Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Resistance/Avalon App

I've once again taken a detour from my more serious Android development to do some silly side projects.

The first of them is an app for the board game The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon.  I've recently become obsessed with this game because it's just a ton of fun.  The game involves a lot of hidden roles, so there's a lengthy boot-up sequence where each person's allegiances are determined.  When you use all the roles available, it gets to be a bit of chore.  So I've written a dumb app that uses Android's TTS to speak the setup out loud, making the process a tiny bit easier.

The application can be found here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.idunnolol.resistance

Open source code here: https://github.com/dlew/android-resistance

As is usually the case with side projects, the time I put into the project vastly outweighs the time I'll ever save by using the app.  As such, I took this as an opportunity to try out two things: Android's TextToSpeech capabilities, and Maven Android builds.


I found TextToSpeech to be far easier to use than I expected.  It took me almost no time to get it up and running.  The only snag I ran into was using the OnUtteranceCompletedListener.  You need to give an utterance id to something you play before the listener will fire:

HashMap<String, String> params = new HashMap<String, String>();
endParams.put(TextToSpeech.Engine.KEY_PARAM_UTTERANCE_ID, "myUtteranceId");
mTTS.speak("Say Something", TextToSpeech.QUEUE_ADD, params);

Maven Android Builds

I've been woefully behind the times with regards to Android build technology.  For years I've seen open source github projects using Maven but I've always ignored it because I'm scared of the big angry pom.xml files.  So I determined that I would use this simple app to teach myself Maven (via maven-android-plugin).

I found the initial setup of Maven to be pretty simple.  I had the samples up and running in no time using the "getting started" section of the site.  I even got Eclipse building the application using Maven using m2e-android.  So far so good.

I ran into a brick wall when I tried to add a library (in particular, ActionBarSherlock).  The command line Maven worked just fine when I added the library dependency, but I happen to enjoy the amenities of a modern IDE so it must work in Eclipse.  But in Eclipse, it wouldn't build - it complained about a missing dependency.  It turns out that you need to still manually do stuff for each library anyways if you're using Eclipse + Maven (unless I'm mis-reading the state of apklib, which is entirely possible).  Wasn't that the whole reason I started to use Maven in the first place?  To simplify my build process?

I think I'll keep making pom.xml for command line building/testing, but for actual dev in Eclipse it actually sets me back to use Maven.  Perhaps it integrates better with IntelliJ?  That alone may be reason to switch.  But at this point I'm far more excited for the upcoming Gradle builds.

One More Thing

If there was one cool thing I did with the code, it was the setup of Config.java.  Originally I had it with a bunch of booleans, one for each option; but this led to a lot of switch-like code that just felt repetitive. By converting it to an enum keyed-boolean store, I was able to automate a lot of app.  I always love it when you can greatly simplify and condense the code at the same time.


  1. Eclipse is pretty awful at doing Maven stuff, in my experience, which is why I moved onto NetBeans. Alas for Android stuff Eclipse is still better :-(

  2. Hi. Just wondering if there was a reason the app was removed from Google Play Store and if there was any where else it could be downloaded from. Thankd