Airport Guides 2.0 is now available on Android!

Airport Guides 2.0 is now available on Android – it’s free, check it out!

When I stop and think about it, I’m not sure why I keep this project up. I published the first Xamarin.Forms Android version 5 years ago, and since then the Windows development experience for “modern” apps has gone through a lot of changes. Instead of trying to patch things forward I decided to make a fresh start with the UI code. (although things are still similar enough that it wasn’t nearly as hard as rewriting it)

And I think that was the right decision, but it’s irritating that the Portable Class Library I used isn’t really a thing anymore, and I already know what we’re using now is going to change when MAUI gets released. The Android emulator I’m using is slow (although not nearly as bad as it used to be, seems around 3x slower than a phone) and some things on it just don’t work. XAML Hot Reload is very nice, but sometimes the XAML changes don’t get recompiled or something, so every time I try something and it doesn’t work I have to guess whether I think I wrote the wrong code, or whether I wrote the right code and I should just rebuild the app. And I didn’t remember this from before, but you can get some pretty cryptic errors for common things:

  • If you use the wrong x:DataType on an element you get an InvalidCastException at runtime (fine) with no information about what you were trying to cast from and to! (not fine!)
  • Similarly a NullReferenceException I caused got converted to a TargetInvocationException with no information (because it was during navigation, I guess?)
  • I wasted a solid half hour on a cryptic XAML error “Content is set more than once” before desperately Binging and realizing that’s what you get when you have an extra “>” at the end of a XAML tag. *angry face*

It also has the irritating property that I need to periodically go through and update the maps for all 90 airports, which also has the “every day this app gets a little more out of date” feeling. And it’s not a big moneymaker, not that any of my apps are; we’re talking less than $50 a year.

And yet I poured a bunch of time over the last few weeks into this partial rewrite. I think there are a few reasons I’m drawn to the app:

  • Despite my complaints above, being able to write C# code (that I could conceivably port to iOS one day) for an Android app is pretty neat!
  • I really do like traveling, and airports, and maps, and looking at airport maps makes me happy.
  • I feel a sense of pride having apps that I wrote (I use my Baseball Odds app all the time!), and I’m looking forward to using this again when we travel.
  • I have a vague sense that having apps that are publicly available is good for my…brand? image? I dunno.

Anyway, it’s done now so I guess I should stop dithering. Give it a shot if you have an Android phone!

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