Application Development and Development 101


  1. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    jonbonazza and I have been discussing this recently and I decided to raise the question here. He is active in the Application Development section whereas my participation there is getting devopment questions (and application announcements) moved from other areas of the forum. We are trying to get a balance of having that forum be useful to developers while keeping it simple and straightforward enough for non-developer guides like me to be able to get users threads to the best place for them to get an answer to their question.

    What is the difference between these two forums? I understand from the descriptions that:
    Application Development - a lounge for devs to hang out
    Developer 101 - tutorials
    That seems great, but in practice both forums are essentially the same thing, application development support forums.


    Our discussion has led us to this structure suggestion. I would like some of the developers to add their thoughts so we can make this section of Android Forums work best.

    Application Development
    Description - This forum is for specific coding questions. Please provide your current source enclosed in code tags.
    Prefixes - SDK/ADT, GUI, LBS, Multimedia, Networking, NDK, 2D/3D graphics, General

    Development 101
    Description - This forum is for new / aspiring developers to get started. Place beginner coding questions, coding tips, tutorials, and sample code.
    Prefixes - Sample, Support, Tips, Tutorial
    Stickys - I think the current stickys here would still apply under this schema

    Again, I am asking about these changes as those two forums are both flooded with general development questions. I think it would be helpful for the developers that participate in there, the guides moving threads in, and new developers to have some clearer definitions with regards to how the forums are being used in practice. If the changes are implemented, I would work with jonbonazza to get threads with participation in the last 30 days moved to the best of the two forums initially and continue to keep older threads with new responses or new threads in the best forum for the user.

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    alostpacket likes this.
  2. Phases

    Phases Community Manager Administrator

    I'll be happy to make whatever changes to this section needed. If any of the devs or anyone else has input go for it.

    I can merge the two or change the descriptions to what's mentioned above - and use prefix sets if desired. Come to a consensus on what seems best and let me know.
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  3. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    Thanks Phases, jon and I have already had a brief discussion resulting in the OP. We are trying via PM and sticky threads in the two forums to get more of the devs to give some feedback here.
  4. Stigy

    Stigy Some say... VIP Member

    As a developer I agree with the changes that were mentioned above. I don't want to say its frustrating as a developer looking for help, but if the sections were differentiated it would make things better in my opinion.

    I like the idea of separating the two sections into, let's say beginner vs experienced developers. What it also does is give the experienced developers an idea of who is starting off and where they can definitely be helpful. For example I would know to check in the Development 101 section to offer advice and coding samples/tips to those just starting out with development. Where as I may go into Application Development and only be able to point someone in the right direction or may not even have an answer at all.

    The only change I would make is to add maybe a 'General' prefix to the Application Development section so if your question doesn't fall under one of those options you have somewhere to put it or does no prefix automatically assume this General tag?

    My two cents.
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  5. MSUgEEk

    MSUgEEk Well-Known Member

    I think what you are proposing would be good. I've found that area to be a bit jumbled, which is partially why I haven't contributed in that area much (the other reason being I'm just learning Android architecture myself...pretty experienced Java/C coder). I think what you're proposing would be helpful in organizing the information and making a more clear distinction as to where general beginner stuff goes and where specific "I need help getting this to work" stuff goes.
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  6. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    Excellent point about the general tag, especially since I probably wouldn't be able to prefix threads I move there properly all the time.

    I hadn't thought of lack of contribution from other devs due to it being jumbled. Thanks for bringing that up.
    alostpacket likes this.
  7. jonbonazza

    jonbonazza Well-Known Member

    I have PMed wubbzy, currently our most active member of the dev community, about the issue earlier today in between classes, however I have yet to hear a response. He's generally on in the evenings anyway though, so I am sure we will hear something from him soon.
    alostpacket likes this.
  8. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    My $0.99 :)

    Merging

    I've always felt Dev 101 was something best merged with the App dev forum. It seems much less active and unfortunately a lot of new users dont make use of it, nor do many experienced devs venture there to answer questions.

    I think we'd see a lot more activity in total if they were merged because I think a lot of devs dont reply to questions in the main forum that they dont know the answer to.

    Ultimately I think a dev could come to the forum, post their question, see a "beginner" question and hopefully answer that. Hence we get participation from both angles. As it is now we get some vague questions, complicated questions, and a few good ones.

    Moving App and ROM dev

    The other suggestion I would put forward is that App dev, and ROM dev, belong next to Theming. Both sections get a lot more traffic than say the classifieds section, and both sections are related to Theming. Theme questions are another thing we get accidentally in app dev. We also see a lot of app dev questions end up in the general Applications section which leads to some confusing responses.

    Anyways, there are of course larger concerns regarding traffic to the device sections and space for things at the top of the site. So, in an ideal world App/ROM/Theme dev would all be together up there, but I know Phases has more to consider than just what the organization is.

