Developer Spotlight: Meet Dietrich Radel

Blue to purple gradient background cover with Audio Control API text and a small photo of Dietrich Radel

Who are the developers that use our Audio Control API to develop amazing things? We are pleased to have the opportunity to interview some of them to inspire the rest of you!

Second in line: Dietrich Radel, who has dabbled with computers on and off since he was a kid growing up in the 1980s. He holds a BSc in Computer Science, but never really got into any programming projects besides the occasional minor project through his employment at a university in New Zealand. A year ago, Dietrich released his first app StrRemote on Google Play.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the satisfaction of developing an app that can control my home theater receiver – all made possible by Sony publishing the API.”

How did it all start?

– Actually, I had some spare time, so I initially started writing apps for my Garmin watch using their SDK. I had been thinking about learning how to write Android apps for a while and had started on a bunch of tutorials. After purchasing a STR-DN1080 receiver from Sony, I decided to attempt to write an app using the Audio Control API. I can’t remember how I learned of the API, but I decided to give it a go for my own personal challenge. I wasn’t sure how I would go about it or if I could even get it working. But through a bunch of webpages and YouTube tutorials I had what I needed to build an early version of my app. After using the app on a daily basis, I thought that maybe I should learn about the Android publishing process.

What’s unique with the StrRemote app?

– My app controls the basic functions of Sony receivers via Wi-Fi. It is meant to resemble a typical IR remote control. It has support for Zone 2 and HDMI Zone, and has the option to control the main zone volume using the device’s hardware volume buttons. It can set the speaker levels and equalizer and save or recall presets for these. Another feature is that it has Chromecast support for internet radio. This project is a kind of niche, as in, it currently only supports four Sony devices, and only one of these is current and officially supported by the API, says Dietrich.

Screen capture from the Google App Store with the StrRemote Pro app
Do you keep track of time spent on this project?

– I have spent many, many hours, days and evenings on this app. Publishing the project on Google Play has meant a whole lot more work. When I enjoy a task, I can lose track of time, or burn the midnight oil trying to solve a problem. If I were to start over, I would be able to build this project in a fraction of the time. That’s the thing with learning as you go.

How long did it take to finalize this project?

– The project has been on the Google Play Store for about a year. During this time, I have added features reasonably regularly, so I wouldn’t exactly call it finalized. I don’t want the app to become bloated with feature creep, but I do like making it more useful.

Are you satisfied with the outcome?

– I use the app daily, and it’s only rarely that I use the IR remote that came with my receiver. So I’m very happy with it. Some Google Play users may feel differently. But it’s nice when I get a new review or email when someone finds the app useful.

If you had been able to start over with this project, would you have done anything else?

– Definitely. Android development specific things though, to do with background threads and class structure. For example, I wouldn’t use AsyncTask anymore.

Finally, what’s the overall experience using the API?

– I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the satisfaction of developing an app that can control my home theater receiver – all made possible by Sony publishing the API, says Dietrich.

Have you also made an outstanding project using Audio Control API? Let’s share with us! Submit your project here.

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