Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hacktoberfest 2021 and open source

I took part in Hacktoberfest 2021. I created Customizable OkHttp Logging Interceptor - an OkHttp interceptor which logs HTTP request and response data and allows output customization. I decided to do it because the library authors rejected my feature request some time ago saying that people can write their own interceptors or use a more sophisticated library that already exists.

It was a valuable experience for me. I learned how to use JitPack to publish your library in a public repository. I also learned how to create a good readme page.

I suggest you try contributing to open source as well if you haven't already. It's a bit like having a new job. You work on a new project and with new people so you learn the fastest. Hacktoberfest is a great occasion to start your open source adventure. They help you with the technical stuff and give you prizes (T-shirts and stickers) for completing the challenge.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Learning Jetpack Compose

I'm learning Jetpack Compose. If you're a serious Android developer you probably should too. There's a great series of codelabs and other materials created by Google. You can find it here.

As an exercise, I'll rewrite my Blogger Stats app to use Compose. I've already started. It's good to have your own small project that you can try new things on. If you don't have one yet, why not start something from scratch?

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Sandmade and Hidden Paws

I was a bit tired of my regular work, so I took some time off and decided to port two of my friend's games from Steam to Android.

The first one is Sandmade - a puzzle game that challenges you spatial skills.

The second one is Hidden Paws - a game in which you have to find cats hidden on beautiful snowy islands.

The main challenges when porting the games were:
- switching to the Universal Render Pipeline (for performance reasons)
- other performance issues related to lightmapping, shaders and postprocessing
- adjusting the UI so it's big enough (and thus clickable) on mobile devices
- adjusting the controls to work with touch only (Hidden Paws required a virtual joystick)
- removing Steam-related code

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Blogger Stats remake

Remember my Blogger Stats app from 2014? It's very old and deserves an update. It stopped working on the latest Android versions as well. I'm in the process of rewriting it from scratch. It's going really slow, because I don't have much free time, but I already have a functional prototype using the newest Google APIs. I'll let you know when I'm finished.

Other than that, I'm planning a very long vacation and I'm hoping to start a new project in that time. I really miss working on my own ideas. I'll share more details with you later.

Sunday, September 27, 2020


I haven't done anything significant for the last couple of months due to work, children and COVID. Hopefully, I'll be back working on apps and games later this year. I have some new ideas and I can't wait to try them out. However, what I need right now is relax and sleep, so that's what I'm going to prioritize. Other things will have to wait.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

June Updates

Just a quick update on what's been happening during the last two months.

I took on a new side gig, which deprived me of virtually any free time. I've been polishing Coins: an app in which you can explore various cryptocurrencies and keep your wallets. I thought it was going to be an interesting experience that would teach me new skills, that I wouldn't be able to learn in my day job. I did learn a couple of things, but overall, I'm becoming more and more miserable because of the lack of free time. I'm going to cut down on the number of hours I spend working on Coins starting this week, which should give me some relief.

Other than Coins, I haven't done much. I finished a nice Flutter course on Udemy. I liked it very much, except the fact that some of the lessons were targeted at absolute beginners (e.g. explaining how for loops work or what OOP is).

I will start working on a simple Flutter app displaying a list of events for children. My wife has been running a newsletter putting those events there, but I think that an app could be much easier to use, since you'd be able to filter only those events that interest you instead of trying to pick them from a very long list. I want to use Flutter, because I can easily make an iOS version as well, and perhaps a Web version too.

Wish me luck with my future endeavors.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Quarantine updates

I've been sitting at home with my kids for a several weeks now and it's been a difficult time for me, but a couple of interesting things happened that I want to share with you.

First of all, Blobby Volley got featured in an article on GamesKeys as an underrated arcade game to play. I never contacted them, so it was a nice surprise to find out that people liked my game. I recommended Find a Way to them as well and they might write about it in the future.

I bought Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo when they were 50% off. They should help me make better icons and graphic resources for my apps.

People have been writing to me regarding my apps. I made a couple of bug fixes in Unity Ads Stats because the numbers were incorrect in some rare cases, as one of my users pointed out and helped me track the issue. Also, a couple of months ago I made a small app for my brother-in-law, who is a forester. It was supposed to help him count trees and estimate their volume. I made a simple prototype and published it on Google Play as a beta, so that it was easier for him to install. As it turned out, someone else found the app, started using it and came back to me with feedback. I couldn't help myself and I implemented some of the suggestions. Perhaps it's a sign that I should polish it a bit and publish a final version?

When it comes to the promotion of Find a Way, I didn't do anything new. I'm still considering paying a small amount for ads on Google and Facebook, just to see how they work and how many users I can get with them. It's hard for me to start though, because I don't even know where to begin.

I also forgot to mention that I started working on a new app for my wife. She has a Facebook group and a newsletter with events for children and parents. I was thinking that the app might be useful, because browsing and filtering Facebook events or emails is very inconvenient. I already made a small prototype using Firebase Realtime Database. It looks promising but I'm not sure how to add events to the database in a user friendly way, so that non-technical people can do it.

To sum up, I had a rough start into the quarantine, but I've managed to organize myself well enough now to be able to put in some hours into my apps. I still get very excited about them, to the point where I can't sleep. I might be spreading myself thin though, with all those little changes and improvements that I do to all of them. And I'd like to improve controls in Blobby Volley too. We'll see what I'm actually capable of soon...