more alternative calculator tweaks

May 19, 2015

Know how you can tell when I’m really into writing software? When I dream about it (literally); when I wake up the first thing I do is head to the computer to perform some development activity before the dream/idea fades. That’s what happened this morning. It’s been years since I was this intense, and I think I may get even more intense about it. When I spend a full 24 hours in front of the computer without sleep or much food, then I’ll know I’m truly back in the groove. At least for this.

In less than five minutes I added the final row of keys/buttons on Alternative Calculator. They’re the trigonometric keys, and the DRG (degree/radian/grad) selection key on the far left. Nothing tied to them yet, but it should be in about a day. The 2nd key will select the arc sine, cosine, and tangent keys. And perhaps the 3rd key will select the hyperbolic trigonometric functions.

Other minor tweaks this morning include:

  • Changing the horizontal and vertical padding on the outermost LinearLayout from 16sp to 8sp. As you can see in the Design view, the keys/buttons are of equal width across the screen. This doesn’t work quite as well on the Samsung Galaxy S4, as the top screenshot shows.
  • Locking the orientation to portrait only. This was done in the AndroidManifest, activity  tag, with the android:screenOrientation=”portrait” tag attribute.
  • The DRG selection key can one of two ways: either display a ‘D’, ‘R’, or ‘G’ letter in the display, or else make the key display the state (Drg, dRg, and drG). I have to think about this a bit more. This also is leading me to create a configuration page for the app. And one of the configuration options is how to display the what angular mode D/R/G you’re in.
  • The possibility of adding graphing. You’d get to the graph by swiping from left to right. This also backs me into some sort of programability where equations are stored. Which means I better get on the stick and finish the algebraic engine and enable the parenthesis keys/buttons. And the exponential entry key.

I’ve transferred my Android development from my Windows notebook to my Mac Mini. No real reason except it’s easier for me to just leave my notebook packed for the evening. I can get out of the house and head into work just that much faster when I don’t have to put my notebook back into its bag.

I’ve also noticed that the Design matches the app running on hardware. For the longest it was white-on-white, and it annoyed me no end. That’s one of the reasons I test constantly on hardware, the other reason being far, far better performance than using an emulator. The change is most welcome. I don’t know if I should attribute it to my better understanding of Android app programming, or a bug that was fixed in the latest Android Studio release. Android Studio is now at

From a personal perspective I’m using my calculator for day-to-day quick number calculations. It’s functional enough that I no longer use anything else but. It’s still early days for this app, a good 30 days before I think about releasing it in Google Play. But after all my “toy” apps, this one is going out into the world. Finally.