My first Android app.

If you’re looking for high-level information about writing and publishing Android apps there’s no need to read any further;  this post is about the democratization of the means to do such things. For idiots. Like me.

So there’s this big grey area in mobile software between “dressed up rss feed” and “app”. The Mippin-powered version of this site would be an example of the former. And the latter? Well, thanks to the folks who host the audio files for Dyscultured — a podcast that I’m a part of each and every Wednesday — there is now a standalone app available for download in the Android Market, with a version for iOS hopefully on the way. I had thought that a free (ad-supported) version was to be made available for Android as well. Perhaps that’s coming too?

Anyway, let’s take a look at what we’ve got. Click on any of the thumbnails below to view full-sized…

Here’s the app sitting comfortably on the home screen of my Nexus S. No widget, though — what you see at the top of the screen is a player for Doggcatcher, a dedicated Android. podcatching app.

Here’s the splash screen. I whipped this up myself, having no idea there’d be an overlay at the bottom. Considering that my input into the app-building process was pretty much limited to artwork you’d think there’d be a preview or simulator of the finished product along the way. No such luck.

The episodes tab. Note that the app boots into the latest ep by default (see the next screen). Oh, that’s my background too — funny how distorted it is when I was given very specific screen dimensions for uploading. Actually it’s not funny at all…

Here’s the latest show (as of this writing) in action. The very prominent and poorly-placed “Episode 132” is an episode-specific background submitted by yours truly, again with no idea how the final screen would look. What does seem to work is the thumbnail graphic for each episode. That’s a relief.

This “contact” tab is a nice touch, but be warned: If you email us with any of the design issues written about in this post I’m going to personally come over to your house and kick you in the junk. For serious.

Of more dubious value is the ability to “star” episodes for playback later. I guess this is meant to sub in for the “mark as played” functionality present in other apps (like Doggcatcher). The good news is that the app will absolutely remember where you left off in any given episode, and even ask you if you’d like to pick up from that same point or start again. I should have grabbed a screen of that.

And the main menu at the bottom of the screen is pretty self-explanatory. Note that there are no available extras in episodes of the Dyscultured podcast. At least not yet.

Fortunately for me, fixing the app involves nothing more than uploading a screen or two. Look for v1.1 of Dyscultured in the Android Market soon!

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