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GSD's 1st 2017 Newsetter!
For the people who see my work for the first time, they have one question that all seem to ask me everytime. How did I start, who taught me, where did you learn to code like this, do you have a particular style and what do you use to do all this and most importantly is what drives me to continue. How did I start my android hobby? Well it all started with the first custom rom I flashed to my LG Ally, Velocity Rom. This was way back in 2010 where if you missed a step in unlocking your phone and rooting it, you were making a trip to verizon and telling them that you phone went hay wire and no longers work (Which ive done 3x...) This day and age, majority of the phone companies now give you a step by step process of unlocking their phones on their website for developer builds and custom roms. Its apart of the android terms of service to allow software and hardware unlocking for those who would be concerned about the law, theirs nothing illegal in these processes. After I had flashed my first custom rom, my curiosity struck and i began teaching myself. I had already had experience modding games and consoles, so why not make something out of it. Over the years, I had experienced moments of accomplishment and loss of a variety of reasons and decided to retire from custom roms and move into application development. Teaching came from a variety of places and persons. ALOT of google searches, alot of stackoverflow post, github forking, experimental apps, tutorials, books, ebooks, and 1 on 1 conversations with community developers. The one things you need to understand as a developer is that you can't be shy or hidden. You have to be open to the world of both communicating with your community and focus groups to being able to talk to developers about troubleshooting an issue or trying to learn a process and gaining the honor of working on a project with a bunch of people or collaboration. As an android dev, you learn that the world can't be successful unless you work together. The majority of android apps you use everyday uses code built by people all around the world to make processes and gui easier to build and to save time in publishing a piece of work. Even the firmware you use on your android phone is modified and updated by community developers and not just by Google or your OEM provider (Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony). It's a world were you respect everyones work and respect the decisions they make to make sure the product is successful. If it's an open source application, you respect the license and terms of conditions and contribute to it and not "kang" it or steal it for your own product, help make it better. Being apart of Google is a really awesome thing because no matter what the application is for, your always going to receive a compliment from someone and that's what drives you to do better.
The story behind my work taking a step further than what it is today starts with my Sapphire Launcher app. Sapphire Launcher is a Google Powered Launcher I built specifically for android 5.0+ that offers a selection of tweaks and personalization for the average android user on their device. I've worked on this project for 2 years and recently decided it was time to take it a step forward and start working on a sequel, not it almost never came to this. Their was a time where Sapphire Launcher was left on the Google Play and almost removed from its standing. I had originally built it for HTC Sense and was making it device specific project but as software changes occurred and my project idea was canned, I almost gave up on the fact that my vision wasn't going to happen. Sapphire sat on the playstore in a dormant state for 8 months. On the 9th month, I was several days away from deleting the project and giving up on the whole android development idea because I figured that my style of development wasn't what people wanted and my skill level wasn't appreciated and wasn't getting any better because I had no time to teach myself or no way to learn because of the fact I didn't have the ability to come out in the open and ask for help. I had received a message from one of the developers I followed in HTC Sense development (Since than no contact) and had asked me if I was going to continue development on Sapphire. I had told him that my vision of the product was over and I just ultimately admitted I didn't have what it took to become a developer. He told me if the idea behind the project initially wasn't going to work, to look at it from a different angel, to see how it could be turned into something more than what it was intended. That's the beauty of being a developer as you can take something that already exist and alter its purpose. With a few motivating words of wisdom and a few links to several blogs, I sat down and did some homework and decided to start over. Sapphire Launcher now is my most successful project and it's still growing.
Sapphire Launcher's first 2017 update will soon go into affect as I have a few changes i'd like to implement into it. With the few projects I've been working on, I've had the opportunity to work with a few material devs to help develop better menu systems, styles and first impressions. I will be taking the time to rework the majority of the menus and interface of Sapphire Launcher and make the menus and layouts more native and user friendly. I feel the direction I took for the impression was the wrong one and should just use a native android style that everyone wants. I will also be removing a large chunk of content inside the launcher that feels to bloat the system and are redundant and will be removed to save space, memory and make everything feel smooth. Every Android Lib I used to build an interface, menu or style that can be done natively I will do so. Android N performance fixes will also be apart of this update (no plans for Android N shortcuts in this launcher unless I build something homebrew, sorry to disappoint). I will also be removing the built in Wallpaper services and replace it with a partnership with my new wallpaper service that I built for Sapphyx Launcher (I will get this soon!). Drywall will be a new wallpaper app i will be publishing soon and have a partnership with Sapphire Launcher and Sapphyx Launcher and be accessible outside of the launchers as well for all to use. It will also be open sourced to community developers and themers.
