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Software Development Blogs: Programming, Software Testing, Agile Project Management
Subscribe to Methods & Tools
if you are not afraid to read more than one page to be a smarter software developer, software tester or project manager!
At Google and throughout the industry, we all agree that two things matter: design and speed. But how can we do great design quickly? For our teams, one of our most important tools is the design sprint.
While a typical product design process takes months or years, a design sprint compresses this into a week or less. The design sprint combines key design and research methods and focuses on a single challenge or multiple challenges in parallel. It brings all the stakeholdersâdesigners, developers, product managers, and other decision makersâinto one place to work together on a short deadline. It often leads to insights and solutions more quickly than anyone thought possible. At Google, we've been using design sprints for over four years, from external projects like Ads, Glass and Project Loon to our internal tools.
One team has even run a huge sprint with 175 participants in 23 teams. How did that feel? As Cordell Ratzlaff, User Experience Director for Ads & Commerce, says: âWhen you participate in a sprint, you either win or you learn.â Our latest Google Design Minutes short tells this story:Design sprints at scale: Cordell Ratzlaff and team on the importance of constraints
Weâre really excited about sharing our design sprint methods more broadly. Design sprints were an important theme in the âDesign, Develop, Distributeâ message at Google I/O 2014, where developers got a chance to learn about and experience short sprints in person.The design sprint: from Google Ventures to Google[x]; Daniel Burka, Jake Knapp, Nadya Direkova share insights with developers at Google I/O 2014
However, this was just a first glimpse; over the summer, weâll be hosting design sprints for select developers in the Bay Area, helping developers design for platforms like Glass and Android Wear or build with the material design approach. To get updates when these limited-seating events become available, sign up here.
No matter what your challenge and design process, design sprints can help you reduce the time it takes to create great ideas. So make great things, and make them quickly!
By: Purnima Kochikar, Director, Google Play Apps & Games
With over 1 billion active Android users, an increasing number of developers like you are building successful global businesses on Google Play. Since the last Google I/O, weâve also paid out more than $5 billion to developers.
This week at Google I/O, we announced new ways to help you build a successful business. These solutions work together at scale to help you find more users, understand and engage them, and effectively convert your active users into buyers.Build an engaging app
Last year, Google Play became an even better place to try new ideas. Since May 2013, Google Play offers Alpha and Beta Testing so that you can engage users early to get feedback on your new app. Feedback provided by users is private, allowing you to fix issues before publicly launching the app, and without impacting your public ratings and reviews. Over 80,000 apps on Google Play are actively using beta testing. You can also ensure new versions get a positive response by updating through staged rollouts.Scale operations
As your app business grows, you dedicate more time to release management. Today we announced the Google Play Developer Publishing API to help you scale your release operations. The new API will let you upload APKs, manage your in-app products and localized store listings. You will be able to integrate publishing operations with your release processes and toolchain through a RESTful API. With the Google Play Developer Publishing API youâll spend less time managing your releases and more time managing your business. This API is currently in closed beta and we look forward to making it available to all developers.Actionable insights
The Google Play Developer Console now offers more actionable insights into your appâs performance by sending you email notifications for Alerts and providing Optimization Tips. Weâre also offering new revenue metrics including number of buyers and average revenue per paying user. Youâll also be able to export user reviews for further analysis. Click on Announcements in the Developer Console for a list of new features.
For game developers, we recently launched enhanced Play Games statistics on the Google Play Developer Console. You get a daily dashboard that visualizes player and engagement statistics for signed in users, including daily active users, retention analysis, and achievement and leaderboard performance.Enhance discovery and engagement
With AdWords, we're building a robust platform to help you promote your app and drive re-engagement. This week we are launching Installed App Category Targeting, a new way to promote your app to new users. It helps you reach potential customers across the AdMob network who have already installed apps from related categories on Google Play and other app stores. For example, an action-oriented game developer may wish to reach users who have previously installed apps from the category Action & Adventure Games.
Ads can also remind users about the apps they already have. Through Google mobile display and search ads deep linking, you can re-engage users who have already installed your Android app by taking them directly to specific pages in the app. Letâs say someone has the Hotel Tonight app installed on their phone. If they search Google for âhotels in San Francisco," they'll see an ad that will open Hotel Tonight app and take them directly to a list of San Francisco hotels.
This deep-linking is also available through search for all apps that implement app indexing. If a user with the Walmart Android app searches for âChromecast where to buyâ, theyâll go directly to the Chromecast page in the Walmart app. The new App Indexing API is now open to all Android developers, globally. Get started now.New services for game developers
For game developers using Play Games, we announced a new Game Profile that is automatically customized based on the gameplay and achievements earned in those games. Since its launch last year, users have loved saving their game progress in the cloud. Weâre now evolving this feature to Saved Games, where users can save up to 3 âbookmarksâ of their progress in the Play Games app, complete with images and descriptions. Finally, we announced a new service called Quests — it you run online, time-based goals in your game; for example, players can collect bunch of in-game items on a specific day, and the quests services coordinates with your game to know who completed the goal. These APIs run events for your players, and reward them, without the need to update your game.New monetization tools
Today, we announced that users who have set up Direct Carrier Billing on their smartphone can also make purchases on Google Play from their tablet, charging to the same mobile phone bill. In addition to our recent launch of payments through PayPal, these new user payment options expand monetization opportunities for your apps.
