Behind every great Android app...

 ... is an even better website (and behind all of my apps is Drupal)!

As a long time programmer I have dabbled in quite a few web frameworks over the years (and written more then enough sites from scratch). In the last couple of years I've become quite an advocate of the Drupal CMS. When it came to developing my Android apps I needed a website to support them. Users need a place to go to find out more then can be said in the 325 characters allowed on the Android market. In addition to letting me provide more descriptions, images, videos etc, I also wanted to better manage my apps. I needed a vehicle to help me keep track of app version numbers and change logs. I wanted something that would allow users to contact me, let me host a simple blog and help me publicise my work.

I chose Drupal for it's flexibility. Not only does it allow me to do all the above, but I can also integrate my apps with the website in the following ways:

  • Crash reports from my apps are posted automatically to my website (and from there emailed to me) allowing me to quickly and easily fix bugs - although finally Android 2.2 has go round to offering the same support automatically via the developer console
  • Having a separate changelog page for each release of an app lets the app query the website and find out if there is a newer version available (again a feature that has been superseded by the latest versions of android).
  • When an app is updated, the next time it runs, it pulls the changelog from the website and shows it to the user - this means I only need to record the changes for a given app in a single place.

There are many more possibilities to having a flexible website to back your application. For instance I could quite easily enable a feature-request/user voting forum along the same lines as UserVoice, or maybe even surface content from within Drupal directly into the App itself.

I think most developers find that the Android market just isn't enough. To remain engaged with, and fully inform your user community requires the services of more then just the market. For me at least, Drupal + Android is the perfect combination.