Having worked on the original LOVEFiLM iPhone and iPad applications, this was the first project where I was Development Manager. For this project, I lead a team of four people – three developers and a test analyst – to create LOVEFiLM’s first Android application. My experience with the LOVEFiLM API over the past few years (since October 2009) gave me the best position to advise the team and problem solve any API issues.
In the initial phase of this project, I helped in drafting up the wireframes and documenting a new version of the LOVEFiLM API we would use for this project for the developers to use. The behaviour of the application was very similar to the iOS applications so only Android specific changes were needed. Since I was one of the few Android users in the office, I had a good idea of some of the best practices and common UI elements used in Android apps – this information was used to create the wireframes for the application.
Later on in the development process, I assisted the team in finding solutions to problems involving the API and communication bugs back to the client. I was also responsible for compiling new versions of the application for Client User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Once the application was complete, I also deployed the application to the Android Market.
I encountered a few difficulties along the course of this project, one of which was the API. The application used a undocumented version of the API, for which I did the initial documentation for the project. Through development, we encountered a number of bugs and discrepancies between the undocumented, newer API compared to the older, documented API used for the iOS Apps.
Another issue was the fragmentation of Android and the different hardware devices and configurations the application needed to support. From the start, the app was designed to support 80-90% of the available devices but during client UAT and after releasing the final version, we found devices that weren’t fully supported. Fixes were made to the application as and when issues were discovered. The release of Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) posed the biggest risk, as the app was released a couple of weeks ahead and wasn’t tested on this version.