Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Now is the time to switch to the new Google Play Developer Console

Posted by Ellie Powers, Google Play team

The new Google Play Developer Console is out of preview and is the default experience. In addition to offering all of the functionality of the old version, the new version features a streamlined publishing flow, store listings in more languages with language-specific graphics, and new user ratings statistics, so you’ll have better tools for delivering great Android apps that delight users. If you haven't already made the switch, now is the time, as we'll be retiring the former version on April 15 to focus our efforts on this new experience.

The new Developer Console brings you new functionality built on top of a quick-to-navigate user experience. You can add language-specific graphics to your store listing to help your users around the world understand what your app is about. New graphs let you track your ratings over time with breakdowns by device, country, app version, and more. The statistics page now shows you when you released each version of your app, so you see how each new version changes your installations and ratings, and you can view crashes specific to an application version. These new features are only the beginning of what’s to come for developers on Google Play in the future.

If you're still using the old Developer Console, now is the time to switch over fully to the new version by clicking “Try the new version” in the header. Let us know what you think by clicking the “Feedback” link in the header in the new Developer Console, and if you experience any serious issues, please contact support. We’re planning some more improvements in the next month and in the future. Your input will continue to be key to what we do.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Native RTL support in Android 4.2

Posted by Fabrice Di Meglio, Android Frameworks Team

Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) introduced limited support for bidirectional text in TextView and EditText elements, allowing apps to display and edit text in both left-to-right (LTR) and right-to-left (RTL) scripts. Android 4.2 added full native support for RTL layouts, including layout mirroring, allowing you to deliver the same great app experience to all of your users, whether their language uses a script that reads right-to-left or one that reads left-to-right.

If you do nothing, your app will not change — it will continue to appear as it currently does. However, with a few simple changes, your app will be automatically mirrored when the user switches the system language to a right-to-left script (such as Arabic, Hebrew, or Persian). For example, see the following screenshots of the Settings app:

To take advantage of RTL layout mirroring, simply make the following changes to your app:

  1. Declare in your app manifest that your app supports RTL mirroring.

    Specifically, add android:supportsRtl="true" to the <application> element in your manifest file.

  2. Change all of your app's "left/right" layout properties to new "start/end" equivalents.

    • If you are targeting your app to Android 4.2 (the app's targetSdkVersion or minSdkVersion is 17 or higher), then you should use “start” and “end” instead of “left” and “right”. For example, android:paddingLeft should become android:paddingStart.

    • If you want your app to work with versions earlier than Android 4.2 (the app's targetSdkVersion or minSdkVersion is 16 or less), then you should add “start” and end” in addition to “left” and “right”. For example, you’d use both android:paddingLeft and android:paddingStart.

For more precise control over your app UI in both LTR and RTL mode, Android 4.2 includes the following new APIs to help manage View components:

You can even create custom versions of layout, drawables, and other resources for display when a right-to-left script is in use. Simply use the resource qualifier "ldrtl" to tag your resources, meaning “layout direction right-to-left”. To debug and optimize custom right-to-left layouts, HierarchyViewer now lets you see start/end properties, layout direction, text direction, and text alignment for all the Views in the hierarchy.

It's now easy to create beautiful Android apps for all your users, whether they use a right-to-left or left-to-right language. We look forward to seeing some great apps!