Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I've been fortunate enough to be tapped to help write the upcoming edition of Unlocking Android from Manning Publications.  I'm very excited about this; the original book was really good, and now I get to help expand and revise it to incorporate all the great stuff that has occurred between OS versions 1.5 and 2.2.

The first piece that I wrote was a pretty long chapter on integration; it covers topics like interacting with device contacts, syncing with a back-end, managing multiple sources of personal data, and so on.  To help illustrate the chapter's concepts, I use a real-world sample application: an app that synchronizes your device contacts with your LinkedIn connections.

So, that was a lot of work but also a lot of fun.  I enjoyed poking around LinkedIn's API, which is primarily designed for web applications but, with some tweaking, can work on mobile as well.  Real apps always feel much more compelling than toy apps, and I felt a thrill when I saw my actual data getting synchronized.  Wow, a useful app!  Who would have thought it?

It occurred to me that, with a bit more polishing and some key features, the sample app could become an actual useful Market-ready app.  I checked with my publisher, then spent about a week streamlining the UI and hooking in some other Android features to handle things like automatically redirecting authorization info from LinkedIn.  I just finished wrapping that up, and published on the Market on Sunday.

So, that was a lot of fun.  This is the second Market app that I've put out.  The first, Wheeler, was one of the apps available when Android version 1.0 first came out on the G1.  It has since been superseded by other apps (including what I really wanted to make all along, a version of Google Maps with cycling directions), but along the way it was downloaded thousands of times and received some really kind reviews from fellow cyclists.  I'm glad to be back on the Market again, and hope that the LinkedIn app gets noticed.

So, if you're using an Android phone with OS version 2.0 or later, and you have a LinkedIn account, feel free to check out my app!  It's called "Unlocking Android LinkedIn".  And, if you're a developer, please keep your eyes opened for Unlocking Android 2nd Edition.  We're releasing chapters through the Manning Early Access Program as they become available, and hope to have the physical book out in the next few months.  Happy coding!


  1. I downloaded the app from the market. Logs in to Linkedin and syncrhonizes fine. However, no LI contacts show up in my Contact list.

  2. Hi Kelvin,

    Thanks for checking this out! By default, the Android Contacts app will only show LinkedIn data for existing contacts; it won't display contacts that are only known through LinkedIn.

    To change this behavior, try the following.
    * Open Contacts
    * Open the menu
    * Select "Display Options"
    * Expand Unlocking Android LinkedIn
    * Select the check box

    After this, you should see all of your LinkedIn contacts.

    (In case anyone is curious - Android does this by default so that if, for example, you have 1000 Facebook friends but only regularly call 20 people, you won't need to browse around the longer list to find the people you regularly contact.)

    Hope this helps! Please let me know if you still have issues.

  3. Thanks, now it works! Great :)