Adventures in Android land

My XBox Live application for Android has been out for a while now, and while feedback has been mixed, it has been rather encouraging. If you’re interested, you can check it out by using Android’s Barcode Scanner app to snap the image to the right.

As feedback shows, a small percentage of users are understandably wary of providing their email address and password to the application, and completely refuse to use it. Most of the current applications that perform similar functions use the XBox Live proprietary API, which requires only a gamertag to obtain similar information. gsDroid, on the other hand, obtains its information by signing in to the XBox Live site and scanning it for information. The upside of this is that I can generally obtain a lot more information than the (free, but proprietary) API can provide. The downside is that it takes a lot of time to fetch this information, and process it raw. And of course, it requires a user’s full account information – the gamertag alone will not suffice.

To make things worse, shortly before releasing gsDroid, I realized that I went about the application completely wrong. gsDroid schedules itself as a service, and performs a full update every 15 minutes. This means that it must refresh the list of games, achievements and friends at each 15-minute interval. Most users need only an up-to-date friends list, and only occasionally an updated list of games; yet gsDroid’s design does not make it easy to do this. Instead of completely scrapping everything, I decided to release gsDroid as a free application.

That is why shortly after releasing the application, I started working on another version, designed from the ground up to be a lot more flexible, and not fetch information unless necessary. Work is progressing along nicely, and I’m already seeing a lot of improvement over gsDroid’s design – for one thing, the seemingly age-long initial synchronization process is completely gone, and while, say, initial fetch of your game list does take some time, it doesn’t take nearly as much time as with gsDroid. For this reason, gsDroid’s not likely to receive any newer features – most of my spare time is currently going towards the new application.

To keep up with the application’s progress, keep checking this site; I will try to post information on new features as it comes up.

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One Response to Adventures in Android land

  1. This is very interesting. thanks

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