Adding Android Widgets Without User Interaction

As part of an ongoing project, I’m building a simplified replacement for Trebuchet (Android’s default launcher). One aspect that I need to simplify is showing Widgets on the launcher without requiring the user to add them by hand. Normally, Android restricts this by requiring apps to use the AppWidgetManager.EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID  intent to launch a system picker. The only way around this is for system apps to request android.permission.BIND_APPWIDGET in their manifest, so this method is only available on rooted devices where the app is installed at the system level (in /system/app  or /system/priv-app). Continue reading Adding Android Widgets Without User Interaction

Fancy Android Version Numbers from Git

I recently started working on several Android projects, including a custom automatic updater (the target devices won’t have internet access, let alone the Play Store). While the system is working wonderfully, it relies on detecting changes in the app’s version number. Which I keep forgetting to change. As with most of my projects I’m using Git for version control. So let’s do something fancy, and generate the android version number from git’s commit and tag information. Continue reading Fancy Android Version Numbers from Git

YRS Festival of Code

Young Rewired State Festival Of Code 2015 LogoThe pride and joy of Ruth Nicholls, the YRS Festival Of Code, starts up again next week. With coding opportunities for under 18s at 66 different locations across the country and beyond, there’s no reason anyone technically inclined can’t take part. Personally, I’m mentoring in a centre at Redgate Software, in Cambridge, helping 20 young coders, designers & developers find their calling, and home their skills.

The centres include an online ‘virtual’ centre, and ones in Times Square, New York, Bern, Switzerland, and Prishtina, Kosovo (that last one is in the south of Serbia, I had to look it up). There’s also loads of other centres across the country, so there’s always that’s convenient to attend.

The week is spent building apps, websites, games, and even hardware-based hacks, inventions, and other crazy contraptions, all involving open data. At the end of the week, all 1,200 contestants meet up in Birmingham, where they present their projects to expert judges, mentors, the press, and other participants. The best entries from each group will go through to the finals, where prizes are awarded for the a range of different categories. This year’s prizes haven’t been announced yet, but rumours say they include Amazon and Pimoroni gift vouchers, an awesome-looking 3D printer, a quadcopter drone, and even a McLaren F1 experience! This year’s categories include:

  • Best Example of Code
  • Best Example of Design
  • The ‘Should Exist’ Award
  • Code a Better Country
  • Best in Show
  • The People’s Choice

Unfortunately sign-ups for centres closed back in July, but if you’re a participant, a mentor, or a volunteer, you’ve still got time!