Sapphyx Launcher is my new project for 2017 and currently has no release date. I currently have 2 private testers and myself. This launcher is based on the Pixel Launcher source code and will provide users similar customization and personalization from Sapphire Launcher, the differences are that it will be a 64bit launcher and have a minimum os requirement of android 6.0. This is ultimately proving to be a difficult project as my users have personally seen and come to an understanding. Google has taken the time to modify the structure of the launchers body and database communication. This means it is alot harder to modify unlike Sapphire Launcher and I have to extend and mirror pre-existing data and make backdoors for tweaks to apply correctly. As of right now, we have Icon pack support, basic desktop customization and minimal gesture support. Its becoming apparent this is going to take some time to publish. My vision is to have a premium launcher for my users to have at their disposal and if they have to pay for it this time around, I'm making sure its 110% jaw dropping perfection before I release it. I will drop previews as progress is made and will do a vast amount of vote post on the GSD Google Plus group to get an idea of what direction I want to take in certain features and personalization. A private test group will officially begin after I have built a stable environment and ota system for these users. I will be posting a survey to answer and those who take part in this on the GocalSD Google Plus group will be invited to a Google Spaces group and you will be required to report back your first impressions and anything I require from you and you will be able to be apart of an important future for my users. You will need the GSD Premium and Onyx Keys to use Sapphire Launcher personalization.
GSD Mobile is expected to get a 2017 revamp. Right now the application feels more of an advertisment that a legit application. My goals are to create a more communication like application. To allow users to see what's next coming from me, to get announcements of promotions and open betas, to connect to the Google Plus and Facebook Groups more easily and contact me. My intentions are to remove the tab navigation interface, bring a drawer menu into the mix and have a mini mobile site where I have a small store to look at, create a mobile homesite in one layout and build a new newsfeed thats more professional and easier to use and less buggy. I'm hoping for a good turn out here but it all depends on how I decide whats best in the mix of communication.
Anvil Companion is becoming my 2nd most popular and successful project in my listings of applications for android. This app was built for Halo Online ElDewrito on PC (There's a reddit thing home page something rather and an official home page if your interested) Those of you reading this part of the blog is probably the only reason to come here but here's the gameplan for 2017. The next update will bring the application out of the public beta. Within this update, their is an arsenal of changes I want to look at and implement. Those are as follows...Revamp the main activity to put a good first impression on users, this includes a new layout and hourly background changes. The background is something that I think is important to halo players and with it being static at the moment, I want a day night system to be implemented to represent the type of player you are. The day shift, the afternoon shift, the evening shift and night shift (Yes I had to correct all 4 of those shifts from the word shit...). The sections allow users to easily find the data represented from a certain community that powers the Halo Online group and I want to make this better. The cards are expected to be recoded similar to a behavior of the windows 10 halo app with expanding layouts to display details and a better onclick system. Sometimes I catch myself clicking on something that was not intended as navigating through the pages. The Halo Online homesite will also have a section in the next update. The drawer menu system will start to show signs of profile integration. I will be focusing on adding profile support in the near future but the next update will start to show pure signs of it being a thing as place holders of profile images and headers will be present. How the app is currently coded does worry me that the profile data will be hard to carry over from one activity to the next so I will be focusing on the drawer navigation system as it will allow a carry over system similar to how the Halo App works on windows10 where the mini drawer keeps a state of being as you go from one menu field to the next. Current Halo Online features like the server browser and terminal emulator will still remain frozen as what will change is still unknown. All activities and features that are unfinished will be finished and working properly. File share is expected to have some sort of roll in the next update. I've been given API's from several developers and expected to present a damn good app to the community so I will be focusing hard to make some jaws drop. Current mobile reddit features will be improved visually and user friendly. I do want to incorporate some sort of file browser is not a functional file share feature. In the mean time, I urge users of Anvil Companion to join the Google Plus Group to stay connected and interact with development and to be apart of the development progress. I also want to start an official beta builds of the application for when I start implementing user profile support and if you want to be apart of these builds, you will need to be apart of the Google Plus group so I can monitor usage and for your Google Account to be linked with my beta preview program in the Google Play Store. This is not an initiative to start another community, this is important for the lively hood of an application you want to grow stronger with. As far as open source, I think its going to stay private with the development team just because of how i've seen the reddit community act. It's nothing against the users, it's just I don't trust a handful of users and even moderators. Once the community has proven it sees a working bond and trust of ownership, i will open the source but for now it will stay in my hands and the partnership I have with the developers who want to commit themselves to this project.
So, The road to 2017? It's filled with a bunch of work I need to schedule down on my calendar and take my time on. There is alot of things I have planned for Sapphy Launcher and Anvil Companion but will require patience from you and time from me. Sapphy Launcher is expected to have alot of addons and extensions in my drawing books but will require time for me to code this from a visual in hand experience. Sapphire Launcher still has some life to it and some tricks up my sleeves and for some unannounced projects. I want to impress my community and gain new ones, I want to gain more revenue for the year to upgrade my equipment, I want to improve the user experience with GocalSD, I want i want i want. I HAVE alot of missions to accomplish for the year and I have you to drive me to make them happen.
In the next few weeks, expect a new app release, a few new updates to pre-existing applications and some changes. I'll see you on the networks!