The Deacon Project Droid+Beacon – Open-Source Push Notifications for Android & Java

9Dec/102

Testing Deacon on Devices

Posted by Dave

Around this time of the year, it's not uncommon (in many Western nations, at least) to hear songs about a certain saint of Christmas who's "making a list, and checking it twice". The Deacon Project has kicked off a list of its own, but rather than keeping track of kids' shenanigans, this one tracks how well various Android devices play with the Deacon push notifications library. Without further ado...

The Deacon Device Testing List

The goal of the Device Testing List is to catalog the results of developers testing Deacon on their devices. There are a lot of Android devices on the market, in different form factors, with different software versions and manufacturer/carrier customizations. Deacon is designed to avoid dependence on any one device's capabilities or OS version - a strong ally in the fight against fragmentation. Nonetheless, the Deacon team can't possibly test the library in all the different hardware/software environments where it might be used. Such testing can reveal bugs and help improve Deacon - so I'm hopeful that those who are running Deacon-powered apps on the spectrum of Android devices will log their results on the Device Testing List.

Keep an eye on the list as we develop the format and add devices. So far, only the devices that I have personally tested appear - but I hope that the Deacon community changes that quickly!

Note: As far as I can tell, you just need a GitHub account to edit the Deacon Wiki, which hosts the Device Testing List. If anyone has trouble making edits, please let me know by comments or e-mail!

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5Dec/100

Deacon Beta Released!

Posted by Dave

The Deacon team is proud to annouce the release of the Beta version of the Deacon push notifications library for Android!

If the Deacon Project blog's hit stats are any indication, weekends on the web are pretty quiet when it comes to Android Push Notifications. But this weekend has been a busy one around Deacon HQ... After plenty of third-party testing over the last month, as well as some code updates and experimentation, this weekend marks the entry of the Deacon push library for Android and Java to "Beta" status.

In addition to all the functionality included in Deacon's Alpha Release, Beta includes updated design information, the beginnings of an automated test suite, and several bug fixes. Contrary to previous indications on this blog, the Beta release does not include compatibility with Google's C2DM framework. While this was an exciting potential feature, the Deacon developers received precisely zero interest in it from the developer community. Unless robust demand for C2DM compatibility appears in the comments section, or on the Deacon Project mailing list, further development in this area will not be pursued.

In the run-up to this Beta release, several developers contacted me to express an interest in Deacon. Were it not for their enthusiasm, and their constructive feedback on Deacon's operation, I would likely have shelved the project entirely. Special thanks to Lee J. (@britishturbo, developer of Tweetissimo) and Kasper Holtze for their encouragement and interest.

At this point in Deacon's evolution, the library should be sufficiently robust to permit development of push-based Android and Java applications with a reasonable expectation of performance and stability. While Deacon has not (to my knowledge) been tested in large-scale deployments or production environments, the real-world tests to which it has been subjected indicate that it is robust to changing network conditions, consumes network bandwidth efficiently, and minimally impacts handset battery life. It is my hope that this Beta release will encourage more developers to actively test Deacon in their push-based Android applications, and that they will report on their experiences on Deacon's mailing list and bug tracker.

Following this Beta release, I plan to move to a largely reactive and contribution-based model for Deacon development. I will gladly follow up on reported issues, respond to mailing list inquiries and make any code changes needed. Further, I will welcome submitted patches and pull-requests in order to incorporate code changes from the community. However, barring changes resulting from my own Android app development activities, I do not plan to aggressively add features or enhancements. Deacon, like most Open-Source projects, belongs to its community, and community involvement will be the key driver in its ongoing evolution. In short: Ask and ye shall receive. Code and ye may contribute. But sit thee not silent.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)]

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