The Shopper Development Update – A

This morning I took a few hours and drilled some more time into the next version of The Shopper. This is a little overdue and needs done but, as with most things, I’m taking it slowly to make sure I’m getting all the things I want in it 100% complete.

The screenshots shown here are from the tablet-specific interface in landscape orientation. The first one shows what the normal screen looks like. The ActionBar is populated with various actions the user can take. Right now, only the Add Item feature works (obviously signified by the plus icon on the far left). The item list is presented to the user on the right side of the screen while dynamic filters are specified on the left in a TabHost container.

The default appearance for The Shopper on tablets in landscape orientation

It’s not visible here but the selection highlights for the lists is the same green color as the tabs. This is also true for the selection of ActionBar icons and the folded menu as well.

To add the item, I kept the same mentality here as was present in the first version where a modal dialog appears that contains the form for preparing and submitting a new item to the core database.

Adding an item with the Add Item dialog

Compared to the dialog featured in the first version, this one is greatly simplified and better looking. Unfortunately it’s not complete yet as there’s a feature I’d like to test with it and, as you can tell, it’s not conforming 100% to the style I’ve set for this version.

It’s been an interesting adventure learning how to style as much of the Android UI as possible. Most of this information is not directly available and is instead found only via inference or from some fringe forum on the internet. I’ve discovered a few tools for stylizing your apps which significantly helped in the process and saved me a lot of time. These will be listed at the end. One of the things I’ve yet to figure out how to style is the border for dialogs that divides the title from the rest of the content.

Right now, the dynamic filter lists are still full of static content (i.e. they’re not polling from the database to obtain the pertinent data). This will change before the end of the week.

The design path I’ve taken with this has provided a fair set of interesting challenges. More specifically, nearly every UI container is its own Fragment; the item list, the dynamic filters, the dialogs, etc… Changes made in one Fragment logically reflect on data contained in another Fragment and those changes need to be visible to the user as soon as they’re made. Direct inter-Fragment communication isn’t possible in Android so you have to use a hosting Activity as the delegation point. Writing code that conforms to this is interesting since it makes you rethink how your objects communicate with each other. Down in the ditches, so to speak, it seems like you’re wading though shit but when you look at it from a large scope, it really is a pretty elegant solution if convoluted at first.

Android Asset Studio – Holo Colors http://android-holo-colors.com

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