It is the 23rd of May 2018

Google removed my Android App TVlc after 5 years, then brought it back

Because of recent events regarding TVlc I wanted to share a little bit of history...

 

A week ago google removed TVlc Demo version after 5 years because of a more or less dubios metadata violation from day to the other. I was told to start over again with a new package name for my app. A quite discomforting thought to me because I like the > 300.000 downloads and average rating ~4 stars. I like the up and downs I had concerning my App over all these years. Back in 2012 I had to take steep learning curves in

 - Android Programming itself.

 - Creativity

 - Productivity

 - Steadiness

 - Motivation

 - Marketing

etc.

I remember the days when the Play Store was thriving for small developers like me. Downloads went up, day by day. I got ratings, encouraging ones, distressing ones and outright crazy insults sometimes, I was eagerly catching up fixing some nasty bugs, improving the App most of all for myself because I have been using it almost every day for all these years. Back in the day I was hacking away all day long and boy it was a rewarding emotion when I made literally my first $ out of it.

Time went by, I got older, moved to another place, the App store became the play store, the entire Smartphone age went from Innovation to a matter of course. At least in several parts of the world. I eventually lost interest in constantly caring for my App. It was sufficient for me, I think it did well as remote control to watch Youtube Videos on my Television with Kodi or Vlc back then, or listening to audio books with Vlc on my RaspberryPi. That's another topic, but TVlc to me was the primary motivation to get a RaspberryPI and it worked out pretty well. Now My PI2 is controling the media center in the living room, controlled by my regular TV Remote in combination with TVlc primarily for Youtube. My old PI is for listening to audiobooks in the bedroom, controlled exclusively with TVlc.

You see my App has grown emotionally attached to me.

Still I got lazy, hardly bringing the codebase up to date a little - I got warnings that I need to do a SSL update for months. As a technical sidenote, not an easy task for me because I run python-for-android as a part of TVlc which required some JNI, C, Makefile adaptions to allow for an update. Since I, as a lot of good developers I guess, tend to procrastinate, a circumstance often refered to by "Never touch a running system" things grew out of date, I was not able to release a new version anymore because of technical difficulties arising from the growing age.

The removal of my App last week was a good motivation for me to bring things a little bit up to date. Google acknowledged my efforts and after an appeal reinstatet my App within days, after I fixed the rather messy App Description in the play store. And now TVlc is all shiny, back again. My development environment is up to date again and I after quite a while I am glad to be able to build new releases without problems again, I learned a little bit about firebase and other new things Google introduced, so after a few days working on my App and everything concerning it again, I find myself enjoying it quite a lot once again.

 - AdMob is still blocking my Ads for now. This is a good message to you! :) Because for the moment the free Version of TVlc does not have any ads and all the functionality of the donation Version. Give it a try and don't be too strict with me :) After all, this is just a hobby to me, but then a hobby is something you like to do, but not always.

 

I hope some of you enjoyed this little essay. Send me your feedback to tvlc.android@gmail.com and give me some upvotes or keep your downvotes :)

 - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.prograssing.android.tvlc

 - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.prograssing.android.tvlcdemo

 

Have a nice day!

Michael

 

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