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The Making-of an Android App

UnJumble
I have been developing mobile web apps since quite some time now, mostly using popular JavaScript frameworks, like Sencha Touch, which give a native look & feel to the app. Web apps have their merits, but using a platform’s SDK in order to develop a true native app is is inevitable in cases where you exclusively want your app to be available offline and also leverage some OS niceties that are unavailable to plain JS apps.

I recently got into developing a small, simple, but useful app for Android using using their latest API (level 16). The app — UnJumble — takes as input a jumbled English word, searches through a database of 58,000+ words for possible matches, and displays unscrambled word suggestions based on matches. As an added bonus, UnJumble fetches meanings for each unjumbled suggestion from Wordnik. Of course, the user gets to enable or disable the fetching of meanings as querying Wordnik requires an Internet connection, and this process may be a bit slow in some cases.

I’m currently in the process of giving finishing touches to UnJumble to prepare it for publishing on Google Play store. UnJumble is now available on Google Play. Throughout the journey of its development, I learned a lot of cool things about developing Android apps. In this article, I’ll share what all I learned by methodically teaching you how to build your own Android app using the several “components” I used to create UnJumble. But I’ll assume you’ve read at least a couple of tutorials on the Android Developers website, and that you are fairly familiar with a handful of Android SDK’s major terms and components.

Get ready to read about the journey of an Android app from its development to publishing.

Complete source code for UnJumble can be found at its github page.

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Tutorial: AJAX with jQuery

jQuery is a very powerful JavaScript framework, and to put in their own terms, is The Write Less, Do More JavaScript library. jQuery’s slogan indeed holds true to its claim, as you’ll discover as soon as you start coding using jQuery. Although jQuery has an extensive set of API and a collection of many functions in its arsenal, I would be concentrating more on the AJAX capabilities of jQuery in this tutorial.

Most of the modern websites, irrespective of whether they offer a simple or a complex interface, usually use AJAX for some task or the other. While designing in order to cater to today’s needs, it becomes almost indispensable to use AJAX to make the end-user experience faster and more pleasant. So, if you had been deferring the use of AJAX till now owing to it’s complexity in raw JavaScript, here is your chance to start using it with utmost ease.

It is really amazing to see how much simplified AJAX is with jQuery. The developers have seemingly (and painstakingly) done a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make it easy for the web developer to implement even the most complex JavaScript concepts, including AJAX.

For the purpose of demostrating AJAX, I’ll be making use of a simple web application (that I designed using HTML, PHP, jQuery, CSS and MySQL). I call it the Albums Database.

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