    Prefixes and Tags

    I could go either way here. I've never used prefixes much, but if you look on Stack-Overflow the tagging system is excellent. Perhaps rather than prefixes, we could have the tags display under the post title, (maybe next to the user's name). And, ideally, clicking a tag would search the current forum for questions with that tag. I don't know how hard this would be to implement.

    With regards to prefixes, my only advice would be to keep them few, short, and simple.

    Anyways, those are my thoughts, hope they help :)


    Btw, kudos to Unforgiven and jon for setting this in motion!
    Unforgiven likes this.
  9. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    I also thought merging the two was a good idea, but I am not a dev. That is why I really want dev feedback here. I also see the merit of having the getting started threads in a separate 101 forum. Maybe it would be best keeping threads about setting up the SDK, what IDE's, etc. in the 101 forum plus the sticky threads that are already there and have all of the coding questions themselves in a single forum.
  10. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    I think if we merge, we should merge it all... stragglers would just get lost in the kerfuffle.

    And, yes, I just wanted to say kerfuffle.
  11. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    I like the work kurfuffle.:D

    I'm OK with a single forum so long as it works for you devs. Certainly makes it easier from a non dev guide's perspective. Are prefixes preferable like Tip, Tutorial, Support, Sample, How To. I'm OK doing my best to get the prefixed, I was just wondering if it would help differentiate threads for new devs looking for tips vs. experienced ones looking to help.
  12. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    Personally I'm not a fan of prefixes. Though I do see how some people find them helpful. So in this sense I dont have a horse in the race, so to speak.

    But I guess the question to consider here is, what's our best guess at the typical use-case for devs regarding prefixes?

    For example, in a device forum someone might specifically be looking for accessories. The prefix sorting is useful for that. However, what do we think devs would be looking for. At the moment I'm drawing a blank but that may be due to the slice of pizza next to me.
  13. wubbzy

    wubbzy Well-Known Member

    Thanks @jonbonazza for inviting me in, was in back of my mind after your post on the same subject, wasn't sure how to get it started.

    tips vs experienced under dev would be worth a try. To broadly classify what I've seen as questions in dev forum:

    - Infrastructure (Eclipse, network, data etc.)
    - Code related (tips/101, have you tried..., how to, code not working etc.)
    - Promotion/marketing/statistics (cross promotion, google play related, analytics, downloads, pay-per-click etc.)
    - Jobs (hire me, wanted etc.)

    Another humble approach may be to separate dev from app forum altogether. App forum can have bunch of things in it like review, promotions etc.

    Another factor is font-sizing, maybe its VB theme, but bold blue forum text overpowers fine-print description text and in my previous existence as message board admin people do not read it, they tend to gravitate toward popular (by number postings/activity) or forums that they're familiar with (in case of new member read 'looks familiar').

    Observation from a user's PoV: a user would like maximum attention to his topic, thats just physiological (did I spell it right?). Hence the tendency that you guys are noticing as guides and mods, people posting where they're most comfortable @ and forum that they think they can get best answers in.

    Not sure if I was helpful...I certain we can evolve simple scheme (may not pleasing everyone), but certainly a good crowd. Though with any change there is a downside - loss of traffic/user base, which should be kept in mind.
    alostpacket likes this.
  14. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    I like this, but Promotional would become a spam haven. And hard for us mods to spot spam from legit users as all the topics would be "on topic"

    We do have a jobs section, perhaps we can have it moved under "development" (both ROM and App)

    This is already the case, we have dev, review, announcement, and regular/general application discussion forums. But they are under very different categories


    I think this is best moved to a separate suggestion

    Psychological = mind, Physiological = body

    But yeah you have some excellent ideas there. For tags/prefixes especially. Maybe we can see what's possible with tags and prefixes as a step 2 to this project.

    ===========


    @Unforgiven,

    How about we narrow the focus on organization for now, and have tagging/prefixing come next?


    Personally I still think dev 101 should be merged. I know a lot of devs often will say they dont want to see the basic questions all mixed up with the advanced ones, except that's when the magic happens.

    (I know that sounds cheesy but bare with me)

    When devs come to the forum, MOST of them will be somewhere between total beginner, and super experienced rockstar. Most will just be middle of the road devs with some knowledge, but not all-knowing.

    So when a dev comes to ASK a question, if they see a thread they can easily ANSWER, it gives them a good feeling and they are more likely to stay and help.

    To me, mixing ability levels has always been a boon to fostering learning and participation. I find this far more helpful than removing some clutter.

