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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DozCalc: A More Polished Android Application in Java

Since my post on my first Android app, I've done a lot. I went on from that first app to learn how to access a lot more of the device, deal with a wider range of circumstances, and generally get to know Android and the tools for developing for it better.

Specifically, I have posted an app for Android called DozCalc.

DozCalc is a dozenal (base 12) calculator. It doesn't convert back and forth between dozenal and decimal, so be warned. Just like your normal four function calculator that works in base 10 and nothing else, DozCalc works in base 12 and nothing else.

Java

The "programming", like development in many modern GUI environments, was less about the functional code (in this case in Java) and more about the user interface. While Android allows for UI programming in Java, it's typically simpler to implement it in XML. And this is what I did.

The only problem I had was dealing with loss of precision in some calculations. At first, I was going to be very clever and write a proper function using numerical analysis to get the value right to some specified number of fractional digits (note: it's not proper to call them 'decimal digits' when you're working strictly in base 12). However, it was simpler and easier to just add a small value to certain calculations (division, for example) to make all the fractional values come out correct. Far simpler to program, just as effective for this use, and every bit as accurate as the average four function calculator.

Sometimes programming is less about the language, or the algorithm, than about just getting a solution that's accurate enough for the need, then moving forward.

Thanks to object-oriented design, I was able to re-use the code from DozCalc in another graphical calculator. Unfortunately, I got bogged down in the graphical design, so the steampunk styled version of DozCalc (named Mr Wells' Calculator) has yet to be released, and may not be depending on how my schedule of current projects goes.
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