Android Single Issue Deployment with Twixl Publisher 3.0

Luk Dhondt 17-09-2012 Android

Builder & Android SDK

With the new Twixl Publisher 3.0, you can now create apps for Android. When you start Twixl Publisher 3 for the first time you'll see that you need to download the Android SDK. This process is completely automated, you only have to click one button and the download and install will run in the background. When the download & install are finished, you are ready to create an Android build of your publication.

Requirements

Single issue
  • Android Developer Account
  • Android Public Key
  • Artwork

Android Developer Account

Every person/company who wants to deploy an application in the Google Play store needs to be registered as an Android Developer. There is a one time $25 registration fee. You can create your account here.

Android Developer Public Key

When you create a build for Android, you will be asked to fill in your 'Android Developer Public Key'. This key is required to make sure that, if the expansion files aren't automatically downloaded, you can download them manually afterwards. Let me explain that in more detail. Android apps can only have a limited file size, which is 50 MB. Because this is a very low limit, Google introduced the concept of 'expansion files'. Expansion files have a limit of 2GB, which is ample space in most cases, and if you have a really huge publication you can use an additional expansion file of 2GB. A maximum number of 2 expansion files are supported at the moment.
On most newer devices, when users download your app from Google Play, the expansion files will be downloaded automatically. On older devices, your app will download the expansion files the first time it runs. Downloading these expansion files require an public key to be sent to Google, so Google knows which expansion files to download.

The public key can be found on the Android Developer Account settings page.

Building for Android with Twixl Publisher 3.0

As mentioned in the requirements, you need an Android Developer Account and your public key. 

In the screenshot below you see the workflow for building an publication for Android. If you didn't install the Android SDK through Twixl Publisher, do it now. When everything is installed, press 'Continue'. You now have 3 options: Preview, Build and Package. Press 'Build'.
We first have to create a 'Build setting' (for info about build settings see http://docs.twixlmedia.com/) When your splashscreen is set (or you can also leave it at the default values), Twixl Publisher needs to know your Application ID & Public Key.
Application ID
 is a reverse domain name (ex. com.twixlmedia.mypublication): you can choose this ID yourself, but it is good practice to use the same reverse DNS as the one you used for the App ID of your iPad app. For the Public Key, see the chapter above. When clicking 'Next', you get three options: Single issue, App Store Kiosk & Enterpise Kiosk. Select 'Single Issue'.
We now have created our build settings for the Android app. The next step is building the application. To do this, click 'Create Build...' The only thing that left is to specify a version number and then to select the publication you want to turn into an app.
When pressing 'Build', you will get to see an overview of the different steps Twixl Publisher is performing in the background. At the end, you will normally get a "Build Successful" message.

Uploading everything to Google Play

Uploading to Google Play is very straightforward. The most important files are the the application file (.apk) and the expansion file(s) (.obb). When you login to your Android Developer Account, you select 'Create Application'. This will prompt a screen where you can upload your .apk file and expansion file(s). When both files are uploaded, you should also upload your artwork. A couple of things are required:

2 application screenshots:
Should be any of the following resolutions:

320 x 480, 480 x 800, 480 x 854, 1280 x 720, 1280 x 800

24-bit PNG or JPEG (no alpha)

High Resolution Application Icon:
512 x 512 pixels
32-bit PNG or JPEG
Maximum: 1024 Kb

The final steps to deploy your application to Google Play are: click 'Publish' and 'Activate' your application. It can take a couple of days before your app will become available in the Google Play store.

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