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EGMaps – Publish Your New App

Congratulations!  You’ve collected your data, built your app, tested it, and now you’re ready to share it with the world.  You’re nearly there.

Capture some screen shots

You can’t publish your app without people being able to see it.  You’ll need at least two images and, if you can, get images on different size devices, too, ideally a phone and a tablet.  There are two ways to do this.

  1. While your Android is hooked up to the computer and running your new app:
    1. In Eclipse, click on the DDMS button in the upper-right corner.
    2. In the Devices window, click on your device.
    3. With the screen exactly the way you want it, click on the camera icon at the top of the Devices window.
    4. Click on the Save button and save the image to the location of your choice.
  2. While your Android isn’t hooked up to the computer:
    1. In your app, move so the screen is exactly what you want.
    2. At the same time, press and hold the power and volume down buttons on your Android.  After you’ve held it for 1-2 seconds, you’ll hear a camera shutter and the screen will momentarily resize.  The screenshot is stored in your Android’s gallery, just like any photos you take with your Android.

If you’re hooked up to your computer, or even if you’re not, but you’re not at the location you want the current location marker to be on your screenshots, you’ll want to use one of many fake location apps.  These apps allow you to select a false location, which is then fed to the Android instead of the actual GPS coordinates.  Just be sure you remember to turn it off again before you actually try to use your GPS.

Get your unique signing certificate

The signing certificate is critical to your app and your ability to update it.  Keep it safe!  Keep it secure!  Back it up in several places and keep the password to it safe at all times.  If you lose it, or lose the password, you won’t be able to publish updates to your app.

Fortunately, Android apps can all be self-signed, which means you can do it free.  Google has good instructions on how to set up your signing certificate at http://developer.android.com/tools/publishing/app-signing.html#cert .

If you release any updates to this app, it’s critical that you use exactly the same signing certificate.  If you don’t, your users will get error messages when they try to install the update.  Error messages don’t make for happy users.

Export your signed app

Now it’s time to create the actual release version of your app.  It’s a quick, easy process.

  1. Go to Eclipse and open your app.
  2. In the Package Explorer window, right-click on your package.
  3. Click Android Tools/Export Signed Application Package.
  4. Verify that your project name is listed and that it says there are no errors.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Select your keystore and enter your password.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Select your key and enter your password.
  9. Click Next.
  10. Select the path and file name for your distributable package.
  11. Click Finish.


You now have a fully-functional, distributable Android app, just wanting to be downloaded by countless prospective users.  Now you have to put it somewhere they can find it.  Generally, you should at least publish to Google Play, as they have a huge user base who trust the apps published there.  You can also publish to your own web site, or other Android app stores.

To publish to Google Play, just follow these instructions provided by Google at http://developer.android.com/distribute/googleplay/publish/preparing.html .

Test again

What?  You thought you were done?  Nearly there.  You just need to make sure there aren’t any problems with the release version of your app.

  1. Remove your app from your Android.
  2. Go to Google Play, or any other location you’ve published your app.
  3. Install from that location, just like your users will.  It may take a little time to show up.  Google Play will usually make them available within a few hours.  Other app stores may take considerably longer.
  4. Make sure everything still works.

A word of warning to developers

Android is made inherently more secure by use of signing certificates, but those same certificates can sometimes be annoying for developers.  Since you can only update an app if the signing certificate is exactly the same, you need to fully remove the testing app before you can install the production version, and fully remove the production app before you can install the testing version.  These errors can be annoying, and can appear in strange places.

If you receive an error when loading any app you were involved in writing or testing, remove the app from your Android and then you can probably install successfully.

If you are still unable to install, if you can’t install the production version, install the test version.  If you’re unable to install the test version, install the production version.  Now that you have a version installed, even though it’s the wrong version, you can remove it and then install the version you want.


You’ve now published your app.  It wasn’t always easy, but we knew you could do it.  Give yourself a well-earned reward, then start publicizing your new app, and don’t forget to get working on your next one.

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