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Monday, 7 November 2011

Developing an AR application, where to begin?

In deciding to develop my very first AR application, I decided to go mobile - on the Android platform (iOS is on the drawing board but not for some time yet...). After a month of research and writing demo programs to learn the basics of various things I came to realise I had a bunch of information in my head gathered from many sources in a rather haphazard manner. I decided to take a little break from coding and reading, and instead spend some time gathering my thoughts and experiences into a somewhat organized structure by writing a blog.


I intend to go forward writing articles in the order of the different problems and challenges I have faced so far and will no doubt face in the future. I'm hoping the end result of this order will serve as a kind of learning guide to other people who are in the same boat as me - wanting to program augmented reality applications but  not sure how or where to begin. For others who are already experienced in various areas, perhaps there will be at least one article, or maybe even a small section of info which one of your Google searches will stumble upon and help you solve whatever problem it is that is plaguing you at that point in time.


Programming AR on Android - A Beginner's Guide


Why Android?


If you're like me, you know Java, have a rusty knowledge of C (which I haven't really touched in about 5 years) and a desire to learn about C++. I do know others like Perl, PHP etc but they aren't going to be much help here are they ;-)


Considering the fact I haven't got past writing a simple GUI'ed Hello World equivalent in Objective C for iPhones, I decided to spend my limited time on hardcore AR stuff rather than learning a new language with weird syntax at the same time. So for me, the choice of wanting to develop a smartphone application that was AR based was simple - do it on Android.


How to write Android apps?


Re-inventing the wheel by covering the fundamentals of Android programming is outside the scope of this blog. I haven't been programming for Android that long myself, having only written a few incomplete prototype apps that focused on bluetooth, GPS and Google Map functionality. 


Trust me when I say it doesn't take long to learn the basics to start writing Android apps and then finding out the rest Googling as ya go. If you already know what Activities and Intentions are (in the context of the Android SDK framework, not the evil politically motivated kind!) then I say go for it; starting Android AR hacking right away!


For those of you who really are new to writing Android apps (but at least know rudimentary Java) then here's a good starting point: Android tutorials with sample code

OK, enough chitter chatter, I wanna start already!


From now on I'll try and keep my posts concise and focus on only a specific topic or related topics per post. Lessons will start in the next blog posting.

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