    (incidentally, it's my hope via tagging and prefixing the clutter can be managed by each user as they see fit)

    But I'm curious to hear others thoughts as well.
  15. Phases

    Phases Community Manager Administrator

    (I've been watching this thread btw, just monitoring the conversation to see where it goes)
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  16. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    ALP, I'm with you, if you read my thread in GC that is where I started. I'd start with a merge of the two forums. I'd like to see prefixes myself, but I would be OK with a merge to start and maybe do prefixes as a followup. Probably like the gnex forum, encourage devs to post jonbonazza's prefix recommendations as parenthetical notations. I really wish more of the folks posting in there would add some thoughts here.

    I've put sticky threads in both forums inviting feedback but other than devs I & jon know, I can't get any feedback. I even threw a plea out in a lounge thread with a bunch of devs that just got banned from AC and moved here.

    My real concern at this point is that both Stigy and SVT_Geek mentioned not helping because of the disorder. Besides you and jon, they are the other two app devs I know here. How many others are there on AF? I know we don't want to be a dev forum, but maybe our atmosphere here at AF is attractive. We have devs here, both rom and app.
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  17. iowabowtech

    iowabowtech root@android:/ #

    I agree it's in need of some tweaking and I brought this feeling up in GC several weeks ago but never posted it here so I'm glad you guys opted to do so. I feel like others in this thread have a better idea of a future direction so I am deferring to their opinions but I would be happy to help in any reorganization efforts that may arise as a result.

    One thing I would opine, however, is my desire for an integration of the Applications and Development sections. I really feel like these are so common to one another, they deserve to be in a similar location. This would also help a great deal when moving misplaced app announcements. The dev section is toward the bottom of the forum list and the apps are at the top. When moving threads from the phone, the scrolling takes awhile and moreover, it seems disjointed to me.

    Thanks for taking it into consideration.
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  18. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    While I feel your pain regarding App annoucement moves IBT, thats a bit outside of the scope of this conversation. I'm taking baby steps here. I'm just trying to get App Dev and Dev 101 straightened out.

    Even though I totally agree with your post.:adore:
  19. wubbzy

    wubbzy Well-Known Member

    I think we have enough information to formulate a plan, any one taking a stab. @unforgiven absolutely agree with "baby steps", small, simple and incremental stuff has benefit.

    @ALP Psychological = mind, Physiological = body -- now I can laugh at me and so can you guys haha
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  20. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    Here's the unfortunate crux of the issues as I see it. (I think) Most of us would like to see Development moved up near the Android discussion area. But this would push down the phone forums, and being a user centric site, that might be a big no-no.

    The only way I see it working would be to do some major re-working and pruning of some of the other forums. This is of course a Phases decision and he would know best about whether these changes make sense. I'm just putting out ideas for consideration.


    But here's a first stab at how this might work:

    I know this is a lot of changes and/or a TON of work. But I figured it was better to offer up as complete an idea as I could without taking too much of the work side into consideration. i.e. this is mostly just a brainstorm : )


    ----------------------------------
    Android Discussions
    ----------------------------------

    Android Lounge (285 Viewing)
    A place for general Android discussion and questions.


    Applications (discussion) (660 Viewing)
    All the information you could ever want about Android Applications. Learn about apps and get help with them... all here!
    [​IMG] Audio, Video, & Ringtones, [​IMG] App Reviews, [​IMG]Announcements


    Android Games (319 Viewing)
    Whether free or paid, put Games on your Android Phone and play them! Talk about, share and discuss games for Android here.
    [​IMG] Game Reviews, [​IMG] Post Your Codes, [​IMG] Announcements


    Application Development (121 Viewing)
    Dev Lounge for the Coder Folks
    [​IMG] Announcements, [​IMG] Beta Tests, [​IMG] (MIT) App Inventor, [​IMG] Enterprise, [​IMG] Job Listings


    Android Themes (66 Viewing)
    Customize the look/feel of your Android with wallpaper, icons, graphics and more!


    Custom ROMs (3 Viewing)
    [​IMG] Bionx [​IMG] bearsfan85 [​IMG] death2all110 [​IMG] Diablo67's Roms & Customs [​IMG] Enigma [​IMG] GalnetMIUI [​IMG] Getitnowmarketing [​IMG] Indiedevers [​IMG] liquid0624 [​IMG] NoLiMiT06's Devland [​IMG] PlayfulGod [​IMG] scrosler [​IMG] smurfland [​IMG] StormDroid [​IMG] Team boLTEd [​IMG] Team Nocturnal [​IMG] Techno [​IMG] Velocity [​IMG] Virtuous [ ] Ziggy & Mobstergunz




    ____________________


    Here's what I did:

    1) Re-parented Android Enterprise to app dev (not 100% sure on this one).

    2) Removed Accessories completely as these tend to be device specific and mostly talked about in device forums. However, this could maybe go under the Android Lounge with Enterprise.

