The following is the first few sections of a chapter from The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, plus headings for the remaining major sections, to give you an idea about the content of the chapter.


Screenshots and Screencasts

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

If that were really true, this book would be a lot shorter, mostly consisting of a bunch of screenshots.

That being said, having screenshots of your app is essential for documentation, marketing, and other uses. You are going to want to collect screenshots from your app by one means or another.

Screencasts — videos recording the user’s interaction with a device – are also very useful for the same purposes, even if their nature precludes their practical use in various mediums (e.g., PDFs). These are also a bit more complex to collect, though you have plenty of options for that.

This chapter will outline various ways to get screenshots and screencasts of your app.

Prerequisites

Understanding this chapter requires that you have read the core chapters and understand how Android apps are set up and operate.

Collecting from Android Studio

The Logcat tool has buttons to take a screenshot and record a screencast, in the toolbar:

Android Studio Screenshot and Screencast Toolbar Buttons
Figure 950: Android Studio Screenshot and Screencast Toolbar Buttons

Note that these toolbar buttons may be hidden, as they are fairly far down the toolbar. You may need to expand the Logcat pane to show more of the toolbar to get to these buttons. Or, there is a “>>” affordance that shows the hidden toolbar buttons that you can click.

Screenshots

The top one takes a screenshot, giving you a dialog to control what gets captured:

Android Studio Screenshot Dialog
Figure 951: Android Studio Screenshot Dialog

The main area shows the screen at the time you clicked the screenshot toolbar button. Clicking the “Reload” button on the top of the dialog will update the dialog to show the now-current device (or emulator) contents.

Depending on Android Studio version and device characteristics, the dialog may open with the correct orientation. If not, click the “Rotate” button until the image is oriented as you would like it to be.

The “Frame Screenshot” checkbox, if checked, will wrap your screenshot in an image that resembles the hardware from the drop-down list:

Android Studio Screenshot Dialog, Framing as Nexus 5
Figure 952: Android Studio Screenshot Dialog, Framing as Nexus 5

The “chessboard” on the outside edges of the image represent transparent areas in the PNG that will be created when you save the image.

Checking the “Drop Shadow” checkbox updates the fake device frame to make it seem like the device is sitting on its edge on some horizontal surface, with a drop-shadow effect. Similarly, checking the “Screen Glare” checkbox adds a fake bit of lighting to the screenshot, as if a light from the upper right side is causing a glare on the fake glass of the fake device frame. Suffice it to say, none of this looks especially realistic.

When you have the screenshot set to your liking, click the “Save” button on the bottom of the dialog, to get a platform-specific “Save As” dialog for you to save your screenshot to wherever you like.

The resulting screenshot will then open in a tab in your IDE. This tab does not let you edit the picture, but it does have an “eyedropper” toolbar button that allows you to examine the image and identify the exact colors of various pixels.

Screencasts

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Collecting from the Command Line

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Collecting from Another App

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Tips and Tricks

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