Friday, March 28, 2014

StandOut - Floating window applications on Android

Today, I saw an Android library that caught my attention, so I thought I would post a quick note about it.  Hopefully I'll get the time to create some kind of test app using it, but for now, I'll just share the find.

The library is called StandOut and it lets you create floating windows that stay in the foreground while you use other apps.  This would seem to be the most useful on a tablet or other large form factor device, but I guess you could create an app that attaches itself to the side or a corner.  Then that app could pop out when certain kinds of interactions happened.

The app I wrote at work is for drivers that work for couriers and agents to manage the package load/pickup/delivery life cycle.  Some customers have asked for an enhancement to support taking pictures of either documents, the packages, or pickup/delivery location to serve as more evidence of the service details.  One idea that I had was that instead of an icon on the action bar or a menu item, we could hover a small camera icon that jumps the user to activity for picture taking.  I'm still not sure that is a good idea from a UX point of view, so I guess when it comes time to code it we will have to do some hallway usability testing to try out the ideas.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


At some point or another, most professional programmers attempt a blog.  Most of them do not end up keeping that blog for any reasonable length of time.  In broad sweeping terms, we end up spending most of our creative energy during our working hours on our "job".  And I am no different.  My employer pays for and gets the vast majority of my creative energy.

However, a professional of any stripe should have a portfolio of their work.  And I believe that there is value to be gained by recording our lessons as we learn them.  Not only does that help us personally remember by giving a place to go back and review, but it can also help others learn from our experience.  That old cliché  is pretty true: we stand here today upon the shoulders of giants.  Those giants were not a few individuals, rather it is a metaphor, for the combined wisdom of the people before us.

So, welcome to my blog.  I plan on using this as a place to record lessons learned so that I can remember them and so that others can hopefully benefit from them.  In the process, this will also end up serving as part of my portfolio.  I don't know how often I will post here, but I hope to make it a fairly regular thing.  It is my selfish plan to use this as a vehicle for becoming a better writer.  I don't plan on writing a book or anything like that, but creating the written word is a pretty useful skill in and of itself.