Hello, ["The] World [is But a Broken Toy"]!
April 26, 2010 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I am interested in creating a simple Android app for my own private use, but never having created such a thing before, I'm rather overwhelmed by the dev info. Can you guide me? Or is there a simpler way of doing this that doesn't involve creating an app?

So, I am an unabashed fan of the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. E-books of their libretti exist, but they're just one big hunk o' text, and I'd like them divided up by show and generally gussied up so that they have a pleasing look and are legible on my phone's small screen. I'd also like to sync up mp3s of recordings of the shows so that I can tap a song in the text and have it play (if I can find public domain recordings—the text itself is PD—I might put this up on the Android Market or otherwise make it available for others).

I know how to do all this in HTML, but if I just create a website, I won't be able to access it when I'm on the subway or otherwise out of signal, so I'd like it to be something that lives locally on my phone.

So, my questions:
1) Is making an app overkill for this? If so, what simpler method should I use?
2) If making an app is the best way, do you know of any clear, step-by-step tutorials on the basics of Android apps for beginners? All the ones I've found just throw me back to the main Android dev page, which is over my head (I need an extra layer of explanation than what that page can provide).
posted by ocherdraco to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
From what I've heard from people in know about Android Dev work, Professional Android Application Development is the best Android book on the market.
posted by mmascolino at 8:25 AM on April 26, 2010

an app could do this up right, but if all you really want is lyrics to show up while you play your mp3s... get the tunewiki android app, and add the lyrics to the tunewiki.com website and play the mp3's through tunewiki app. first time through it will ask your to sync the lyrics to the music, and then play correctly for everyone else who has the same mp3.
posted by jrishel at 8:31 AM on April 26, 2010

additionally, d.android.com has a video tab at the top with a more general guide to app development that might help you get over the hump before getting more details from the Dev Guide.
posted by jrishel at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2010

jrishel, they're plays, so there's more to them than just the songs—I don't think tunewiki will do what I need.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:39 AM on April 26, 2010

I'll check out the video tab and the book.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:39 AM on April 26, 2010

So I'm not an expert on Android.

But have you looked at its HTML5 support? This article seems to indicate they've implemented many of HTML5's offline client database support which may provide what you need in web form as opposed to something native.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:57 AM on April 26, 2010

Is it Android development specifically that you're inexperienced in, or software programming in general?

If the former, I found that the Hello World tutorials were great for getting started quickly.
posted by randomstriker at 9:36 AM on April 26, 2010

I haven't played with this on my Droid, but is there any reason you couldn't do a website, but have it as a local file rather than online? I know some of the Browsers in the Market will open files, and I'd bet the stock browser will as well.
posted by JMOZ at 9:55 AM on April 26, 2010

randomstriker, that's just what I needed. Many thanks.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:22 AM on April 26, 2010

PhoneGap allows you to create native iPhone/android/sybian/palm/blackberry apps using HTML, JavaScript and CSS.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:33 AM on April 26, 2010

That is very cool. (Also it has a link to something called "iPhone cleavage," and I confess, my friends, that my sense of humor is very often somewhere around twelve years old.)
posted by ocherdraco at 12:01 PM on April 26, 2010

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