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Wiring it up….

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If you were to look at designing a website, typically you’d plan out the layout using a technique called wireframing.  The idea is to work out the basic layout of the page, looking at the usability challenges.

As part of the Android development challenges, I tried to locate a mechanism by which a wireframe mock up of the application can be created.  This article discusses the technologies used.

Denim is a wireframe tool developed in Java which allows you to develop wireframes to mock out the navigational structure of the site.  Using this tool I created a mock up of the screen layout and how they work together. Using this tool I mocked up the basic screen designs and highlighted the interaction between the screens.  Using Denim I set the screen size to match that of the Android emulator – 480×800, and designed the interfaces to fit within this.  The next problem is that the browser that operates in Android does not support full screen web browsing, but steel and Opera do.  I did try Steel, but was unable to make it work – opera did work and I used that to create the screenshots shown here.  Installing applications into the Android emulator is somewhat complicated, as there is no market support.  It should be possible to use the HTC image of Android, and gain the market through that, but there is an alternative.  It is possible to download and install APK (Android Package Files) through the PC hosting the emulator – in my case a Laptop running Ubuntu 10.04.  Here’s how I did it.

  • Download the Android APK file from here.
  • Start your emulator session
  • Start a terminal session – I changed directory to  ~/Documents/Project/android-sdk-linux_86/tools
  • Execute the Android Debug Bridge
    ./adb install ~/Downloads/operamini.apk
  • Opera should now be installed on your emulator.

I think you might be able to install directly through the emulator if you browse to the APK file and install it that way.

Next launch Opera and point it to http://android.titaniumbunker.com/evntr/wireframe/. This is a folder into which I copied the various files produced by Denim.

Here’s some screen shot of some of the screen designs.

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