After learning some of the basics of Android I decided I wanted to go through the process of building an Android app and getting it into the app store. I’m at the point with learning programming that learning alone is no longer sufficient for my development. I have to start applying my knowledge and building some simple apps and websites. I’m not focused on making money at the moment, just applying my knowledge and gaining experience with developing.
With that motive, I had to pick something to build. I read an article about how many of the Android flashlight apps that are available secretly steal user data. Many flashlight apps also have ads on them. And yes, for all you iPhone users who have a flashlight installed with your operating system, many Android users do not have this luxury. So I figured stolen data and ads and charging people for premium versions of something that seems simple enough to implement is pretty lame. And while this app is meant to be a learning exercise for me and not intended to create a better flashlight, I figured maybe I could provide a little value to someone who downloads the app.
So I built Flashlight for Joe and put it into the Google Play store. The selling points being no ads, no stolen data, open source and free.
I wanted to build a simple looking interface, no need to complicate anything. Ended up with this design.
Nothing too complicated here. The big challenge that I realized from this project was that I would have to work with the Android camera, which is configured very differently depending upon the phone manufacturer. And given I would be supporting over 3,000 devices and 15 operating systems it was not feasible to track down all of those configurations to test. I was definitely a little bummed with how complicated it was to access such a simple functionality of the Android camera. Eventually I got it working on my Samsung Galaxy Note II and my mom’s OG droid and figured that would cover a good amount of users.
When I was happy with it I posted it to the Google Play store.
You can download the app at Flashlight by Joe – Google Play
You can find the source code used to make this app at Flashlight by Joe – GitHub