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Mobile Trading

The Procyon Holdings (PROHD) name is expanding again as we push out into another development area — the Android framework. When I abandoned my BlackBerry, the choice to move to the Android platform was an easy decision. Market saturation, the development community, and fluidity between devices make this platform shine.

I’ve been having a few end user problems with the current iteration of our trading website. First, the native Android Gingerbread browser lacks SVG support, an issue that has bewildered me since I read about it. I can solve this issue by using another browser such as Opera, but I would like to use the native one.

Also working with a HTML + Ajax website on a device with a touch interface feels like you are not getting the full user experience. I want to scroll down lists with my finder, click and hold to expose options, and speed around menus.

Mobile Architecture

We had to expand our design and create a few new pieces to get data to the mobile world. New items include the creation of a daemon to simply database population, exposing data via XML, and working with an existing library to enable Push notifications.

Information Flow

The Daemon runs on our server, periodically pulls transactions from the Eve API, and places that information in our wallet table.

Our previous design was that you would have to hit the transactions webpage and it would trigger an update. Getting a page to refresh on a desktop connected via broadband versus a mobile phone is quite the different experience.

Android has a framework called C2DM (Android Cloud to Device Messaging) which enables you to send lightweight push notifications to devices.

Our vision is that when a sell order clears, a large/special sale has occurred, or a significant milestone has been reached, we send a notice. This will be visible on phone’s Status Notification Bar and cause me to act if deemed important. I have been forgetting to buy or trade a particular item after the sell orders have cleared. Forget things — lose profit.

Getting data out of our database required the creation of a webservice to produce XML output from our wallet table.

Here is an example of the sale of one item in our XML feed:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<TransactionList>
<Transaction>
<transactionDateTime>2012-04-19 06:21:04</transactionDateTime>
<typeID>21096</typeID>
<typeName>Cynosural Field Generator I</typeName>
<quantity>1</quantity>
<price>1948939.91</price>
<profit>147803</profit>
<stationName>STATION</stationName>
<icon>21096_32.png</icon>
</Transaction>
</TransactionList>

Alpha Screenshot

This screenshot is our first proof of concept. We’re able to get information from an XML feed, display it, and get/cache images from the Eve image server. Major credit goes to my trading and corporation partner James, who has been doing the development work and educating me on the Android framework.

There is a lot we want to do with the mobile version. Menus, tabs, charts, reports, and the ability to add items to a shopping cart/wish list are all things on the drawing board.

Future Collaboration

This project is our first exposure to the Android framework and after the initial learning curve, we might perhaps coolabrate with the Aideron Robotics team on Aura. So maybe some of our trading mechanics will make their way into the Aura application.

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