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The online application store concept took off with the Apple iPhone App Store and since then every major platform has come up with an application store. Google launched their Android Market some months back and it has been a huge hit. If you are a software developer, publishing your application on the Android Market is one of the first steps you must take to ensure full availability of your application. There are many more advantages of your application being on Android Market - it gives your application more exposure and you can directly sell your application to a huge user base for a small fee without setting up any infrastructure.
Here is the basic stuff you should take care of before you publish your application on the Android Market.
Testing your Application:
Test your application extensively on both the emulator and a wide range of devices (that shouldn't be a big problem right now as there are only 2 Android devices available) before moving on to the next step. You should check for performance, responsiveness and compatibility with each device. The SDK comes bundled with many tools like
1. DDMS (Dalvik Debug Monitor Service) - To manage processes, debug the application and generate trace data.
2. Trace View - To generate graphical analysis views of the trace data of your application.
3. UI / Application Exerciser Monkey - To stress test your Android applications by emulating a random sequence of clicks, touches, gestures and other events and then monitoring the response and performance.
Specify the Name, Icon and Version of your Application
Specify all the relevant data about the application in the Manifest file. You should specify all the relevant data pertaining to the application in the AndroidManifest.xml file at the root directory of your APK application package.
The important details are:
android:icon - This specifies the icon to be diplayed as the application's icon. The icon is the visual representation of the application. It is displayed everywhere - the Menu, Android Market, Manage Applications, My Downloads etc. Make sure to choose a visually appealing icon; after all the first impressions is the last impression.
android:label - This specifies the name of your application. It is also displayed almost everywhere the icon is - Android Market, Manage Applications, My Downloads etc.
android:versionCode - Specifying the version is a very important step before publishing your application. Read my Versioning your Android Applications guide for more details. This is the integer value of the version relative to the other versions. It is only used by the system when upgrading / downgrading.
android:versionName - This specifies the actual version number of the application. It is used only to display the version to the users. IT can be of the form 1.2.2, 184.108.40.206 etc.
Sign your Application
Before publishing your application on Android Market, you need to sign it first using a certificate/key. You can purchase one or create a self signed key yourself using the KEYTOOL tool built into JDK (Java Development Kit). After obtaining the key, sign your APK application package using the JARSIGNER tool. Here's a detailed guide to explain the signing process - http://www.brighthub.com/mobile/google-android/articles/40859.aspx.
After completing these steps, you are ready to publish your application on the Android Market. You need to register as a Android Market Developer. Go to http://market.android.com/publish and register your account. There is a registration fee of $25. Follow the instructions and upload your application to the Android Market.