Should you localize your app in different dialects?

Photo from www.cellphones.ca

The Philippines – The texting capital of the world may soon to get a huge upgrade when it comes to smartphone usage in the coming years.

Why?

Because smartphones are getting cheaper each month. Local smartphone vendors like My Phone and Cherry Mobile are actively releasing new devices, making old Android devices cheaper. Who would have thought that in 2014, you can actually buy a smartphone for less than 2,000 pesos?

And since low end devices are getting cheaper, we can’t deny that Android 2.3 is still important if you want to target the 1/4 of the pie. And different players are trying to battle the low-end segment of the market. Just look how Mozilla and Nokia are working very hard to conquer that space.

With that saying, would you localize your app in different dialects in the Philippines? Should you even bother?

Maybe you should?

I’m guessing that majority of the Filipinos who are buying these low-end devices might have been their first time to access the internet on a mobile device and are somewhat new to the “App culture” we are enjoying with our smartphones.

The problem.

If you want to localize an app, the usual problem is.. Where do you start? If you have the money to outsource, who do you hire? And if you’re on a tight budget, what tools/libraries can i use to translate my app to different dialects?

So localization is a challenging task to work on, specially if you want to target the “Masa” and reach the next million filipinos. But it’s really exciting to see some new players focusing on this part of the mobile revolution.

And who knows? We might see some published apps gets the dialect update that will bring Kapampangan, Bisaya and Chavacano in your favorite local apps.

If you’re developing an app, or have developed an app that focus on bringing innovations to the masses, will localization be on your top list of To-do’s?

Send an SMS using SMART DevNet’s API Console

SMART DevNet has opened up their API together with the SMART API Console (Powered by APIGEE) last December 2013 for everyone to use, for free. Right now, everyone will get an access to their FREEMIUM API which means you can only send an SMS using your SMART mobile number. It’s not bad if you want to try out the API and get started developing an app or website service that offers an SMS/MMS feature.

At the end of this post, you will learn how to:

  • Create your own SMART DevNet account
  • Register an app/website name and bind your SMART number with that app
  • Get to know your App’s API information
  • Hack the API Console

You will need:

  • A SMART powered phone (I used my SMART Prepaid number. I haven’t personally tried Talk N’ Text, SUN or RED Mobile)
  • Your favorite text editor (I used Notepad during my first trials of the API Console)
  • Your favorite web browser (I used Firefox *wink*)

Follow these steps!

Step 1: Visit http://developer.smart.com.ph

step1From here you can register for a SMART DevNet account and get to read some API docs, register an app and try out the API Console. On the top of the page, click the red “Register” button to get started.

Step 2: Fill out the forms

step2

You can also register using your Facebook or Google account. Still hoping for http://persona.org support in the future =p

Step 3: Log-in

Once logged in, just click the “Freemium API’s” option in the top menu navigation.

Step 4: Create an app

Step4You will be needing a SMART Prepaid/Postpaid number here.

step5

Take note, you can’t change your Smart mobile number once you’ve confirmed that number during the app’s registration.

Also you can’t change your app’s name. The only information you can always change in your app is your callback URL.

Step 5: Your App’s Dashboard

testappIf you have been successful in the past steps, then you can finally take a peek at your Application’s dashboard. This dashboard holds the information that you will use in the API Console.

You will copy and paste some information from this dashboard to the API console.

Step 6: Using the API Console: OAuth Authorize

step1

Click the left arrow in the API console to open the console drawer, and select OAuth Authorize.

In the QUERY tab, you will find:

  • client_id
  • client_secret
  • scope
  • redirect_uri
  • response_type

Now, match the form using the information from your Application’s dashboard:

  • Consumer key
  • Consumer secret key
  • Put “SMS” without the “
  • Callback URL in this format: www.YOURDOMAIN.com/callbackurl ( You will observe that i have removed the HTTP and /)
  • Leave it as it is.

And press SEND. This will generate a hyperlink in the response window. Open a new tab in your browser and paste that generated hyperlink, then you will be redirected to a page where you will input the mobile number you’ve used in the app registration (Don’t have a my.Smart account).

It will ask for yet another confirmation code. Once you got that right, it will redirect you to another page and will ask for authorization. Just click the “Allow button” and again, will redirect you to another page. But this time, you will get “PAGE NOT FOUND” error.

