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My road towards a NEW Android app'...


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Old Unix and Linux 09-09-2013
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My road towards a NEW Android app'...

This thread is about an attempt by me to _build_ an application for the Android platform.
This first upload will be more of a blog rather than anything else so here goes.
(Apologies for any typos.)

Firstly I ought to introduce myself and what I do.
My name is Barry Walker and I live in the UK. As of this upload's timestamp, I am 63 in
around 5 weeks time and a licenced Radio Amateur, G0LCU, originally G1WHM.
I am a professional electronics engineer specialising in RF, [Radio Frequenc(y)(ies)].
My pet love is creating test gear at a budget and my first high quality home built
project was a battery driven, DC - 1MHz solid state Oscilloscope for my degree at
Leicester University in 1972. I still have it and if you are interested in seeing it
then I will post a pointer.

I am a complete coding novice, (amateur), in a number of languages and brain dead
in an order of magnitude more... Earlier this year I joined this band of outlaws,
jokingly, and swankingly said I was going to create an _app_ in shell scripting.
I have a sneaking suspicion that some on here were actually thinking - "Oh yeah,
we've heard it all before.".
But I really did want to learn shell scripting so I went ahead. It is here and it did
have a vote of 5 stars but they seem to have gone. Why? I have no idea... ;o(
I have built the next stage(s) now but have not had time to modify the code nor test
whether my kids level simple stuff works...


I have done a serious quantity of simple kids level testgear stuff, in various languages
and platforms and love _banging_the_metal_. I still code for the classic Amiga A1200(HD)
in mainly Python 1.4.0 to 2.0.1 and obviously other platforms to current versions but
nothing gets close to shell scripting now. I really enjoy finding ways round difficult
NON STANDARD problems...

That's enough of me, now to Android.
I really must take note of what I always tell other people - "Never make assumptions!"
ASSUME can make an ASS out of U and ME...
Take some advice...

1) Google is your friend here...
2) Do some research first and find out as much about Android as you can.
3) Research problems from other forums that other people have had just in case you get them.
4) Learn what abbreviations and other technical terms mean, for example - AVD; more later... ;o/
5) One assumption you CAN make is that the documentation WILL probably be wrong!
6) Can't think of anything else at the moment...

OK, a few days ago Mr $marta$$ - ME - decided I was going to create an app' for Android.
At this point I had no idea whether this was/is a good idea or a waste of time but........

I decided to get Android Studio! Erm, well this was my first error. A studio suggests that
it is completely kitted out with the required kit to get you at least started.
How many photographic studios do not have the important part - the CAMERA!
At this point I have to admit I didn't read ALL of the documentation on the Android site
but hey Android Studio means Android Studio so I ASSUMED that it would have the necessary
kit to get me started with at least "Hello World!"...
I was bitten badly by my own quote!
Installing AS, (Android Studio), and SDK, (Software Dev' Kit), was breathtakingly simple
even for an amateur halfwit like me.
Yeah that's right, the documentation actually worked!
(At this point, note, that I have used an abbreviation such as "AS" but immediately told you what it means.)
How many coders know what a "PPI scan" is and or what creates it? I know because it is/was my
job at one time. You might be able to find it on Google but here's a clue search "A Scope" in inverted
The documentation ALWAYS assumes you know what it is about, the _composers_ never take the knowledgeless
into account.

Well old eager beaver here started it up and was confronted with the image as shown in Neo's upload.
There is NO beginner button to step by step take you through your first hit at AS. Remember code
writing by hand is not the same as an IDE and at least a step by step "Hello World." would get
you past the first hurdle without a hitch. Oh yeah, hitch - read on!

So I clicked on "New Project" and WooHoo I was on my way.
Errr, not so fast buddy...... I got to the compile section and BANG! Stopped with an error
telling me I needed a particular part of the SDK...... Erm, but this is a STUDIO so why was
this sub-section of SDK, "Android Support Repository", not part of it?

I had no idea what I was looking for so Google was very friendly to me as I was not alone!
Once I found out what was needed installation again was simple even for me so I set about
recompiling "Hello World!" exactly the same way as before...
Erm, NO! It failed saying something along the lines that it cannot re-create the same directory
and it stopped again.[1]
Oh dear, now what do I do?

After much searching, using muCommander as my file manager - not Finder <- UGH, I found the
drawer and so I took the risk of deleting it and its contents to try again...
Cool, it started and I reached the compile section to compile it, until it reached choose
your device. OK, EXCEPT, it didn't have any I could choose from - not even a default.
So I had to close it down yet again.

I was now getting annoyed as the dependencies required were not installed or generated.
I found out I needed an AVD. What on earth was an AVD? Google was again my friend...
Android Virtual Device, but where is/was it? I had no idea, so I jumped in at the deep end
and created one of my own using 320x480 as my default display size.
At this point I am getting frustrated, very frustrated.

[1]Restart AS again and BANG! I forgot to delete the drawer, delete it and restart AS AGAIN!
WOW! It finally worked and a piccy of a phone appeared with "Hello_world!" showing in it.

Hold-On, HOLD-ON! But I didn't input ANY "Hello World!" let alone "Hello_world!"...
So where did it come from? At this point I had no idea but I now have finally found the file that
generates it... So from this real PITA first set of steps I learnt absolutely nothing except
how to click buttons on an alien IDE.

I now decided to create a new _project_, (yeah, I learnt that little snippet), called "Function
Generator" and what did I get, YEP, you guessed it - "Hello_world!"... SIGH!

Anyhow I now have an, at least, minimal working Android Dev Kit to start my project.

So I decided to research how common my project is and found about 10 versions from different
coders, similarly, 'phone Oscilloscopes and even DC Voltmeters <- COOL...

This put paid to my signal source so I searched for a Harmonic Distortion Meter and VOILA!
I couldn't find one so having built the HW already using a single BC149 and some passives
the notch is better than 35dB below at 1KHz, so cascading two could produce better than 60dB
below. So Android Studio, look out; _summat_new_is-a-comin', hopefully, SINAD, HDM......
Erm, sorry, I forgot; SINAD, (SIgnal to Noise And Distortion), HDM, (Harmonic Distortion Meter).

I have never touched Java, nor XML, but it seems that I need both so I have a dual language
learning curve to cover too, let alone the IDEs...
Google has certainly been my friend here, and I supect will in the future reference to Android...

Part 2 as soon as I possibly can, but the shell AudioScope will take priority...

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