Tren: Behind the scenes

I want to talk about “Behind the scenes” of Tren, my newest app that you can download for free on Google Play, Windows Phone Marketplace and Firefox Marketplace.

When did you started developing Tren?

Tren is a weekend app. I started planning and coding the mock-ups on March 28 2014 (Friday). Worked really hard on each feature on March 29-30 (Saturday and Sunday) and sunday night, i already have the alpha app for testing. My friends are my guinea pigs (and i love them, truly they have an eye for quality). And on Monday, i have been busy testing the BETA app for release. Making sure that the app won’t crash on my device, and won’t make my testers unhappy.

And on April 1 2014, tren has finally launched in Google Play. It’s a living proof that April Fools Day is not only just for pranks. 😛

Why did you focused on developing Tren?

I have a LOT of app ideas in my mind. But these ideas are needed to be cultured, it needs to be planned. A perfect way to launch an app is timing and research. I think it’s the best time to launch a train guide to serve better my fellow countrymen and the fact that  the growing need for info app focusing on public transportation is becoming a necessity.

Why is the CCTV feature NOT built-in on the app?

I’ve been getting the same question right before i’ve launched the app. It’s simply because it’s MRT’s property. I don’t like the idea of serving a feature and have to sneak on their system just to make that feature work. I respect the whole organization. But if ever they would offer an API access for third party developers, like me. I’ll be more willing to cooperate.

Are you seeking partnership?

Yes. Specially if the offer would really benefit the users. If you have a proposal, you can E-mail me instead.

Is Tren really FREE? How do you earn?

Tren will always be FREE to use. I’ll earn through Google’s Ads. I’ll use the money to buy me some coffee. Or a small meal when i’m hungry coding.

Why is iOS not supported from Day 1?

Technical stuff. But hopefully, i would launch an “Up-to-date” version of the app at the end of the year.

That’s it! I hope you liked reading this behind the scene post. I’d like to thank a good friend Bea Fel, My mom, My Uncle and all of my friends who helped and supported my app. I appreciate all of your efforts! You guys are awesome!

Introducing Tren: Your guide to manila transit

What was your first train trip felt like?

We all have this first train trip experience. I bet before your first trip was all excitement and expectations. Everyone does. But it all goes down to the frequently asked questions before that awesome experience. And possibly, you may have asked these questions yourself:

What are the next few stations before we reach our destination?

How much would a single journey ticket cost?

I’ve been riding different train stations everyday for the last 5 years and i’m still asking some of those questions. Not until, i made Tren.

I’m a commuter myself. I love riding the train! And i want an app that would help me with my ride. I want instant answers when i needed the most. So that’s the main reason i started tren in the first place.

What can Tren do for me?

Tren was created for commuters like YOU and ME. It was crafted to answer quickly. We don’t usually ask train questions, but when the time we needed to. That’s when we needed the answers FAST.

From the planning stage, i want tren to…

  • List the stations on a certain train line (LRT 1 & 2, MRT 3 and PNR)
  • List the daily operation schedule of each train line
  • Solve the train metric fare for you
  • Some train reminders
  • …and contact information from every train line you ride.

And i’ve also included a link from the official CCTV  of MRT-3, so you can take a peak at the current condition of a station before you take a ride. Pretty sweat, right? :)

And most of all, this app is FREE. Free to use, feel free to love. Share the good news to your friends and family who are also commuting via train!

What’s next for Tren?

Tren doesn’t stop at this version. It’s a continuous work. I’ve made a solid roadmap for the app and looking forward for the right steps ahead. But for now, you can always count on tren. :)

TREN is available for download at these platforms:

Tren for Android

Tren for Windows Phone 8

Tren for Firefox Marketplace

Tren for iOS is currently in the works and will be released soon.

If you liked it, don’t forget to rate it. If you need technical support or if you want to suggest a feature, kindly email us at: thetrenapp[at]gmail[dot]com.

Preparing for a BlackBerry Workshop: Installing BlackBerry WebWorks tools!

Usually when attending a “Technical” Workshop and or seminar, you have to have your tools installed in order for the event speaker at a certain seminar to save time from technical things and more time for the awesome part, which is coding (or hacking, or whatever you prefer).

This guide will show you how to use install BlackBerry WebWorks tools on your computer. I assume you’re using Windows. Luckily, if you’re using other platforms like: Mac or Linux, BlackBerry has a deeper yet easy to learn technical guide here:

(for Mac)

(for Linux)


I also assume that you’re computer is running on Windows 8 (64-Bit), because a lot of people (On my experience) are using the same type of machine but others can easily follow this guide.

1.)  Installing tools for BlackBerry 10

Simulators & Emulators

BlackBerry WebWorks has TWO testing software: The browser based extension (which is Ripple Simulator, take note: RIPPLE not NIPPLE lol) and the other one is a full featured Virtual Machine Emulator. Both emulator/simulators are useful at their own unique way.

