Branding Your Android Mobile App - Smartphone Development
You may have developed what you believe to be a solid application for the Android platform. While the app may work well in your care, what about making it public? What are the steps necessary to do so? This tutorial will discuss an overview of what you need to do to get your Android app ready for publication so that other users can enjoy what it has to offer. You will not be shown the steps necessary to publish the app itself. Instead, this is a step-by-step guide of the prerequisites you should complete before taking the final step of submitting the app for publication on the Android Market.
Now that some of the formalities are out of the way, you must specify your app's icon and label in the manifest. How you specify these two items is quite crucial, as they represent your app in a short, but sweet way. Some places where your icon and label will appear are on the Android device's Home screen, in the My Downloads section, and Manage Applications, to name a few. Your label should obviously be descriptive, and your icon should mimic the overall style/format of some popular integrated Android applications. You can specify your app's icon and label via the manifest's <application> element by defining the android:icon and android:label attributes.
Clean up your app
Another important step to complete prior to the publication process is to essentially clean up your app. This is done in a few steps. First, you want to get rid of the android:debuggable=”true” attribute from the manifest's <application> element. Next, you should eliminate any dead weight from the app, including backup files, log files, etc. If you have any private or proprietary data, get rid of it as well. Finally, any calls to Log methods in the source code should be deactivated.
Define a version number for your application
When you are about to release your app's inaugural version, you should number it according to how you plan to release updates in the future. Once you have your plan in mind, you can specify the version's value through the android:versionCode and android:versionName attributes that exist in the <manifest> element of the manifest file.
Generate and obtain a suitable private key
Before you can sign your app (this comes near the end), you must have a suitable private key. This key has several characteristics that make it suitable for use. It must be in your possession, represent the entity identified with the app, is not the debug key produced by Android SDK tools, and has a validity period greater than the app's expected lifespan (usually over 25 years). You can run Keytool to generate and obtain a suitable key.
Get a Maps API Key, if necessary
This step will cause a hold up for anyone with an app that uses one or more MapView elements. If you fall into this category, you must get a Maps API Key by registering with Google Maps. You must have this key before you can compile your app and subsequently publish it.
Compile and complete
After you finished the aforementioned steps and obtained your Maps API Key, if applicable, you can proceed to compile your application.
After you have compiled your app, you must sign it with your private key and align it using the zipalign tool. The last step is to test the app once again on a physical Android device to see that it's working properly in all facets.
Your app should now be ready for submission and publication to the Android Market.