Well, it’s finally done. The Droid version of my Super Planner app is now available. Click here to check it out in the Android Marketplace.
Developing in Android vs. iPhone
First let me apologize for the delay in its release, as I’d initially promised it months earlier. Here’s the story. My assumption had been that after doing the heavy lifting last year in creating all the formulas, layouts, utilities, tips, etc. for the iPhone version, it would be fairly easy to show the app to an Android programmer, and say, “Make me one of these in Droid, please.” You know, like going into a store and saying, “See this shirt? Get me one in medium.” Alas, it was not so easy. Not even close. Developing an app for Google is a totally different process.
1) Devices vs. the OS. Google controls the operating system (Android), but not the devices. Whereas Apple controls both the operating system, AND the devices, Google’s Android OS runs on hundreds of different types of devices. Apple’s got only three: iPod Touch; iPhone; and iPad, so its easy for them to make your app look pretty on those three devices.
Google, on the other hand, has to enable your app to look the same, or pretty close, on hundreds of devices, so they’ve taken a different approach in the development process for apps. Rather than place graphics and text in very specific places (like with Apple), the development code for Android includes ‘relational’ placement. In other words, you tell it that a certain input box, for example, belongs just to the left of a certain line of text. These instructions enable your app to scale across ump-teen different screen sizes, dimensions, resolutions, etc.
That said, the Droid version does exactly every single thing the iPhone version does, and we even made some sections faster by removing unnecessary verbiage.
2) No Home Screen. From a navigational standpoint, Android eliminates the need for a Home screen. You click the app’s icon on your phone and it jumps you right into the app. Super Planner is divided into 3 master sections: Food & Beverage, Audio Visual, and Room Capacity, each of which has multiple sub-sections. If you want to go from one section to another in the iPhone version, you have to first go to Home, then into your new section. In Android, the 3 section tabs are omnipresent at the top of your screen, so you can go from one to another more efficiently.
3) The Menu Button. Android also makes use of a Menu button, which allows additional sub-menu items to appear (and then disappear) on the screen, whereas Apple requires these sub-menu icons to be permanently anchored at the bottom of each screen.
4) Turnaround Time. Apple turned around my app submission in around 2 weeks, which I thought was pretty fast. Google approved my app and put it in their store in 5 minutes.
Interesting experience. Hope you Droid lovers enjoy the app, and I welcome your feedback!