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Category Archives: Kindle

HAC is now freeware

HyperNext Android Creator is now freeware and you can download the full version from our forums.

The current version is v1.16 and next to its forum download links are the serial number and registration details. The next update will remove the requirement for these.

HAC v1.16 was tested from Android 1.6 to 4.1 and should still work on the latest 5.x.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_version_history
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If you are new to developing apps for Android then these links might help you:-

How to: making android apps

Earning a living from android

Coding and no-coding app makers

HAC for presentation-type apps

HAC v1.11 runs on even more devices

HAC v1.12 with easy installer

How to: create and use an emulator avd

Android more reliable than Apple ios

HAC and the Kindle Fire

HAC v1.13 with Kindle Fire

How to: develop for the Kindle Fire

 
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Posted by on 01/10/2015 in HAC, Kindle, News, Updates

 

6 How To: Develop for the Kindle Fire

What is the Kindle Fire
Amazon’s Kindle Fire is a tablet computer version of their Kindle eBook reader. It runs a modified version of Google’s Android operating system so allowing users to run and source apps originally intended for Android devices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindle_Fire

http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Fire-Amazon-Tablet/dp/B0051VVOB2

http://gigaom.com/mobile/kindle-fire-helps-amazon-appstore-hits-31000-apps-in-first-year/

This article takes a brief look at using HAC(HyperNext Android Creator) to develop apps for the Kindle Fire. Before that though we mention the two traditional approaches to developing for the Kindle Fire. However, if you don’t know or don’t want to use Java then just skip this next section and go to:- HAC and Kindle development.

Kindle and Android SDKs
Amazon provides a free Kindle SDK(Software Development Kit) so developers with a good knowledge of Java and the Android APIs can create their own apps. The Kindle Fire runs a modified version of Android Gingerbread and therefore has some differences from the official Google Android Gingerbread.

It is possible to use Google’s Android SDK to develop apps for the Kindle Fire but there is some Kindle functionality that the Android SDK cannot provide.  In contrast the Kindle SDK gives the developer full access to all the Kindle Fire’s functionality such as showing and hiding the Options Bar whereas the Android SDK cannot access these Kindle specific features.

The advantage of using only the Android SDK approach is that your app can potentially run on both standard Android devices such as Xoom etc as well as the Kindle Fire and you do not have to try to keep projects synchronised with the Kindle SDK. The disadvantage is that it can be awkward to get your app to look right on the screen because the Options Bar can hide the lower part of it:-
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9340606/

HAC and Kindle Development
Developing for the Kindle Fire with HAC(HyperNext Android Creator) is much the same as using HAC to develop for a standard Android device with just a couple of things to look out for. Note, that HAC apps know when they are running on a Kindle Fire and automatically take care of optimising the screen coverage so users don’t have content hidden by the Options Bar. HAC developers can also add a device check inside their app to see which type of Android device it is running on and so take appropriate actions.

1) Screen Sizes
The Kindle Fire screen size is 1024 x 600 pixels with 20 pixels taken by the top Status bar and 40 pixels taken by bottom Options bar. HAC built apps automatically detect screen dimensions and handle the screen drawing so the app creator just has to choose the appropriate screen settings as described below.

HAC offers 3 options for allowable screen orientation;- either portrait or landscape, portrait only, landscape only.

During the development of your app HAC offers 3 screen scaling options: none, fit or stretch. The option none is only really useful when targeting a specific device where both orientation and screen size are known in advance. The fit option keeps the ratio of the apps height to width ratio constant irrespective of which physical device it is running on or whether the screen orientation is changed. This ratio is determined from the size given to the home card. The stretch option simply stretches the app’s screen area to fully cover the usable screen area but can result in large distortion if both portrait and landscape orientations are allowed.

To setup the screen orientation and scaling, open HAC’s Your Application window via the Android menu and it should look similar to Fig 1 below:-

Setting orientations and screen scaling

Fig 1 –  HAC’s Your Application window showing app screen setup

2) Carousel Icons
Most Android smart phones and tablets have used a 2D array of icons to represent their installed apps but the Kindle Fire also has a  stylish carousel to display them in. The carousel displays the most recent apps, books etc and represents an app by displaying its attached icon . If it can’t find the correct icon it will use an app’s launcher icon although this can result in apps with low resolution  icons looking very shabby and dated.

Fig 2 below shows the carousel on a Kindle Fire although unfortunately the camera could not accurately capture the true color of the app icons.  Three of the apps are made by HAC with one having a 200 x 200 icon and the others using older 48 x 48 icons.

From left to right the apps on the carousel are:-

1 – Kindle Test with 200 x 200 icon

2 – Lunar Lander with 48 x 48 icon

3, 4, 5 – standard high res Kindle icons

6 – PreSchool Sums with 48 x 48 icon

Note that as they are PNGs their transparency works

Fig 2 – Kindle Fire carousel

HAC supports icons up to 800 x 800 pixels so allowing an app to look stylish in the Kindle Fire’s carousel. If the icon is in PNG format then transparency is supported. Note that these icons will still work on older Android devices such as the G1 smartphone because the Android system does its own scaling.