Ripple is the best simulator when it comes to testing your apps U.I by just refreshing the browser. (Think of it like a design mode, but on a browser) While the

VM Simulator works best if you want to emulate your application on a real O.S without having to own a real PlayBook tablet and finally,

Owning a PlayBook Tablet/BB10 Alpha Device (A & B): The best way to test your apps. No questions asked. LOL

How to install Ripple Simulator

Ripple is a web based extension used for testing WebWorks apps. Like the real web browser in BB10/PlayBook it uses the same rendering engine: WebKit. So if you’re not using Google Chrome, you need to use it now.

1.) Download Google Chrome

2.) Download the Ripple Emulator

3.) Open Chrome > Open this link: chrome://chrome/extensions/ > Check the “Developer mode” checkbox > Drag & Drop Ripple to Chrome wait until a modal box appears and then drop, there will be a long time of pause that usually takes 2-3 minutes and then voila! Ripple has been installed)


How to install the BB10/PlayBook  Emulators:

General rule:

These emulators are both Virtual meaning they run simultaneously with your current Operating System. This emulator is somewhat heavy compared to Ripple but still useful if you want to test your apps “Virtually” So here are the steps you need to install this emulator:

Step 1: Download VM Player (It’s free and LEGAL lol)

Step 2: Download and Install the emulators:

Download BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Beta 3

Download for PlayBook (The emulator is included in the SDK, so you don’t have to :) )

 Setting up the Simulator:

Step 1: Launch the VM Player

Step 2: Install the BB10 Simulator

Step 3: Open the BlackBerry10Simulator.vmx from where you installed the simulator.

(For the PlayBook, it’s located at: C:\Program Files (x86)\Research In Motion\BlackBerry WebWorks SDK for TabletOS x.x.x.x\bbwp\blackberry-tablet-sdk\BlackBerryPlayBookSimulator-x.x.x and look for BlackBerryPlayBookSimulator.vmx)

Important Note: IF you’re experiencing Java related errors when opening the .exe files you need to download the 32-Bit version of JDK. I repeat: INSTALL THE 32-BIT VERSION AND NOT THE 64-BIT VERSION.

You can download the JDK here.

After installing the JDK, you have to update your environment variables, here’s how:

1.) go to Control panel > Systems and Security >System

2.) On the left side click the “Advanced system settings”

3.) (A new window will appear) Click the “Environment Variables”

4.) (A new window will appear… Again) Look for “System Variables” and click “new”

Variable Name: JAVA_HOME

Variable Value: YOUR 32-BIT JAVA FOLDER HERE. (Example: C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jdk1.7.0_09)

Take Note: JDK != JRE. So you have to be careful.

Find the “path” variable and insert this code at the end of the long list of strings in the path’s var value: %JAVA_HOME%\bin;

Click OK and OK.

To test if you have the latest JDK: Open cmd.exe on run. Type: java -version

If the response has the same version of JDK you have installed and configured then you’re doing it right.

 Also an Important Note: If you’re using Windows 8 PRO all the installers (event the BlackBerry 10/PlayBook SDK’s) must be in Compatibility mode to Windows 7 and has administrative privileges.


Installing the BlackBerry 10 & PlayBook SDK

Step 1: Download BB10 SDK

No sweat! But… If you want to install the PlayBook SDK you have to do these:

1.) Download Adobe Air SDK (You can get it here

2.) Download the BlackBerry PlayBook SDK

When installing the P.B’s SDK you have to point Adobe Air’s SDK. That’s important because the installation will NOT proceed if it’s not pointed at Air’s SDK.


What about IDE’s? Well you can download Eclipse Classic or just use Notepad++

That’s it! I hope you can use this as a guide to install these important tools. These instructions will help the speaker save more time and focus more on the important topics to be discussed on that day. You can also play with the tools you’ve just installed by following BlackBerry’s awesome documentation for WebWorks available right here.

Questions? Comments? Please write a comment below. :)

A touch of Responsive Web Apps

The “Touch” Revolution

When the first iPhone was announced, Steve Jobs also announced to developers that they don’t need to learn a new language just to make apps because the iPhone can run “Web Apps” or a.k.a “Web 2.0” and stated that you can use the available web technologies to make apps. (Yes, the first iPhone doesn’t have an app store either) that runs on Safari. But things changed when Apple officially announced an official SDK to make “Native Apps” and also the rise of the “App Store” revolution and everything changed since then.

The HTML5 Revolution


Steve doesn’t like flash. And said that “New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too).” thus the beginning of the “HTML5” revolution.

It’s 2012 and years after the first iPhone was released the web has grown and a lot of companies supported HTML5. But it didn’t stop there.