(Note: What’s with the “PAGE NOT FOUND” ? It’s because for the sake of the demo, i’m not using a REAL callback URL thus this is the system’s reaction on fake callback links. If you’re working on a real app, you must provide a working Callback URL.)

canvas

You will notice this paragraph:
The requested page “/www.smart.com.ph%3Fscope%3DSMS%26state%3Dnull%26code%3DXXXXXXXX” could not be found.
Copy and paste the code after the %3D… This code will be useful in the next step. (WARNING: DO NOT INCLUDE THE %3D in your code, just the characters AFTER and before ” is YOUR code.)
Save that code in your favorite text editor as Code: XXXXXXXX.
Step 7: Getting your token

Now that you have your code,  hover your mouse to TOOLS > and click API CONSOLE then it will redirect the page to the API Console. Now press the arrow button to open the console drawer and press “OAuth Get Access Token”

step2

In the QUERY tab, you will find:

  • client_id
  • client_secret
  • scope
  • redirect_uri
  • grant_type
  • code

Similar to the first QUERY tab, match the form using the information from your Application’s dashboard:

  • Consumer key
  • Consumer secret key
  • Put “SMS” without the “
  • Callback URL in this format: www.YOURDOMAIN.com ( You will observe that i have removed the HTTP and /)
  • Leave it as it is.
  • Code (Remember that we saved that code in our notepad? Just get the 8 character code and paste it)

Now press “SEND

The response window will generate a JSON data. We will only need this:

{
  "OAuth20": {
    "access_token": {
      "token": "<TOKEN GENERATED>",
      "refresh_token": "<TOKEN GENERATED>",
      "expires_in": "<TOKEN EXPIRATION>"
    }
  }
}

We will only need the TOKEN code in the next step.

Take Note: Every information generated in this JSON file is important. We will only use the TOKEN code for demo purposes.

Step 8: Send SMS

Now, press f5 on your keyboard to reload the page. Once reloaded, open the console drawer and select “Send SMS

step3

In the TEMPLATE tab and change the senderAddress information to SMS Access Code (This code can be found in your app’s dashboard)

Select the HEADERS tab and change the Authorization information to: Bearer <SPACE> TOKEN

Now select the BODY tab and select the TEXT field and find this text and change the values to:

  • senderAddress“: “<CHANGE THIS INFO TO YOUR SMS ACCESS CODE>”,
  • message“: “Hello SMART DevNet! It works!

and press “SEND

You will receive an SMS within 30 seconds. If nothing happens then…

  1. You’re not following the instructions.
  2. Network delays
  3. Server delays

But as you can see, it works.

Screenshot_2014-02-07-17-33-54Congratulations! You have successfully sent an SMS using SMART DevNet’s API Console!!! Now what?

BONUS STEP: Confirm if the SMS request was sent successfully.

step4

Save the JSON data generated from “Send SMS”:

“resourceURL”: “http://121.54.0.202:8080/1/smsmessaging/outbound/XXXXXX/requests/10XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”

Open the console drawer and select “Send SMS

Select the TEMPLATE tab and change the

  • senderAddress to your Apps’ SMS ACCESS CODE.
  • requestId to the link generated from the JSON file. It’s usually the longest number in the link.

Select the HEADERS tab and change the

  • Authorization to BEARER <SPACE> TOKEN

and press “SEND

If you see this JSON data on the Response window:

"deliveryInfoList": { "resourceURL": "http://121.54.0.202:8080/1/smsmessaging/outbound/requests/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX/deliveryInfos", "deliveryInfo": [ { "address": "6392XXXXXXXX", "deliveryStatus": "DeliveredToTerminal" } ]

Then we can say that your SMS was sent successfully! AWW YEAH!

That’s it! At first, the console may be tricky but you will get it at the long run.

And oh, if you’re looking for a SMART PREMIUM API or have any questions in mind about their API, you may want to send an e-mail to the DevNet team: appspartner@smart.com.ph

Join the SMART Developer Network facebook group here.

Line is now available in the Firefox Marketplace!

If you’re a proud owner of a Firefox OS phone, then you can actually download Line by Naver in the Firefox Marketplace for FREE! Right now!

And without further ado, i’ve downloaded and used the app in a flash. If you’ve used LINE on the iPhone before then you will feel right home using it because the User Interface on the Firefox OS version is somewhat similar to what the iOS version can offer.

