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Once your app is ready, you'll want to publish it on Google Play, the Android marketplace. Before you can actually publish the app, however, there's a fair amount of preparation involved. This lesson goes through the prepublication process, so you'll know what you need to do. First you'll need to register for a Publisher account. You can start the process by going to http://play.google.com/apps/publish. The registration process is very straightforward and currently costs $25.
To begin the registration you'll need to log in with your Google Account ID. Because I'm already registered as an Android Developer, I'm taken to the Android Developer Console, which is exactly where you'll land after you have completed the registration. We'll return to this location in the next lesson in this chapter, Getting into Google Play, but for now we need to go over the rest of your preparation. There are three main steps of preparation. First, you need to gather various supporting materials. Next, you'll need to configure your app properly.
Last, you need to create a final build. Let's take a closer look at each of these steps. The primary item you'll need to get is a digitally-signed certificate that you as the developer own. This cryptographic key is required. For more details on how to get such a key see the Obtain a suitable private key section of the app signing HTML page, under publishing. Other materials include an application icon, which is a 32-bit PNG file, with alpha transparency, output to a variety of sizes.
Google has a terrific guide for creating such icons, including all the required dimensions. I strongly recommend that you include a EULA, or End-User License Agreement. A EULA will help protect your intellectual property as well as yourself and your organization. There are many examples of EULAs online. Additionally, you should spend a fair amount of time creating your marketing and promotional materials, including screenshots, and marketing text. Next, you want to configure your app. This is the precursor to actually compiling the final build for upload.
When you're configuring your app, first and foremost you want to make sure you've got a good solid name. Once the app is distributed you can't change the name. You can set the name in the manifest file of your project. You will need to disable any logging and debugging options in your code. This includes deleting calls to Log() methods, removing Android:debuggable attributes, as well as any tracing calls. To ensure proper compiling make certain the project directory is clean without any orphan files.
You'll also need to update your manifest permissions, icons, and version parameters, if required. Of course, you should ensure that your app is compatible across all desired devices, covering multiple screens, and tablets. And you'll want to be positive that any external URLs access are the correct production ones. Finally, if your app is a commercial one, you should implement Google Play Licensing, so you can control access. The last preparatory step is to actually create your build.
If you're developing your project with Eclipse and the ADT plug-in, and you've completed all your other preparation, this is pretty much a breeze. Let's go over to Eclipse, so I show you how to kick it off. In Eclipse, I have my Project Explorer showing, and my project Jelly Bean One is selected. I'll go up to File > Export. In the Export dialog box I want to twirl open Android, and then choose Export Android Application, and click Next.
Once the project check is complete, if there are no errors found, you can go ahead and click Next. From here you just follow the rest of the steps in the Wizard. Because I have not created a digitally signed certificate for Jelly Bean One, our little test app, this is as far as I can go. Once the export Wizard has been completed, your app will be compiled, signed, and ready for distribution, which we'll cover in the next lesson.
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