To add an icon to your app, open HAC’s Your Application window using the Android menu and assign the icon to the area highlighted by red as shown in Fig 3  below. Either drop your icon onto the icon area or else navigate to it using the Launcher button:-

Setting icon for your app

Fig 3 – HAC’s Your Application window showing launcher icon area


Summary
When designing for the Kindle Fire, just treat it as another Android Device but remember to create a higher resolution icon for it otherwise your app can look shabby and dated sitting on the carousel. Also think about which screen orientation(s) your app needs. Note, although this article has covered the Kindle Fire, the above points about screen sizes, orientations and launcher icons are still relevant to creating apps for other Android devices.

Members of HAC forums can download the latest trial version of HAC, see details here:- http://www.hypernextandroid.com/hnfiles/downloads.html

 
 

HAC v1.13 with Kindle Fire update

HAC v1.13 released for Windows (17th Mar 2012 )

This update brings many improvements to HAC and HAC created apps running on both standard Android devices and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

The Persistant Storage option now works. This allows an app upon quitting to automatically save all its variables/fields so that on restarting they can be automatically reloaded thus saving the programmer a lot of work.

There are some major improvements including fixing screen orientation, better detection of status bar height plus several bug fixes.

Extra functionality include 4 new functions for fast array searching and 30 commands/functions for operating on Binary files.

Improvements directed at the Kindle fire include better use of its screen area and the ability to use up to 800×800 icons for the carousel. Also apps are now fully refreshed after being sent to the background such as might happen when the user activated another app or pressed the Home or Back buttons on the Options Bar.

For further details see the release notes accompanying HAC and the posts listed in our forums

http://www.tigabyte.com/forum/index.php

Thank you to our forum users and others for submitting such valuable feedback.

 
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Posted by on 19/03/2012 in Kindle, Updates

 

HAC and Developing on the Kindle Fire

Yesterday we took our initial look at Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet and were surprised at its quality of build, display and touch response especially as compared to our budget Android tablets. The Kindle Fire runs a modified version of Android Gingerbread and therefore has some differences from the official Google Android Gingerbread. For instance it doesn’t have the buttons Home, Back and Menu that most Android devices have but instead uses a special menu bar at the bottom of its screen.

Running HAC built Apps
Once we had the Kindle booted up and wifi working we used the Kindle Fire’s web browser to load some of the example apps built by HAC from our website’s projects web page. Kindle Fire’s built in web browser is easy to use and we tried several of the demos including Solar System and they all worked. The Android Info demo accurately identified the device hardware as Kindle Fire so anyone building apps with HAC can be sure their app can successfully detect if it is indeed running on a Kindle Fire.

Some Android developers using the official Android SDK have reported a menu bar problem with the Kindle Fire and we were keen to check this out. At the present time the Kindle Fire’s bottom menu bar cannot be programmatically removed by apps built with the official Android SDK and so the bottom 40 pixels of such apps are always hidden. Amazon do make their Kindle SDK available to developers aiming to create apps specifically for the Kindle Fire and their SDK has the necessary functionality to hide, show and detect the bottom menu bar so allowing apps to use the full screen. However, as HAC won’t be using the Kindle SDK we have a fix in mind to limit the affects of the menu bar problem.

We wanted to connect HAC to the Kindle Fire so as to build and debug apps but amazingly the KIndle Fire doesn’t come with the necessary USB micro B connection cable so we had to order one.

Using HAC to launch and debug apps on Kindle Fire
Today our USB connection cable came but before we could connect up the Kindle Fire to our Windows XP development machine we had to modify a couple of files associated with the Android ADB and USB driver. Soon we will have more details on this but for now here is a link on how to do this :-

http://mobile.tutsplus.com/tutorials/android/getting-started-with-kindle-fire-development/

By the way, there is a free editor called Notepad++ that is great for editing such files:-

http://notepad-plus-plus.org/

Once we had the USB drivers set up we plugged in the Kindle Fire and started up HAC. From HAC’s “Manage Devices” menu we could see the attached Kindle Fire and therefore ran the DDMS debugger before testing a few projects. Please note that the current version of HAC (v1.12) was used and had not been modified in any way in order to work with the Kindle Fire so we weren’t sure what to expect.

We tried several demo projects such as Hello World, Android Info, Preschool Sums and Lunar Lander. They all worked but we noticed a few problems such as the Kindle menu bar remaining at the bottom of the screen, sometimes images not updating after pressing the Home button and then returning to the app. At least there we no crashes, the button response and graphics events worked as well. The Lundar Lander game ran smoothly and below is a screenshot that shows the Kindle menu bar at the bottom of the screen.

Lunar Lander on Kindle Fire

Summary
The Kindle Fire is a very good tablet even though it is running a modified Android OS. Apps built by the current version of HAC do run on it although the bottom menu bar is an irritation as it take valuable space that an app could use.
Our next move is to modify the forthcoming v1.13 release of HAC to work even better with the Kindle Fire.

 
 

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