The app itself is lightweight and it’s just a < 2 MB download away. That makes sense because Firefox OS has been designed to cater emerging markets which means they may have slower internet connection compared to first world countries.

Not bad if you have a stable < 2MB connection.

There are built-in stickers that you can use out of the box to send it to one of your friends. Initiate a Group chat. But the app doesn’t offer calls right now. And also, as you expect Video call is not supported yet. You can’t share location yet. No audio message to bother your friends.

But the app works flawlessly and has push notification that works! So it’s not that bad. And it’s actually useful. And hopefully, naver will still bring us more feature  to future versions as time goes by.

So if you have a Firefox device right now, head on to this link and download Line by Naver.

The beauty and art of ensuring quality – The lessons learned about RaincheckPH

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle

The christmas day is almost near and i’m actually writing this blogpost, the day after we had our christmas party at Voyager Innovations Inc. But in my case, it’s my first christmas party in a corporate world.

And that has nothing to do with quality. But in the last few weeks, the whole team behind RaincheckPH is hard at work ensuring that the app will NOT just work, but the goal here is to ensure that the app has to be stable, information displayed are accurate and should delight the user when they use it.

It might be easy to say that, specially on a blogpost like this but it’s really not. Delivering high quality software is a matter of working harmoniously with different people who shares the same vision with the whole team. I’ve learned a lot since then and i would love to share you the lessons learned while doing Q.A at RaincheckPH.

Don’t settle for less, do what it is right.

Doing Q.A needs a lot of patience. I mean it A LOT. The task itself is repetitive, and you don’t end with just one try. If you think that there is something wrong, report it. Don’t assume that the user will not notice it because eventually, they will.

It’s easy to discuss the smallest things discovered by YOU, rather than discussing the fault with the team coming from the END USER. Because what you will ship today will be judged according to “stars” coming from different users all over the country – or even the whole world.

Be the first user, over and over again.

I’ve been testing RaincheckPH on my personal test devices. In my case, i have two Android phones with one running Gingerbread (Android 2.3) and one running Jelly Bean (4.1) and i can say that ever since i’ve been involved on this project, i’ve been carrying two phones. My BlackBerry Z10 and my Jelly Bean phone (that was actually intended for testing apps but ended up as my second phone).

Why?

Because i wanted to “Feel” that i am the user, even if i am aware of what to do from the first place. I always wanted to experience that amazing feeling of excitement and curiosity, the way a user feels when he downloaded a new app. And i always wanted to feel that way over and over again when testing a certain app.

Be inspired

My inspiration would be the future. It may sounds funny, but think about it. You are working on app that will touch the lives of a million user. Who knows? It may change the way they look at technology. It may change their lifestyle. The way they navigate from day to day – and it all starts with YOU.

There are other ways to get inspired. But it’s only you who will discover it.

And lastly,

Enjoy

Because being inspired alone will not work. Because in reality, what you enjoy today will be your hobby tomorrow.

I hope you learned something new today! Go ship great apps and change the world!

Reboot: Twitter

Yesterday, i’ve decided to retire my 4 years old twitter account and start a new one from scratch. It took me a couple of months to decide whether to continue a new one or just keep my already established twitter account and enjoy what i’ve been doing for the past 4 years. But, then again. I do have enough reasons to start a new one. And it has nothing to do with any of my employer or organizations that i am involved with.

I’ve been using Twitter, the wrong way. So we need to move on.

I started twitter before i entered college. I do tweet and retweet a LOT and i even almost reached 85,000 tweets in just 4 years. Those were the good days where i can freely express who i am, and say i wanted to say. It’s almost similar to a real time diary. And just came to realize at one point that, i’ve been using twitter the wrong way.

It’s all different now. Lately i’ve been doing technical talks and workshops, and i believe most of my followers came from those developer events. For me, twitter is a great place to share and get information from different people. And i somewhat believe that my followers followed me because of what i do now. Clearly, i just wanted to get things straight and deliver content that is relevant to everyone.

It’s still the same me, minus the clutter of the past. We all grow up and goes to the point that we mature and move on. :)

Babble Messenger: The filipino mobile messenger that is worth checking out

So recently i’ve started my Internship at Voyager Innovations Inc (A Subsidiary of Smart Communications Inc) and from there i’ve discovered that they have built a mobile messaging app called Babble Messenger.

