The Better Angels of our Nature

As one becomes aware of the decline of violence, the world begins to look different. The past seems less innocent; the present less sinister.

All the research and data concentrated in this book makes me optimistic about our evolution as humans and the direction we’re heading. Let’s keep it this way.

Faith in humanity restored.

 

Android: Splash Screen with Kotlin

There are different opinions on whether having a splash screen on your Android application or not.

Personally, I think splash screens are a good place where you can showcase your app’s nice design and give your users a good first impression.

So, this is how I’ve been implementing splash screens on my recent Android apps with Kotlin.

Static vs Animated

I’ve used both static and animated splash screens and here are some thoughts.

Static

  • Showed only in the launching of your app before onCreate() is called.
  • You’re not wasting your users time.
  • Not intended to run operations while the splash screen is shown.

Animated

  • You can show a cool animation and custom design.
  • Flexibility to perform some operations while the animation finishes.
  • Users can get bored if the animation is useless or if it takes too long.

Static Android Splash Screen

one-breath-splash

1.

Create the drawable file that we will use as background in the entry activity, by using a background, the app will show it without having to inflate a layout file.

2.

Create a theme in the styles file with no action bar that uses the splash drawable as the background to set it in the entry activity.

3.

Set the new style as a theme for the splash activity in your app manifest.

4.

Add the code to navigate to the next activity as soon as the app has finished loading.

Animated Android Splash Screen

power-nap-splash

When I use animated splash screens I like to keep showing the static part of the splash screen on the initialization so I repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 from above and just add the animation functionality.

4.

For the animated splash screen, we will inflate a layout with the element or elements we want to animate. In this case, I’m just animating a textview.

5.

Now we need to modify the splash activity to enable the animation and perform some loading operations in the meantime. Here’s how my splash activity looks like.

That’s it, please share your thoughts on Android splash screens and your comments on how to improve this implementation.

Posted in Dev

Ready Player One

People come to the Oasis for all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be.

The question is not if, but when is this going to be a reality. Personally, I think we’re very close in terms of technology, It’s just a matter of time until someone comes up with the right formula.

The idea of a virtual reality of this scale is amazing, scary, but amazing.

car race GIF by Ready Player One

Why Should Every Developer Create a Mobile App

I love to develop mobile apps as a hobby, the first app I published was a very simple RSS client I built in college, It was for Windows Phone 7 and I uploaded it to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

confused girl GIF

I know… My first app ever was destined to die 💀, and not only the first one, because the moment I saw in my dev dashboard that someone besides my mom had downloaded my app I went crazy and eventually I create another 4 apps for Windows Phone before I even get started with Android.

I don’t regret it at all to have put my time and effort into creating these apps. I learned huge when building them and also it took me to the very answer of why I think every developer should create a mobile app:

User Reviews

In one of this apps I got my first user review:

review

Yes, that is my first review ever, and as much as first it made me sad because donna didn’t understand the purpose of my movie suggestions app, I’ve come to realize user reviews are the reason I create mobile apps and here are a few reasons why I find them so valuable.

Impact

User reviews give you a lot of useful information about your app and your users. It is the first indicator that your app is making an impact, either positive or negative in your user’s lives, they’re taking the time to write a review and express their experience while using your app. It feels much better when it’s a good one.

Interaction

With user reviews, you’re able to come close to your users and interact with them. You can offer support, ask follow-up questions or simply say thanks. With this interaction, you build a sense of community around your app.

Improvement

User reviews are about developing better software for your users, paying attention to your user’s needs can impact your app bottom line and enables you to create a better product.

Receiving user reviews feels great, it’s amazing to know that there are people all around the world using your app and that it is making an impact on their lives. Take the improvement opportunity from the bad reviews and the joy and satisfaction of the good ones.

Screenshot_20180417-122509

Why Everyone Should Try Meditation

When I was close to graduate from University I was in a peculiar state of mind. I was overwhelmed by all kinds of troubled thoughts at the time, I was trying to finish my degree smoothly, I was already working and deeply engaged in a software development startup, my love life was a mess, I was moving to a new apartment and as far as I was concerned I was officially an adult.

happy i love you GIF by Rodrigo Tello

That mixture of feelings and thoughts pushed me to look for ways to get some peace of mind. That was how I started learning about meditation and mindfulness and I changed the misconception I had about it:

A mysterious practice that only a few wise ancient people from far away lands did while levitating.

raven GIF

I found a couple of cool apps that helped me to get rid of that idea, I read about the many benefits of meditation, so I thought. Why not, let’s give it a try.

Now I’ve been practicing meditation and mindfulness for a few years and here are a few reasons why I encourage everyone to try meditation.

Reduce Stress

I’ve learned that, as much as you try, you’ll never have control of the situations you find in your life, some of these are pleasant but some are not: Stress is inevitable. Meditation has helped me change my relationship with stress and stressful situations, it allows me to have the space I need to handle stressful moments with clarity and peace.

Relate Better

We live in a web of relationships, from your co-workers to your loved ones and the people you cross with every day. These relationships affect and get affected by your emotions and feelings. When you feel good about yourself, when you’re able to be aware of your emotions and feelings you become less reactive, regulate your moods, increase empathy and kindness and allow others to be, instead of projecting yourself.

Good Night Sleeps

We all know that sleeping is essential for our well being, sleep gets deeply affected by a troubled mind, personally I’ve experienced Insomnia and restless sleep and it affects you mentally and physically. By doing a short meditation before going to bed I’m able to clear my mind, leave trouble thoughts behind and set the conditions for a restful night.

Health

Meditation just makes me feel healthier, It encourages healthier habits and there’s plenty of studies that explore the connection between health and meditation. Reduction of blood pressure, pain relieve, anxiety reduction, memory loss prevention are just some of meditation health benefits.

Live the Moment

Last but not least, by meditating I’ve learned to be present. It’s truly mind-blowing how I’ve found myself doing things completely in automatic mode, meditation has helped me to be aware, about the simplest things, like standing up from my chair or eating my lunch. It sounds cliché but I’ve found great experiences and happiness in the most simple things. Just had to pay attention.

I urge you to give it a try, here’s a couple of apps I like where you can start practicing meditation and mindfulness right away.

Headspace | Stop, Breathe & Think | Calm

And my personal effort to bring a little peace to this world, a simple Android app that helps you recover your natural innate breathing with a simple breathing exercise.

One Breath

Meditate and share your experience!