Happy Mother’s Day everyone! This year I wrote an Android app for my wife for Mother’s Day. How geeky is that?
The reason I wrote it is that my wife’s favorite Android application, Word Mix Lite, recently added annoying banner ads. While the sensible thing to do might have been to switch to another app, or perhaps upgrade to the paid version of Word Mix, I thought it might be interesting to see if I could write my own replacement.
The drawback is that PhoneGap is not very popular yet, especially among Android developers, and so there is relatively little documentation. I ran into problems related to touch events and click events that I still haven’t completely solved.
It took about three days to write the application. The first day was spent:
- Finding a public domain word list.
- Filtering the word list to just 3-to-6 character words.
- Build a “trie” to make it fast to look up anagrams.
- Output the trie as a JSON data structure.
The second day was spent writing the core of the word jumble game.
The third day was spent:
- Porting to PhoneGap.
- Debugging Android-specific issues.
- Tuning the gameplay for the phone.
The project went pretty well.
- CSS styling was fairly easy to learn.
- Targeting a single browser made it relatively easy to use the DOM.
In the end there were unfortunately a few button-event UI glitches I couldn’t solve in time for Mother’s Day. When I get some spare time I’d like to revisit this project and see if I could use the JQTouch library to solve my UI glitches. I’d also like to make an open source release of a reskinned (non-Mother’s Day themed) version of this app. And then who knows? Maybe I’ll release it for the other phones that PhoneGap supports as well. :-)