Thursday, May 22, 2014

Plans for the future

Hi guys! Thanks for visiting my blog again. Today, I'd like to reveal some of my plans for the next couple of months. I know I haven't been very active recently, but hopefully it's going to change next week. I've been studying for a very important job interview, which is going to be on Monday. Please, keep your fingers crossed. No matter the result though, I'll definitely be going back to Android work and here's a list of stuff that I'm going to focus on.


I really want to try this crash reporting system. I'm using Crittercism right now, but I only have a limited free version, which doesn't let me do more sophisticated stuff like sending information about caught exceptions. The reports don't look too pretty as well. I was hoping that Crashlytics might be the way to go, especially that it's used by such companies like PayPal, Walmart, Dominos or Groupon. Oh, and I forgot the best thing - it's totally free (even the enterprise features).

Mastermind Group

Recently, I came to the conclusion that I need a group of people who would help me make my apps better and share their experiences with me. I don't mean just giving me good ratings on Google Play. I mean giving me information on what I could do better, which app kinds are working and which are not, what ad networks bring the most revenue, etc. Of course I would help them as well, sharing as much of my knowledge as I can. I'm in the process of contacting some of the people I know, who are on the similar stage as I am. I think 5-8 members would be optimal. If you'd like to join and meet with us once a week or two (on Skype or Google Hangout), you can write me an email at bartas [dot] wesolowski [at] gmail [dot] com.

Map apps

I really like the tool that I created, which transforms SVG images into Android Drawables. I'm thinking about creating new apps similar to Milan Metro - just with different maps. People in other cities would probably be happy as well to see a high quality version of their metro map for Android. There are also trams, buses, university campuses, parks, and other places just waiting to be transformed into vector images and published as an app. I already have the necessary code base. Why not replace the map itself, the icon and the screenshots and put it on Google Play?

Blogger Stats

Some time ago I experimented with Google APIs and tried to write an app which would fetch my blog statistics without the need of logging in (it would use the Google account stored on the device). After the initial struggle I managed to get it working. The only bad thing is that the Blogger API doesn't let you see very detailed statistics - it just shows weekly, monthly, and all time views. It might change in the future though. Anyway, I just need to remove my hardcoded blog name, add Google account selection, and make the app pretty to be ready to release it. I use it from time to time, why not let other people do the same.

Video ads and alternative ad networks

Since I already have quite a lot of users of my apps (around 15,000), I should probably start thinking about monetizing them better. The CPM of around $0.5 which I'm seeing now is not the highest I could dream of. Other people have been advising me to start using ad networks other than AdMob. I also receive email offers from less known networks from time to time. I definitely want to try video ads and experiment with ad types and their placement. I hope it can increase my income and perhaps allow me to go full time at some point (although I'm quite far away from it right now).

Google Analytics for Android

I hate the fact that I don't know anything about my apps' usage. How many people play my games daily? How many of them make it through the whole game? Are the difficulty levels ok? What are the most common settings? I've been looking for a solution and I think I finally found one - Google Analytics. It's supposed to let you get all the answers you want. Having the data available, it should be much easier to make adjustments to your apps/games, place the ads, detect bugs and create new features. I'll definitely give it a shot.

Blobby Volley multiplayer

Being able to play with other human beings is what's missing in my game. Although my AI is quite strong and I'm quite proud of it, it can't compare with the possibility of kicking your friend's ass. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it yet. I don't have much experience in implementing multiplayer games, but I have to find a way to do it. For now, I'm considering AndEngine Multiplayer Extension and Google Play Services. I can't wait to see it in action!

Updating old apps

It's been a while since I created my first apps and they got quite old in the meantime. Not only at the time of writing them did I have the knowledge I have now, but some of the more sophisticated libraries simply didn't exist. There was no way of easily downloading, caching and showing online images. There were no pretty gallery views. No one even heard about Android 4.0. That's why I think my Raczkowski na dziś and Galeria Andrzeja Mleczki need a general rewrite. I'm not giving this task the highest priority, but I'd like to make those apps more user friendly and less buggy. They are part of my portfolio and I feel bad every time someone gives them a bad rating.

That's more or less what I have planned for the summer, unless something unexpected happens. If you want to see the results of my work, visit me again and check out the progress. I can't wait to see what the future will bring. Wish me luck.

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