Finalizing your Android App

Uploading your app to the Android Market is not simply a matter of clicking a button and sending.

You'll have one chance to make a good first impression on Android users with your app description and graphics, so it's important that you fine-tune your app before delivering it to the world at large. Here are a few things to check before you finalize your app's release.

  • Test your app. Throughout the development process, test your app on a variety of Android devices, if possible. While emulators are great for testing, it's important to try your app out in a real-world environment. Android also has other testing tools available in Android's developer section.
  • Apps that use MapView Elements will have to register the app with Google Maps to be able to have the app pull map information from the service. You'll obtain a temporary map key during development that will need to be replaced with a permanent key once your app is ready to be uploaded.
  • Choose a version number. This is often 1.0 with the first release. Your later releases will have a version number that follows this one sequentially, so put some thought into your long-term plans for updates.
  • Create your Android Manifest file. This .xml file contains your icon and label and must be attached to your app in its root directory. The information contained in your Android Manifest is read by Android servers, passing information that helps it read your code. Your icon should match built-in Android apps for best results. More information on creating your Android Manifest file is available here.
  • Register as an Android app developer. This is required if you plan to sell apps in the Android Market. You can both register as an app developer and a Google Checkout Merchant here. This will require providing information about your business. There is a sign-up fee of $25.
  • License your app. Before deploying your app, be sure to license it to protect it. Android provides this capability in its developers section or you can add a EULA to your app yourself.
  • Before finalizing your app, you'll need to remove all extraneous files, including your backup and log files. Prior to uploading your app for purchase in the Android Market, you'll also need to deactivate debugging.

Once you've done one final run-through of your app, testing every possible scenario, it's time to sign your app and make it available to the world. It is important to work out every bug prior to submitting your app.

Failure to do this not only can result in your malfunctioning app being rejected but, even worse, your app being accepted and giving your company a bad name among users.

Even after your app is on the market, regularly test it for possible bugs. Pay attention to the feedback your users are giving and address each issue. If you continue to provide an app filled with bugs, you'll scare off potential customers. A smooth, enjoyable experience will ensure customers keep using your app and tell all their friends about it.