Always on Top: Develop Immersive Android Apps with the Tooleap SDK
Some Android developers might get excited about this new interesting addition to the Android app development. Tooleap is an always on top/floating UI for Android – an SDK, which brings your app to the forefront of the screen by adding a floating button. This makes your app accessible from any screen at any time. Your app will stand out from the mass on Google Play because it reaches a new level of user friendliness (at least, as long as all others don’t get the same idea).
The Pros – What Tooleap SDK Offers
After integrating Tooleap SDK Jar into your project, you can add some interesting and useful functions to your app. It comes with the following out-of-the-box features:
The SDK extends your app with a floating bubble – a button that stays at the forefront of your screen and allows your app to be accessed from any screen. Of course, the button is fully customizable, so you can use your own icon or display notification bubbles. See the screenshot:
By clicking the button, a screen slides out from the left side. This is kind of a second home screen where you can add any function you like as it can also be coded individually.
The Side Screen
The side screen displays your app content on top of the screen. By using the Tooleap Activity classes, you can display whatever you want on your second home screen, just like with any other Android app. You don't even need a special code to implement it. In fact, you can move any existing function to this screen. In addition, the Tooleap screen offers a web-based search.
The bottom navigation bar allows users to switch between different mini applications and the search screen.
What you can do with Tooleap
The content displayed on the side screen is a so-called mini app. These mini apps offer several functions for your app:
The PopOut mini apps allow users to open a pop-out screen of your app while other apps are in use. This could be, for example, a music player that allows to pop out the playback controls while you are reading the latest news. Your app is always only a finger tap away even as other apps are in use.
The Home Widgets
The home widgets are a really interesting feature. They offer the full information of the regular Android home screen without overloading the home screen with widgets. Develop a mini app with the home widgets that is then placed on the home screen. Clicking it opens the side screen with the necessary information. This is ideal for a weather app, for example. A standard weather widget takes a lot of space on the home screen – space that could be used better. For this reason, only the icon of the weather app is placed on the user’s home screen. Clicking it opens the side screen with all information about the weather.
Super-Fast Accessible Apps
The Super Available Apps create sticky mini apps that always stay on top of running apps, either of all or only select ones. Use, for example, a Persistent mini app to provide Android users access to your app from any screen. A news app could provide access to breaking news from any screen.
Code the mini apps to your needs and use (theoretically) as many as fit on the home screen.
System Requirements for Tooleap
Tooleap requires Android SDK 2.2 (version 8) or higher.
Video Introduction to the Tooleap SDK
In my opinion, Tooleap is an interesting method to make your app stand out from the mass of apps on Google Play. Without being too euphoric, the features it offers are nothing to sneeze at. I am really curious about how developers receive this SDK and all the new possibilities it offers. I look forward to apps using Tooleap! Do you?
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