FileKicker 2: Return of the File!

EDIT: As of September 2014, the Kik Messenger app no longer supports the old API, which means it no longer supports FileKicker. Thanks for using it—I wish it were still working but there’s not really anything I can do at this point! You can check out my current project at complice.co.

FileKicker icon: A green arrow overlaid on a white rectangle with *.* on it as in 'any file'.

I wrote a post a few months ago about FileKicker, my first published Android app. I’ve since published another, ContactKicker [no longer available]. In the few months since then, I’ve launched several updates to each app, making the experience much better.

FileKicker, as I originally built it, was a bridge. The purpose of the app is to allow filesharing via Kik for any kinds of files, not just pictures. All I really did at first was connect the OpenIntents File Manager PICK_FILE intent with the Kik Messenger API, and on the other end I would simply launch the browser to open the file. While it was conceptually cool to build an app that didn’t actually have a visual interface, I realized that it wasn’t the best solution. For the first version of FileKicker, I implemented my own file-picker interface so that users do not have to also download OI File Manager. This also made things visually simpler, and improve user experience.

However, user experience was still weak on the receiving end; all FileKicker would do is launch the browser. This was fine for images and text, but it made it really hard to send some other kinds of files. APKs (Android application package files) for example, can normally be downloaded onto an Android phone and then installed, but the installer won’t launch if the file extension isn’t APK. This means users would need another app to browse to the file and rename it, which was altogether a poor experience.

An Android dialog, showing the icon and filename 1B class schedule.pdf, a complete progress bar, and two buttons: "Open file" and "Share url".

FileKicker 2.0 receiving interface

To fix it for FileKicker 2.0, I implemented a download feature as well, using Android’s ASyncTask class. Now, the file is downloaded from within FileKicker, saved with its original name, and then opened with the appropriate app by checking the file extension. Since I did this, usage of the app has grown much faster, and I’m proud to say I have over 500 users and that each day about 50 files are sent using my app.

QR code linking to FileKicker in the Android Market
So, if you’ve got an Android phone, check it out and let me know what you think! If you have any complaints, compliments, feature suggestions, or other comments, comment below.

A portrait of Malcolm Ocean

I'm Malcolm Ocean.

I'm trying to figure out how humans work so I can help make humanity work. More about me.

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