Then came PhoneGap created by Nitobi which then was acquired by Adobe. So What is PhoneGap? I let Wikipedia do the talking:

It enables software programmers to build applications for mobile devices using JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3, instead of device specific languages such as Objective-C.[7] The resulting applications are hybrid, meaning that they are neither truly native (because all layout rendering is done via web views instead of the platform’s native UI framework) nor purely web-based (because they are not just web apps, but are packaged as apps for distribution and have access to native device APIs).

(Other than PhoneGap, there are lots of tools that does the same thing which i will not mention, but you can google it.)

And a lot of companies like Mozilla, Microsoft, Nokia and BlackBerry now supports web technologies to make native web apps.

Let me highlight these words: “Web” + “Apps” + “Browser”

Building Web Apps is no different from building a website. If you know how to build your website using HTML5 and know responsive web design then you’ll have to adjust to the platform you want to work on. But if you haven’t, you might want to open your favorite search engine and start learning now. :)

Seriously, learning a new language is hard but it’s harder when you try to code without understanding what that code actually does for you. One effective way  is to learn and write code. Understand first and apply. Trust me, it’s easier to code when you know what to do.

And a little motivation should do the trick!

Don’t forget JavaScript!

JavaScript is the programming language made not just for the web but also for all the devices that runs a browser. A LOT of platform uses JavaScript just to operate a certain task like Firefox OS, BlackBerry’s WebWorks and WebOS heavily relies on that, so you have to understand and learn JavaScript!

Explore. Make. Deliver.

Explore new technologies, frameworks and other stuff that could help you deliver that next big thing! Make the best choice and focus. Deliver!

Thoughts about Windows Phone 8

Okay, let’s face the truth: All current line of Windows Phone 7 WILL NOT get the Windows Phone 8 update. But that DOESN’T mean that your current phone WILL NOT be updated in the future.

The thing is, your phone will be updated IF your phone manufacturer wants to push an update for your device or not, clearly the future of your phone is now on the hands of the OEM, and not Microsoft.

You may be wondering why Microsoft didn’t supported the current generation line of Windows Phone, well to make it short, the upcoming OS has been built from ground up to support new hardware features like: A Multiple core processor support, MicroSD support, NFC, and a native experience for apps and games (Since WP8 will be sharing some codes with Windows 8, in technical terms, they’re both built from Windows NT) and other things that AREN’T compatible with your current device.

To be honest, the current generation of Windows Phone is fast enough to help you do the things you needed to do. You only want to have a multiple core support if you want to play games with extreme performance a.k.a native experience. I also admire the current line of WP having no MicroSD support, but since Microsoft would like to battle android, symbian 40 and the upcoming Firefox OS on the feature phone arena, they have added MicroSD.

So.. In the end of the day, it’s a Win-Win situation. You have a faster phone to do the things you need to do in life and when the time has come for you to upgrade, and still want a Windows Phone, you’ll be benefiting from the awesome hardware features that Microsoft has to offer.

Let me know what you think on the comment section below. Thanks for reading! :)

Developing for Microsoft. The good parts.

Last month, i decided to learn C# FULL TIME. (It took me weeks to decide though)

So why the hell did i do that? Well.. Here are my thoughts about Microsoft and their technologies:

1.) C# + .NET Framework  to rule them all!

We all know that Microsoft owns Windows. And they have their own popular game console: Xbox (and its companion: Kinect). A new emerging smartphone platform: Windows Phone (Plus the recent partnership with Nokia). Conquer the web with ASP.NET PLUS a cloud service named: Azure. And the exciting release of Windows 8 + WindowsRT for tablets(Rumors that Nokia will also make a tablet, based on WindowsRT). All of them are using a common programming language:C#. It’s really hard to learn a new programming language, but with C# it seems to be rewarding.

2.) Silverlight – C#’s Companion

So what’s silverlight? Here’s Microsoft definition about it:

Microsoft Silverlight is a powerful tool for creating and delivering rich Internet applications and media experiences on the Web. Silverlight 5 builds on the foundation of Silverlight 4 for building business applications and premium media experiences. Silverlight 5 introduces more than 40 new features, including dramatic video quality and performance improvements as well as features that improve developer productivity.

And it’s the same technology you’ll use with the upcoming Windows 8 and the current Windows Phone to develop awesome apps!

P.S: If you’re building games, you can use XNA. Like Silverlight, it works perfectly on Windows Phone, XBox and Windows.

3.) Windows Users are still high

Yes, you read it right. There’s A LOT of Windows users out their, and the numbers are pretty high. Would you miss the opportunity on developing apps for the next billion? 😉

Sure there’s a lot of great things we can do for Windows and there’s still more features to come. I hope and believe that Microsoft is working hard to make everything integrated and better for users and developers.

Have you developing for Windows? What are your positive experience? (You can also include the negative ones, as this can also help microsoft to improve their products)