As announced earlier this year, Google Analytics is now directly available in the AdMob interface, giving you powerful segmentation tools to determine the best monetization strategy for each user. For example, you might want to display in-app purchase ads to users most interested in buying, while showing regular ads to those less likely to buy right now. Once youâve segmented your audience in this way, you can use AdMob to build interstitial ads that promote in-app purchase items to users at a point in your app thatâs useful to them. This creates a more customized experience for users, can help prolong engagement and grow in-app purchase revenue. Learn more.Join us
If you're at Google I/O 2014, please join us at our breakout sessions today and tomorrow, where we'll be talking about these features in much more detail. (Add us to your calendar!) And if you can't make I/O, you can always join us on the livestream or watch the videos online later.Posted by Louis Gray, Googler
By Dave Burke and Majd Bakar, Engineering Directors and TV Junkies
Last summer, we launched Chromecast, a small, affordable device that lets you cast online video, music and anything from the web to your TV. Today at Google I/O, we announced Android TV, the newest form factor to the Android platform, and a way to extend the reach of Google Cast to more devices, like televisions, set-top boxes and consoles.
Check out Coming to a Screen Near You for some details on everything weâre doing to make your TV the place to be.
For developers though--sorry, you donât get to unwind in front of the TV. We need you to get to work and help us create the best possible TV experience, with all of the new features announced at I/O today.Get started with Android TV
In addition to Google Cast apps that send content to the TV, you can now build immersive native apps and console-style games on Android TV devices. These native apps work with TV remotes and gamepads, even if you donât have your phone handy. The Android L Developer Preview SDK includes the new Leanback support library that allows you to design smoother, simpler, living room apps.
And this is just the beginning. In the fall, new APIs will allow you to cast directly to these apps, so users can control the app with the phone, the remote, or even their Android Wear watch. Youâll also start seeing Android TV set-top boxes, consoles and televisions from Sony, TP Vision, Sharp, Asus, Razer and more.Help more users find your Google Cast app
We want to help users more easily find your content, so weâve improved the Google Cast SDK developer console to let you upload your app icon, app name, and app category for Android, iOS and Chrome. These changes will help your app get discovered on chromecast.com/apps and on Google Play.
Additional capabilities have also been added to the Google Cast SDK. These include: Media Player Library enhancements, bringing easier integration with MPEG-DASH Smooth Streaming, and HLS. Weâve also added WebAudio & WebGL support, made the Cast Companion Library available, and added enhanced Closed Caption support. And coming soon, we will add support for queuing and ID delegation.
Ready to get started? Visit developer.android.com/tv and developers.google.com/cast for the SDKs, style guides, tutorials, sample code, and the API references. You can also request an ADT-1 devkit to bootstrap your Android TV development.Posted by Louis Gray, Googler
When we started building for the first mobile devices, mobile meant less: less screen space, slower connection, fewer features. A mobile experience was often a lesser experience. But mobile devices have evolved—they have become more powerful, faster, and more intuitive—so must our approach to design.
And as Google, including the Android platform, expands into new form factors, weâre introducing one consistent design that spans devices across mobile, desktop, and beyond. Today at Google I/O, we introduced material design, which uses tactile surfaces, bold graphic design, and fluid motion to create beautiful, intuitive experiences.
In material design, surface and shadow establish a physical structure to explain what can be touched and what can move. Content is front and center, using principles of modern print design. Motion is meaningful, clarifying relationships and teaching with delightful details.
We needed something that felt at home on the smallest watch, the largest TV, and every screen in between. We used it for Android Wear, our project to extend Android wearables, as well as Android TV, and Android Auto. So as you create applications and services for this expansive new range of devices, weâve created one unified set of style guidelines that works across any platform. Weâre releasing the first version of these guidelines as part of our preview today. You can find them on google.com/design.Material design, in L
Bringing material design to Android is a big part of the L-Release of Android, the version we previewed today. Weâve added the new Material theme, which you can apply to your apps for a new style: it lets you easily infuse your own color palette into your app, and offers new system widgets, screen transitions and animated touch feedback. Weâve also added the ability to specify a viewâs elevation, allowing you to raise UI elements and cast dynamic, real-time shadows in your apps.Bringing material design to the web, with Polymer
Last year at I/O we announced Polymer, an ambitious UI toolkit for the web. As a developer, youâll now have access to all the capabilities of material design via Polymer, bringing tangibility, bold graphics, and smooth animations to your applications on the web.
The web is a rich computing platform with unparalleled reach. In recent years, mobile devices have brought the web to billions of new users and introduced many new device capabilities, screen sizes, input methods, and more. To help developers navigate this brave new world, we built Web Fundamentals, a curated source for modern best practices. Today, weâre making it even easier to build multi-device experiences with the Beta release of the Web Starter Kit.
Web Fundamentals' guidelines are intended to be fundamental to the platform: useful no matter which framework you choose or which browser your users run. We have articles about responsive layouts, forms, touch, media, performance, device capabilities, and setting up a development workflow. Articles cover both coding and design. For example, the article on layout design patterns explains both the usability tradeoffs between different layout options and how to implement them. The performance section complements PageSpeed Insights, an auditing tool that encourages instant (<1 second) mobile web sites.
Designed to help you apply Web Fundamentalsâ best practices in new projects, Web Starter Kit is a lightweight boilerplate with templates and tooling. Web Starter Kit gives you responsive layout, a visual style guide, and optional workflow features like performance optimization so you can keep your pages lean and fast.
Both Web Fundamentals and the Web Starter Kit are actively developed and curated by a team of developers from Google and several open-source contributors. Our source code is available on GitHub, and we welcome contributions and feedback. Looking ahead, weâll be adding new content and working with the web development community to refine our advice. Please file an issue or submit a pull request to help us capture web development best practices.
We look forward to a more modern, multi-device web!
Posted by Paul Kinlan, Developer Advocate and Web FundamentalistPosted by Louis Gray, Googler