Gambrels, Mansards and Theming

Well, It would seem another two weeks has flown by but with midterms this past week; I hardly noticed.  I honestly would have had nothing to post a week ago due to a test in Operating Systems which required a lot of preparation.  I also had to set up two other operating systems on my Mac Book Pro Retina MBPR for that class as well this past week and write a report on it.  That said I am going to try and post a tutorial for setting up Ubuntu and Windows 8.1 on a  MBPR using the Refind boot loader, I downloaded from GitHub.  Reason being it is not very straight forward and I could not find any clear instructions myself for setting up a triple boot system on a MBPR.

Anyway, once I finished all that I was in the clear to get some work done on my rafter app.  I decided I would tackle Gambrels and Mansards simultaneously due to there similarity in nature.  Simply put, a Mansard is a Gambrel with hips.  Considering all the mathematical logic I needed was already completed doing past roofs, it only took two days to implement everything else involved.  Although, I have to admit one of those days was severely inhibited due to a Saint Patricks Day work party my wife and I had to go to the night before.  In any event, all the roofs I will be offering in the first version are complete now and by that I mean the great majority of the code is completed.  I have neglected art work, diagrams and the instructions sets which is basically the content of the app, in an attempt to catch up on my tentative deadlines.  Unfortunately, I am not much of an artist and it tends to take me a long time to create icons and diagrams.  The plan now – regardless – is to complete all of that which I imagine will take a couple weeks at least.

This is not what I had hoped for, but the fact is it leaves four maybe five weeks to convert the app to iOS.  However, I am convinced that with layouts, instructions, icons, and themes finished in Android, the conversion will go smoothly.  There was really nothing I could cut from the first version, other than dormers, in order to expedite the process.  Dormers would have been a slightly different animal and they should have needed there own menu as well, so it made sense to cut them.  As a consolation for the loss of dormers from my original proposal though, the app now includes sheds roofs with hips, unequal hip roofs and mansard roofs.  I felt this was a rational and fair trade-off. 

In addition to the two new roof options I added this week, I also made some major updates regarding theming.  Android makes it very easy to customize the look and feel of your app.  You can create customized backgrounds for anything that supports a background; which is almost every UI component available.  In addition to that Android provides a style.xml file in your res/value folder where you can set themes for the entire app like text styles, menu styles, action bar style etc..  It took a little while to wrap my head around it at first, but now changing the theme of the app has become quite trivial.  I spent a good amount of time this week just playing with all the different options and trying to decide which themes best suited my app.  I will be working to finish my icons this week and diagrams so I can post some pictures of the app.  The instructions will more than likely be written before the instructional diagrams, but I will be able to post pics of the menu and input screens soon.

Till next time.

Jason Hintlian


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