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Preparing your Android app for market – a checklist

That’s it!  Finished.

The last piece of code for your app has gone in and the tests are all passing successfully.  Now you can release it to the marketplace.

Or can you?

See this Google checklist for what should be done before you can say that.

The rest of this post will highlight other steps you should be taking in getting your application ready for market.

The first question is which marketplace will you be releasing it to? For the purposes of this article I am assuming that it is the Google Marketplace.

There are other 3rd party marketplaces around and for those I would imagine that the information you need to supply will be fairly similar.

So let’s assume that you have already registered with Google’s Marketplace and set up all of your payment options for the stream of money you will be getting.

So what is left in order for you to make life easier for yourself when releasing your application.

  1. Is your application free or paid for? If you plan on offering both versions you might want to check our earlier blog entry on how best to organise your code to support both free and paid for versions.
  2. If your application is a paid for application, then you may want to investigate using Google’s Licensing service for it. Again this is something that probably needs to be decided earlier in the process as you will need to add code to your application to support its use.
  3. Look at the Google checklist mentioned above – this should be used first as there are some things there that need to be done before we even get round to thinking about release.
  4. One of the items in the above list is turn off logging and debugging. There are a number of ways of achieving this but the easiest solution we have found is to use Proguard configuration settings in your eclipse project which filters out Log statements as part of obfuscating your released code. You are obfuscating your code aren’t you?
    In your proguard.cfg file add the following lines:

    -assumenosideeffects class android.util.Log {
        public static *** d(...);
        public static *** v(...);
    }

    You will also need to add the following line to the default.properties file in your project:

    proguard.config=proguard.cfg
  5. Also if you are using Proguard to obfuscate your code make sure that you save the generated mapping.txt file, ideally tagged in your version control system along with the release application code. Without the matching version of this file you will not be able to interpret any stacktraces etc which will be showing the obfuscated values.
  6. If your applications is making use of advertising ensure that any test ad settings you have, are switched to live ads.
  7. In order to register your application on the marketplace you will also need a variety of graphical assets – some mandatory and some optional. A summary can be seen below and detailed specifications of sizes, resolutions etc for these assets can be found here:
    1. Screenshots – minimum of 2 required, maximum of 8 – mandatory
    2. High resolution application icon – mandatory
    3. Promotional graphic – optional
    4. Feature graphic – optional
    5. Video link -optional
  8. Screenshots can be easily acquired using eclipse and the emulator.
    Open the DDMS perspective,
    Select the emulator device in the Device view,
    Right click the view menu down arrow,
    and then selecting ‘Screen Capture’  from the drop down menu.
  9. Decide on the rating you are going to give your application – be aware that you cannot have a rating of ‘All’ if your application accesses location data. More precise information on ratings can be found here.
  10. Prepare any supporting pages you might want on your own website, and decide on the support methods you will provide to your users. This could be any of or all of the following: a link to your website, an email address or phone number

Finally  release your application and feel that surge of satisfaction of a job well done – and hopefully where appropriate the tinkling sound of cash.

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