A little while back, we released new iOS libraries for Apphance, our mobile quality tool that makes it easy for mobile app developers to understand how their apps are working across a wide range of mobile devices, carriers and locations. Today we’re pleased to announce a big update for the other half of our users with version 1.9 of our Android SDK.
Our focus for this Android update has been to improve the stability and ease of use for our pre-production library. We wanted to make the library easier to install while having it be less intrusive on the rest of the app. We’ve made some dramatic improvements, however in doing so we’ve also had to break backwards compatibility with previous versions of the pre-production library.
The good news is that if you’re using Android for Apphance, you’ll only need to make a few changes to your code to update to version 1.9 of the pre-production library. The changes are minor, and the overall effect is to dramatically simplify your manifest.xml file. An experienced Android developer should be able to update to the newest SDK in just a few minutes. We’ve published easy step-by-step instructions here. (And if you’re not able to update right now, don’t worry. Our platform will continue to support version 1.8.3 for the foreseeable future.)
Here are a few of the bigger improvements we’ve made:
Simpler Manifest File
One of the biggest sources of confusion for developers adding Apphance to their app for the first time was the number of changes they needed to make to their manifest.xml file. We’ve heard that concern loud and clear and our new approach significantly reduces the number of modifications developers need to make when using the pre-production library. A developer new to Apphance should find it much easier to include it in their app, and existing developers will appreciate Apphance’s smaller footprint.
These changes will also help developers making the switch from the pre-production library to the production library. With a cleaner manifest.xml file, developers will find the switching process far simpler and less prone to error.
More Options for Memory Handling
Memory handling on Android can be confusing for even the most skilled developers, and even though Apphance has a relatively small footprint, developers have asked us for more options for controlling its memory usage. With this new update, developers have the option of running Apphance in the same memory footprint as the rest of their app, or spawning a new block of memory dedicated to Apphance. More details are in the Apphance documentation.
Maven and Gradle Support
Over the past year, Google has begun migrating users away from the traditional approach for including external libraries in favor or Maven and Gradle. For example, Google’s new build system, featured at this year’s I/O conference, favors Gradle for adding external libraries. Meanwhile, many of our developers have asked us for better support for Maven. With this new update, we’re now offering both our pre-production and production libraries with Maven and Gradle configuration instructions. If you would like to use either of these systems, you can find instructions on our Android installation page.
In addition to these changes, we’ve also made many minor updates and fixed numerous bugs. We’re excited about this new version and think it represents a big step forward for our Android users.
To get started with the latest version of Apphance for Android, download the Android SDK from the Apphance help topics. And if you’re updating from a previous version, make sure you check out our migration tutorial. To see what version 1.9 looks like in a sample application, check out our updated HelloWorld example app.
The Apphance developers are not done. More new features are coming very soon, and we have some exciting stuff cooking. Have a great idea for our future product releases? Drop us a line and tell us what you think.