Making an Android App Bundle .aab file from a Cordova project


At this time, I have been unsuccessful generating a signed aab file for upload to Google Play from Android Studio. Still, others may have more success following these steps, since their environment will be different from mine. These steps are reasonably complete that you might try it out.

Google Play wants us to submit an .aab file instead of an .apk file so that Google Play could download just the files the user needs at the first download. (At this time, Google Play still accepts .apk files, however.) This could result in significant app install memory savings. You can learn more about this here: https://developer.android.com/guide/app-bundle

Until we have an automated command-line process from Apache Cordova, we can make this file with Android Studio. Here are the steps to do so. While making this article, I came across many errors in trying to make this process work. I ironed out the errors and pieced this workflow together so it is streamlined, otherwise it would have been twice as long to read about all my dead ends. (Along the way, I created an SDK. I’m not sure it is needed for these steps to work.)

When done, I deleted my project and started from scratch to make sure these steps worked. Continue reading

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Add social sharing icons to your app


I wanted to be able to share selected content in my app to several social media places, and not merely by copy/paste to an email client. Now my app can share contents of a <textarea> field to Facebook, Google+, Google Drive, Dropbox, a memo app, email, and so on. It was easier to do than I thought. Here is how I did it for Android.

This assumes you already have a Cordova project built and Android platform added. (Steps will be slightly different for iOS. I’ll add those steps to this page when I’m ready.)

Resource:
https://github.com/EddyVerbruggen/SocialSharing-PhoneGap-Plugin

My current environment:
Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.6
cordova -v: 6.3.1
cordova platform ?: android 5.1.1 Continue reading

Using Android Studio with Cordova projects


This article assumes you already have a Cordova project ready to use. So you will use CLI to build the project first as you normally would, including adding an Android platform to the project and running cordova build android. You’ll still need to use the steps outlined in my article to build Cordova apps, including steps for installing plugins, icons, and screens: https://iphonedevlog.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/using-cordova-3-5-cli-on-mac-os-x-mavericks-to-build-android-apps/

You’ll need the dependencies set up if you’ve never made a Cordova project before. See: https://iphonedevlog.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/setting-up-your-developmemt-environment-for-cordovaphonegap-android-projects/

Resources:
https://cordova.apache.org/docs/en/latest/guide/platforms/android/
https://developer.android.com/studio/intro/index.html
https://developer.android.com/studio/install.html  Continue reading

Implementing the Moust Videoplayer Cordova plugin for Android


The Moust videoplayer plugin allows the app to play videos within the app in fullscreen mode.

Unfortunately, the video does not play according to its own proportional size, nor is it confined to the proportion of the div it’s in. It breaks out to fit in the device window. We are given two different options for scaling the video. The following were the results when viewing a 320x200px video in my Nexus 7:

SCALE_TO_FIT_WITH_CROPPING As noted, this doesn’t show the whole video. In landscape, the top/bottom are cropped. In portrait, the left/right sides are cropped. No pinch-to-reduce functionality included.

SCALE_TO_FIT (default) This will stretch/squeeze the video to fit the device’s screen, whether horizontal or vertical orientation.

It makes the most sense to use this player when you want to play back the videos in the same mobile device you shot them with; then they would play back in perfect proportion. If you want your videos to play back reliably across Android devices in their own proportion, I recommend trying Crosswalk.  Continue reading

Implementing Crosswalk’s Chromium webview plugin in an Android app


Why consider using Crosswalk? Android devices have different implementations of the webview, in which our PhoneGap and Cordova apps appear. Vendors have made their own tweaks of the webview, causing our code to render inconsistently. So our CSS and scripts will play differently across devices or not at all.

For instance, the HTML5 <video> tag won’t work across all Android browsers:

<video id="video_1" 
 controls preload="auto" width="320" height="240">
 <source src="video/myvideo-h264.mp4" type="video/mp4">
I'm sorry; your device browser doesn't support HTML5 video in MP4 with H.264.
</video>

But it will work in the Chromium webview provided by Crosswalk. By adding the Chromium webview to our app, we will have a unified Android playing field for our app. Continue reading

Using ADB Logcat to debug your Android app installation


A more descriptive title would be, “Using ADB logcat outside of ADT, Eclipse, or Android Studio to debug your Android app installation errors.” Did you try to install the app in your Android device, but got the annoying “Unfortunately, [app name] has stopped”? If so, then you need to run ADB logcat to find out why. Logcat allows us to read the logs that are automatically running in the background when we run the program. So when the app quits suddenly, we can read the messages along the way and pinpoint when it went south. Here are the steps to implement logcat. Continue reading