) prior to the shutdown date.

With this step, we continue to move away from legacy authentication/authorization protocols, focusing our support on modern open standards that enhance the security of Google accounts and that are generally easier for developers to integrate with. If you have any technical questions about migrating your application, please post them to Stack Overflow under the tag google-oauth.

1 3LO stands for 3-legged OAuth: there's an end-user that provides consent. In contrast, 2-legged (2LO) doesn’t involve an end-user and corresponds to enterprise authorization scenarios such as enforcing organization-wide policy control access.

Categories: Programming