• Publishing to Android
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    Publishing to Android

    Introduction

    Among a variety of mobile operation systems Android is the leading one with almost 87% of all mobile user [1]. EON Studio as the main authoring software from EON Reality’s software family has been designed to allow its users to deploy interactive and functional applications for all the most popular mobile platforms incl. Android and iOS. The version that will be demonstrated in this article is EON 9.17 which is the latest officially release version of EON Studio [2]. Aim of this activity is to demonstrate the key steps and settings required in a successful deployment of 3D interactive content.

    Technical requirements

    In this exercise users are requested to have installed and configured all tools that are needed to successfully deploy an application for the Android platform and are required from the platform specification. Android operation system is based on use of Java programming language. Java as a main programming language in Android determine the requirement to use Java Development Kit (JDK)while developing for Android. For that reason, a developer should have installed JDK on its development computers. Any available version (32bit or 64bit) would be suitable. The link to the tool can be found here [3]. As Android Studio is an official IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for Google’s platform, the latest version of it is required with Android SDK (Software Development Kit) included. Setup and configuration instructions can be find on developer.android.com website [4]. Within installation of Android SDK it is important to make sure that the following APIs are included into installation within Android SDK Manager:
    - API15 - Android 4.0.3
    -API19 - Android 4.4.2
    As the deployment into apk Package requires set of procedures and instructions EON integrated the functionality to use Apache Ant Java library to organize the process [5]. In latest release of EON additional support to the native elements of Android system have been implemented via use of Android NDK (Native Development Kit) that can be downloaded and installed from this location [6]. Main software package for development and deployment is EON Studio 9.17 with all necessary licenses modules [9]. Download and installation process is available to follow watching this video [link to YouTube video]. Within EON Studio it is required to specify the locations of all the major tools that will be used in the process of Android deployment.

    Workflow

    In comparison to the typical workflow of interactive 3D content development with EON Studio [8] for PC based platforms the mobile development is not much differentiated. The platform agnostic approach presented in full development and evolution of EON Studio effected with easy, intuitive and efficient process of deployment 3D VR and AR content to various platforms. EON Studio allow users to directly deploy a simulation to Android operated devices that is either connected to the developer’s computer or to millions of the Android devices that can access Google Play or use Android Deployment Packages (apk) In actions to create an Android package (APK), EON’s user will need to follow the steps of the EON Mobile Deployment wizard that will result in creation of the mobile deployment version of the simulation file – file with extension *.emz that will be optimized in its structure for Android platform. Wizard then allows automatic compressing and signing of the content into package where EON Mobile Viewer activity and all necessary libraries and codes are wrapped into single deployment format with *.apk extension. That format can be then either installed and deployed on direct connected Android device for testing or uploaded to world largest library of the mobile applications – Google Play or distributed locally among the final users when global distribution is not required.

    Process

    1. Save your EON Studio simulation on local hard drive. Please make sure that following requirements are fulfilled:
      1. file name does not consist of the spaces
      2. file is saved on drive and folder that user have administrative access
      3. location of the saved file (the full path) does not include spaces and local does not consist any non latin characters.
    2. From menu system please select  File → Build Mobile Application option to start the tool called EON Mobile Deployment Tool that will lead you through the process of mobile deployment.
    3. On the Welcome to the EON Mobile Deployment Tool page select the required platform Android and if the application is not intended for use of Augmented Reality based on Vuforia technology, then no other elements need to be selected. IMPORTANT: Please pay attention to Options… button on the bottom line of the dialog box. If required please check if the location to all the required tools is specify correctly.
    4. On next page of the wizard, user is asked to specify the Basic Options for Android deployment which are:
      1. Simulation file - source file for the process. This should not be changed.
      2. Deployment file - a relative location of the deployment file of *.apk that will be created in the process.
      3. Display name - The name of the application that will be displayed on mobile device when the app will be installed.
      4. Package name - also called Bundle ID - is a unique name in reverse domain notation that will be identify the app in Google Play store. This is important to learn more about this elements while preparing app for wider publishing process.[7]
      5. Lock orientation - if the app specifics require to lock users experience to dedicated type of orientation (either landscape or portrait) this option can be used
      6. Content folder - This option allow users to select additional folder from which the content will be included into the new package. More about this option will be specified while deploying to Samsung Gear VR platform [8].
      7. Options - Make debuggable - option that allow include information into the package that it will be deployed for testing and debugging purposes. IMPORTANT: If your package is to be installed on device and its icon available in the future for testing independently it is suggested to select Make debuggable in this stage. It will make it easier. When app is to be published on Google Play this option maybe be required to be NOT selected to allow successful Google Play publish.
      8. Options - Deploy to connected device - if a user would like to deploy the final package (*.apk) directly to USB connected device and the device is configured as Developer device [10] then this option can be selected.
      9. Version - Major number
      10. Version - Minor number
      11. Version - Revision
    5. On next screen of the deployment tool user is asked to select the additional Target libraries and settings. It is recommended to only select the ones that are used in the development process in EON Studio to support the mobile application with the functionality. More about this settings and libraries can be found here [11].
    6. Selection of the splash screen and application icon is suggested on the next step of the process. Users can either use the default settings of the EON driven deployment process or create own images.
      1. Icon - it should be prepared in *.png file format that will be square size (equal width and height of the image) and size should be optimized for multiple screen sizes. EON recommend size 512x512 px images as icon files with 24 bit color levels. Icon can consist alpha channel (transparency).
      2. Splashscreen - is also a bitmap graphic in *.png format that should be square size and minimum of 640x640 px.
    7. Each Android application require its manifest to include information about permissions levels that are used by the application within the device it operates on. In next step user is asked to specify the permissions that will be declared in Android Manifest file. This is only required to change if the application uses such elements like deployment for Samsung Gear VR, uses Vuforia AR or any AR technology that require access to external files, camera and internet. More about Android manifest can be found here [12].
    8. Signing the package is a very important step of the process. If user developed application just for testing or own device then this step could be omitted. But if the app is to be distributed widely and i.e. published on Google Play then this step is required. EON Studio support the signing process and generation of the keystore. More about this can be found in this article [13]
    9. Last process of the preparation to deployment is just to confirm the process and select Deploy button. User will be informed about the details of the deployment process and the result either successfully or failed.
    10. Deployment completed.
    11. Open Output Folder button allow user to find the final product of the process which is the *.apk file that can be copied, published and installed on Android device.
    Copyright 2017 EON Reality Inc. | All Rights Reserved

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