Tag Archives: fun

Webbits: a silly Android app for testing embedded web content.

Recently I found myself working with some server-side web content that would ultimately need to be pulled into an embedded browser within an Android app. Depending on the device, the embedded browser within the app could be of variable size, so the content being pulled would have to display properly.

I wanted a means to test the content within an embedded browser of different sizes, so I looked around (not for very long) for a test app that could help me out; after a little bit of looking and not finding what I wanted, I decided to just write my own silly app, called Webbits.

The app supports both phone and tablet and essentially allows a user to specify the dimensions of the embedded browser (WebView) and the URL to load. It’s very basic but did exactly what I needed. Below are some screenshots of Webbits:

Screenshot_2013-07-05-13-17-49

Phone portrait

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Tablet landscape

device-2013-07-04-183939

Developed by 2bits, of course.

Hopefully, someday, somebody else may find this useful.

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Android Customization

Recently I’ve spent a little bit of time customizing Android on my Galaxy Nexus. I’m very much a n00b when it comes to this so I won’t pretend to have an in-depth understanding, but rather I’ll just briefly discuss my experiences thus far. The two apps I’ve installed and used to customize the OS thus far have been Nova Launcher and Ultimate Custom Widget.

Ultimate Custom Widget (UCCW)

At a very basic level UCCW is a WYSIWYG editor for constructing widgets, and an awesome one at that! So far I have been super impressed at how easy it is to create a new widget and how many  options are available in terms of customizing the widget. The widget can almost be thought of as  graphics editing program for your mobile where you are given an empty canvas and the ability to add/remove and position objects with touch. The following are some of the features the widget provides:

  • Change the background color or graphic of the canvas.
  • The ability to add all kinds of objects to the canvas. Some of these objects being predefined (such as date, current temperate or battery text) and others being more generic and allowing for customization (static text or shape). The objects can also be moved around and positioned using your finger.
Widget with custom background and static text object

Widget with custom background and static text object

  • The ability to assign action areas (hotspots) on the canvas which allow for actions to take place when touched. An example would be launching a particular app when a hotspot is touched.
Assigning a hotspot area to the widget

Assigning a hotspot area to the widget

Typically these were the features I used most when playing around, however, it’s only a scratch on the surface in terms of the level of customization the widget provides. As part of testing out the widget I decided to apply a Metro UI style look to my Galaxy Nexus using an icon pack and various widgets on my home screen:

UCCW widgets on my Galaxy Nexus

UCCW widgets on my Galaxy Nexus

Nova Custom Launcher

Nova Launcher is a home screen replacement for Android 4.0+. The launcher allows one to customize the OS in a variety of ways, from the look and feel of folders on the home screen to custom gesture recognition… it really does provide an impressive amount of tweaking.

I haven’t had enough time to fully utilize all of the features provided by Nova and as a result I don’t feel I’d be a suitable judge at this point; however, during the period of using the launcher I have noticed a couple of odd glitches, primarily in the form of how transitions between apps take place. Having said that, I will continue to use the launcher for the time being and hopefully be able to provide a better review at a later stage.