    3) Removed the word "sub-forums" as it's already implied. The word "sections" or even a little arrow would work here too IMHO. Less is more (also see #5)

    4) Removed "ROMS" from any custom ROM group name (would need permission from them of course, but I think if we ask nicely that would be OK).

    5) Removed "link" from the name of any subforums, but was hoping they would still link in the same manner. (Not sure if this is possible). Essentially removed all vBulletin "link" indicators. I think this is unimportant info for a user and provides clutter. The concept and utility of a link is great though. It is just that I dont think users need to have an indication of the magic under the hood. (<- love mixed metaphors).

    6) Merged app dev 101 into regular app dev forum.

    7) Removed one folder image just for this "mockup" because of the 31 image per post limit.

    8) Shortened a few of the forum descriptions. (Mostly removing a sentence from the end referring to announcements, etc)

    9) Changed "Beta Testing" to "Beta Tests" (more in line with the language style eg "announcements" )

    10) Re-parented & renamed Android Media under Android applications -- because the main App forum gets many, many media questions, I was hoping this would give it better visibility and utility.

    11) Made separate Game Announcements and App announcement forums

    12) Re-parented Job listings to App dev (could be a link)



    ============

    Custom ROMs is one of the bigger problems due to the way the sub-forums are organized in a nice neat table. They look nice as is, but they take a lot of vertical space.

    Also, ROM devs probably dont want to see their names all balled up in a pile like I have it (which is perfectly understandable). So I'm not sure about that either.
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  21. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    I love the idea about having separate announcement areas for games and apps within those forums. I think I like all of your ideas ALP, but I have to sleep on them. I think this thread is starting to go into Rob approval areas though. I am going to make another app dev suggestion in the morning trying to summarize everyones thoughts and my interpretation of what works best relative to my initial post here. I just need to reread all of the posts here (for about the 20th time) to make sure I am saying what the folks here want, no me alone.
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  22. jonbonazza

    jonbonazza Well-Known Member

    Whatever route we decide to take, I believe that it is extremely important to do a full scrub of the app dev forums and make syre everything, old and new, is in its proper place. dev threads are used for reference long after their original posting date, so we want everything in the right place to make searching for posts relating to a question easier, and ultimately decreasing the number of duplicate topics.
    alostpacket likes this.
  23. wubbzy

    wubbzy Well-Known Member

    Agreed.

    Another thing we should do is that @jon did, just put one idea, and agree or disagree or post alternative to it? That way we can certainly make time-bound progress.
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  24. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ~Shoveling Snow~ Moderator

    I've mulled alostpacket's post over and think I'm ready to offer my thoughts.

    1. I'm not sure it was an oversight on his part, but I think the Announcements forum could be removed from Application Development if we have separate one's in Android Apps and Android Games (which I really like). Just link to those forums from Application Development, the reverse of what we currently do with the link to Applications Announcement forums now. This would seem to be a natural progression anyway. Coding Questions --> Beta test --> Announce your Game/Application and to me would make more sense
    2. I would move Audio, Video, & Ringtones to the Android Themes forum. This would seem to be a more natural fit to me anyway.
    3. I would add a Live Wallpaper forum under Android Themes as well. These are primarily concentrated in both Android Themes and Applications Announcements but can really be found sprinkled throughout the site. I think it would be nice to give them their own home.
    4. I like having Enterprise in Application Development instead of the Android Lounge. While it isn't a natural fit in Application Development, most of the threads in there are more technical (large scale deployment & support) and exposing them to folks in this area may get them some better answers. Could we leave a link to it in the Android Lounge?
    5. WRT Rom Developers, how many are still active? Should / could some of them be archived?
    I realize that these changes would mean large quantities of thread moves (especially 1&3), but if the layout is logical we shouldn't confuse the users too much. Perhaps longer redirects (5 days?) plus a general site announcement would get folks used to it pretty quickly.

    And I really didn't touch on my thoughts on my OP, but as implied by ALP's post and my post here, merge the two and see how it goes. Let the activity of the merged forum drive future discussions about prefixes or the need for any specific subforums (e.g. SDK).
    alostpacket likes this.
  25. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    1) Yep, Announcements was intentionally put in more than one place for redundancy.

    The one under app dev would be the same "App Announcements" (but that leaves out game announcements).

    But yeah I intended it as a "link" So I think we agree here :D I just tried to hide vBulletin's [LINK] stuff

    2) Have to disagree here, most of the content of that forum is about audio and video apps. Ringtones are the only things that are theme related.

    3) No objections - though I would drop the "live" and make it just "Wallpapers" or make it "Wallpapers and Live Wallpapers"

    4) I think a bunch of stickys with links would be helpful, but I'd suggest not using the "forum link" as it creates a lot of clutter. (just my opinion)

    5) I am not sure. Maybe a separate conversation. But I like the idea.
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