Android Email Widget now in AndroidPit

Friday, January 21st, 2011

You now can get my app email widget and of course calendar event reminder as well on the AndroidPit market as well. The good thing about it is that you can now also pay with paypal and click n’ buy.

Android Email Widget Skins

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

This page contains information on skins for my app android email widget. Here is a list of available skins for free download. Below are instructions on installing, updating or creating skins. If you’ve created a skin and want to share it, please get in contact with me or post a link to it in the comments down below so i can add it to this list.

If you have troubles installing skin files please read this detailed trouble shooting guide!


android development – tools for productivity

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

I recently worked on some apps for my new android mobile Samsung Galaxy S and published them on the market a few weeks ago. They are focusing on two key features, which to my surprise are not part of the android core functionality:

  • An Email Widget, which shows your recent emails (Exchange, POP3, IMAP) and allowes you to open them from your homescreen
  • A calendar event reminder which allows you to set a vibration pattern for nagging event alerts

The first one was really a tough nut to crack, because the android core surprisingly doesn’t provide easy access to emails stored on the phone. You have to use a private api, which unfortunately isn’t documented at all. Also this api is secured on the latest android release, so it is impossible to get the app working without rooting the phone. Additionally the mail app seems not yet technically mature enough, so many device manufacturer like HTC are providing their own implementation of it. This made it even more difficult to build the app.

Thanks to the feedback of several users i was able to improve the apps and make them more feature rich. I also created a twitter account for publishing news on recent development for the apps. You are welcome to follow me there.

google developer conference

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

did you miss the google developer conference i/o? don’t bother, you can find online video footage and presentation slides from most of their sessions here. i really like how the content is presented and that you can leave feedback for every session. so if you’re really into google’s technolgies, this is the site of your choice.

produktlinien und open source

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

wiederverwendung ist nach wie vor ein heiß diskutiertes thema, besonders in zeiten von soa und enterprise-architekturmanagement. lofi und ich haben in einem beitrag im neuen objektspektrum dieses thema im kontext der produktlinientechnik beleuchtet und versucht aufzuzeigen, wie pragmatische produktlinien-architekturen entstehen und praxistauglich eingesetzt werden können. den artikel gibts hier zum runterladen oder in der neuen ausgabe 02/09 als hardcopy.

über kommentare und anregungen freuen wir uns natürlich.

surveys about agility and success

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

at this years w-jax conference i attended a keynote by scott ambler, who’s one of the guys pushing the agile movement for several years now. in his talk he presented results of surveys about adoption rates of agile techniques and success rates of agile it-projects. there are some interesting numbers in it, despite the fact that they are mostly covering the situation in the states. it would be even more interesting to collect data for these topics in europe, too, and draw some comparisons. for me the most important findings are:

  • 69% of organisations have adopted agile techniques so far
  • the most effective agile practices are “iterative development” and “regular delivery of working software”
  • one-third of projects are done with two week iterations
  • 44% of organisations had a success rate of 90% or above for agile projects
  • project success rate for agile projects is 10% higher than for “traditional” projects
  • only 42% of offshoring projects are successful, but they are considerably more succesful in asia than in the rest of the world
  • the number of successful projects is dropping significantly for teams larger than 10 members
  • 80% of it-managers and 70% of project managers put the needs of their staff over beeing on time and on budget
  • 70-80% of it-personnel see a healthy workplace beeing more important than beeing on time and on budget, but only 53% of business stakeholders share this opinion :-(

how to test view helpers in rails

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

as you probaby know, ruby on rails has a very handy test integration. you can easily write unit tests for your rich domain model and some functional tests (that can be roughly compared to http-units in the java world, but with integrated webserver) for the controller and views.

unfortunately, one part of rails basic implementation architecture cannot be tested as easy as the above mentioned components: the view helpers. actually they are used to extract view functionality and keep the view templates clean from ruby scriptlets. of course, you can test them indirectly through your functional tests, but rails provides no pure way to test them individually. an obvious approach is to write some unit-tests for each helper class. this works fine as long as you are not using some methods provided by rails, i.e. link_to, url_for, all the input tag methods and so on.

so here is an example of a simple view helper. the method time_link_to returns a link including the current date as parameter in the form

# Methods added to this helper will be
# available to all templates in the application.
module ApplicationHelper

  def time_link_to(controller_name, name, date, html_options = nil)
    if html_options
      html_options = html_options.stringify_keys
      tag_options = tag_options(html_options)
      tag_options = nil
    url = url_for(:controller => controller_name) +
    "<a href=\"#{url}\"#{tag_options}>#{name || url}</a>"


since the method url_for is provided by the controller that is executed when the view and therefore the helper is evaluated, you have to fake it for the unit test. this can be done in the setup method of the unit test like this:

class ApplicationHelperTest < Test::Unit::TestCase

  include ActionView::Helpers::AssetTagHelper
  include ActionView::Helpers::UrlHelper
  include ActionView::Helpers::TagHelper
  include ApplicationHelper

  # called before every single test
  def setup
    # creating a dummy controller with the method url_for that
    # returns the url assigned to the controller
    @controller = do
      attr_accessor :url, :request
      def url_for(options, *parameters_for_method_reference)
    @controller =
    # setting the url of the controller
    @controller.url = ""

  # testing the view method
  def test_time_link_to
    assert_equal "<a href=\"" +
      "#{}/#{}/" +
      time_link_to("testcontroller", "test",
    assert_equal "<a href=\"" +
      "#{}/#{}/" +
      "#{}\" id=\"test_id\">test</a>",
      time_link_to("testcontroller", "test",, {:id => "test_id"})

managing software development

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

i came across a nice essay of reg braithwaite on what managing software development really means. he states that it basically consists of three main theories:

  • accountability for results
  • authority over resources
  • making decisions based on judgement

in addition, management has to be accompanied by courage. good judgement means that uncertainties or risks, which are connected to options, have to be evaluated and reduced. sometimes you even cannot get a clear view of the decision basis and you have to cope with the risks bounded to your options. or you might possibly have to accept negative consequences that potentally will arise from any of your options. so you need more or less courage to decide which option to take.

i personally think that you should also add the need of a strategy to the above mentioned aspects. a red thread has to run through all of your decisions. they have to match to each other and should tend to a certain kind of long term goal, which also has to be accepted by your staff.
if your strategy doesn’t fit to the circumstances, i.e. the skills of your staff, the working environment or of course to a business case, you will be blamed for poor management.

aufwandsschätzungen in der software-entwicklung

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

als ich vor ein paar tagen auf der bonner runde einen vortrag zum thema “aufwandsschätzungen” präsentiert habe war das interesse groß. für viele schien es sich um ein kritisches und akutes thema zu handeln.
dabei sind einige prinzipien guter schätzungen nicht besonders kompliziert und gut zu erlernen. trotzdem konnten sie sich anscheinend in den letzten jahren nicht besonders gut durchsetzen bzw. verbreiten.


criteria for success and failure

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

in the developer.* robert glass has published a nice article on surprises and predictables regarding factors of it-project success or failure. the mentioned findings are the result of a survey by prof. june verner of 400 projects in the u.s., australia, and chile.