Babble Messenger is a filipino made mobile messenger ready to take the IM titans like WeChat from China, Viber from Cyprus, KakaoTalk from South Korea, WhatsApp from the U.S.A, BBM from Canada and Line by Naver from Japan.

Here are some cool features to try in Babble:

Babble is a realtime mobile messaging app which allows you to send unlimited messages for FREE.

ᗚ GROUP CHAT – Chat with all your friends at once! Join groups or create your own.

ᗚ SECRET MESSAGING – Send messages to your friends and watch them disappear, leaving no trace!

ᗚ JOIN CHATROOMS- Find & make new friends. Meet random people and talk about absolutely anything!

ᗚ NEW CHATROOM FEATURES- Send PRIVATE MESSAGES to fellow chatroom users, or IGNORE pesky users.

ᗚ SEND PHOTOS & VIDEOS – Attach photos & videos and send them instantly to your friends or groups

ᗚ EMOJI & STICKERS – Make messaging fun! Use Emoji & Stickers to express yourself!

ᗚ VOICE CHAT – Send audio notes to friends or groups with just a click of the button.

ᗚ AUTO BUDDY MATCHING- Your Address Book contacts who have Babble installed will automatically appear.

Similar to Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat, Line, KakaoTalk.

Babble is available to download for FREE on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Firefox OS Challenge for Students

Firefox OS Challenge for Students is the first hackathon organized by the Mozilla Philippines Community that focuses on starting up a new breed of innovative apps in the Firefox Marketplace.

All participants here are students from different colleges and universities and that they are allowed to code within 7 hours but that didn’t stop them from making “Kids Education” themed apps. The theme also aligns with the “FSA App of the Month” where Firefox Student Ambassadors all around the world hack and submit awesome apps to the Firefox Marketplace.

There were 9 teams who joined this hackathon and they are:

  1. Team Bangan from UST.
  2. Team Tams from FEU Makati.
  3. Team apt-get from PUP Manila.
  4. Team Hatee-ho from UE Manila and Letran Calamba
  5. Team Maiteam from Technological Institute of the Philippines.
  6. Team Red Coders from San Beda College, Manila.
  7. Team arCOSSine from UP Los Banos, Laguna.
  8. Team COSSine from UP Los Banos, Laguna.
  9. Team Alpha³ from University of the Philippines,Manila

And ALL of the teams had pitched their apps for 3 minutes and after that, there is an interaction with the panel of judges for 2 minutes who then gave creative ideas and suggestions to even make the experience of the participants apps more awesome to the end users!

These panel of judges are all Pinoy Mozilla Reps and they are:

  1. Eusebio Barrun
  2. Robert ‘Bob’ Reyes
  3. Kathrine Faye Tandog
  4. Joell Lapitan
  5. Kevin Ventura

All apps are judged based on the following criteria:

  • Design – “Is the user interface design compliments the purpose of an app?”
  • Usability – “Is the app user friendly to the end user?”
  • Presentation – “Have they presented the app clear to the judges?”
  • Innovation – “What makes this app unique among others, and why this app is a game changer?”
  • Relevance - “Is the app aligns with the hackathon theme?”

and we are proud to say that the judges had selected the top three apps and also the winners for this hackathon:

  1. Team COSSine with the app “Lets do da Math”
  2. Team Bangan with the app “Binary Game”
  3. Team Red Coders with the app “Math Catapault”

All winners had received a cash prize from our supporter Globe Labs and an shinny new Firefox swags to take home!

Congratulations guys! We hope to see everyone’s apps on the Firefox Marketplace in the future!

We’d also like to thank all of our Firefox Student Ambassadors and Mozillian supporters who volunteered to make this event possible!

You can check out more pictures of this event from our official Flickr set.

FSA Leaders Camp Philippines 2013: It was fun!

Being an FSA Lead is a challenging yet rewarding role. They are the people who are willing to contribute to the Mozilla project while doing their part being a college student.

And so the Mozilla Philippines Community has organised the first FSA Leaders Camp in Laguna. Since we heard that this event will be the first Leaders Camp not only in the Philippines but in the whole history of the Firefox Student Ambassadors Program, me and the Mozilla Philippines Developer Team made a companion app for Firefox OS and Android to compliment this event, and of course the app is built entirely using Web Technologies and i’ve used Apache Cordova in order for me to port it to Android.

It was a fun weekend full of challenges, games and lessons that teaches everyone how to become an efficient leader, and i must say, even if i’m already a Mozilla Rep, i learned a lot.

