Jeff Mixon

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Google Analytics for Android Quickstart Guide

There’s little doubt that Google Analytics is one of the most powerful analytics tools that exists today and this also applies to Android. I recently implemented GA for the first time on Android and found their Getting Started guide was at once unnecessarily verbose and curiously sparse. I dare say the Advanced Configuration guide is much more useful than the, let’s say, non-advanced(?) variant. But I digress. Here’s the easiest and fastest way to add Google Analytics to your Android app:

Drop these into your AndroidManifest.xml, if necessary:

    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />

Somewhat ironically, the GA guide recommends extending the Application class while the Application class documentation itself gently discourages this practice. However, this disclaimer is outdated (in my opinion) and extending Application should be chosen over a classical Singleton pattern.

If you haven’t already extended Application, do so now:

public class DemoApplication extends Application {
    private Tracker _tracker;
    public void onCreate() {
        GoogleAnalytics analytics = GoogleAnalytics.getInstance(this);
        if (BuildConfig.DEBUG) {
        _tracker = analytics.newTracker("UA-XXXX-Y");
        // highly recommend using TLS
    public Tracker getTracker() {
        return _tracker;

and in your AndroidManifest.xml:

        android:name=".DemoApplication" ...

To use the Tracker:

// Do this somewhere appropriate, such as on onResume() for an activity.
Tracker t = ((DemoApplication) getApplication()).getTracker();
// Set the name of this "screen". This could be the activity,
// fragment, or any logical UI grouping.
// Send a screen view.
t.send(new HitBuilders.AppViewBuilder().build());

That’s it. You don’t need any of that HashMap, enum, xml config nonsense unless you are doing advanced tracking. Hopefully this helps someone else be lazy.

Music Control for Sony SmartWatch 2 and Google Play Music

Today I released an Android app for the Sony SmartWatch 2 that lets you interact with the Google Play Music app directly from your SmartWatch. Music Control goes beyond the default music control app by offering a more intuitive UX and also grabbing high-resolution album art to really show off the SmartWatch experience. Feel free to leave any feedback about the app here.

Music Control for Sony SmartWatch 2

android-av: A proof-of-concept framework for an Android anti-virus/security engine


Recently I open-sourced an Android application that lets you control the Rdio player from a watch. Now I have another slight broader but more abstract open-source project for the Android community: an prototype security framework modestly named “android-av”.

The framework mostly demonstrates how Android “anti-virus” applications work and how one could implement an framework for abstractly building a full-fledged Android security application. Notice I put “anti-virus” in quotes, because on Android, there are no real “viruses” in the traditional sense. Most Android security threats fit the “malware” description instead. Nonetheless, I welcome any thoughts or feedback on the project.

GitHub project: android-av