Besides of having fun interacting with other FSA Leads, the ReMos also conducted an overview of Mozilla products and projects and each ReMo has their own specialties to discuss and share their experiences with the FSA Leads.

To sum it all, everyone enjoyed the camp and i hope our leads are inspired enough to contribute more to the Mozilla Project together with their respective Firefox Clubs.  More power to everyone at the Mozilla Philippines Community! :)

 

Geeksphone Peak+ delayed until end of november, offers Peak instead.

For those pre-ordered a Peak+ recently got an e-mail from Geeksphone for yet another delay, this time their customers have to wait until the end of november for their devices to ship because due to supplies issue.

For those who are itching to get a high end Firefox OS Smartphone, they can simply ask to get a Peak instead and have it shipped immediately and get a $20 refund. So what’s the difference between a Peak and the Peak+? The Peak+ has 1GB of RAM while the Peak only sports 512MB and the Peak+ comes with a digital compass.

Here’s a transcript of that e-mail:

Dear Geeksphone user:

In our last communication we announced, to our regret, a delay in the delivery of the first batch of Peak+, that you’ve already pre-booked by paying a preferential price.

At that time we mentioned the complicated situation concerning the supply chain in the industry. This plight, despite all measures taken to minimize its effect, has been more harmful than expected.

The current situation in addition to the quality controls we impose to all our products, makes that the estimation for Peak+ availability is at the end of November

This announcement gives us great concern ahead of the responsibility we have to all those who have trusted Geeksphone, not only in terms of acquiring a terminal, but also for supporting our young brand. This forces us to adopt a commitment to complete transparency with you all.

Therefore, with the intention of giving an early solution, we have decided to output a new batch of the Peak model as we think it is very important that all the energy which is being born around Firefox OS, an operating system based on the Open Web, continues to develop.

As a matter of fact, all users who pre-booked the Peak+ and would like a Peak instead, may contact us at peakrequest@geeksphone.com. In that case we will ship it immediately, through priority courrier. In addition you will get a refund of 20 U$ (15€) at your credit card account. (*)

(*) This offer will remain open until end of stock.

We hope that this initiative can satisfy those of you who want to have a unique device which represents the beginning of a revolution in the world of mobility.

The whole Geeksphone team is grateful for your support

For me, we can’t really blame all to Geeksphone on this issue because if you compare them with other OEMs, they are a small company with a big passion to change the current smartphone industry.

If you’re one of those who pre-ordered, are you still willing to wait? Or just grab the opportunity to get a Peak instead? Let me know in the comments.

Meet the first top ten filipino made Firefox OS apps you can use today!

We cannot deny the fact that Firefox OS has a great developer interest in the country. Many of the local developers from different fields are joining our official Dev Group on Facebook to get an insight about the latest news and events related to Firefox OS.

But… how about the consumers? You’ll be surprised that even at Toycon 2013, i am getting questions like “When will Firefox OS launch locally?” or “Is Firefox OS something to look forward to?” from a consumer that came from a non-tech industry field! How awesome is that?

And since January and up to this date, we have successfully conducted 3 App Days from different places in the country and 2 Firefox OS Apps Development Workshops in top universities in Manila and of course, our countless lightning talks that promotes Firefox OS in different parts of the country.

Lo and behold, we are pleased to announce the first top 10 Firefox OS apps that has been approved in the Firefox Marketplace:

  1. Raffle Hat
  2. NS Converter
  3. My Holy Rosary
  4. My Aksyon
  5. Pixel Test (You have to switch to countries that supports payments to see this app)
  6. Leaders PH
  7. BMI Calc
  8. TicTacToe
  9. Game of Luck
  10. MozPH Memory Game

OUR BASIS: We gathered this information from the Mozilla PH Developer Community and does not in anyway represent accurate statistics (on who came first) from the Firefox Marketplace.

Let this be an inspiration to other filipino developers to get started making or porting their apps right now! This is truly the best time to explore the platform and launch an app!

How can you try this apps without a phone, you say? You can download and use the Firefox OS Simulator (Add-on) and use it along side with your Firefox browser. Cool, right? :)

If you need developer support, you can always ask for help at our developer group or follow @MozillaHacks on twitter.

Recently approved Firefox OS app? E-mail me your app’s Name, description and Marketplace link to: aaroncajes [at] MozillaPH [dot] org

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