Friday, September 27, 2013

Incorporate Twitter & Facebook Widgets/Buttons/Plugins into a Website

A few people have asked me about Facebook plugins. So this article discusses a few of the Facebook plugins; and, it also includes information on Twitter widgets and buttons. This post is directly related to web plugins, which are used on regular and mobile websites.

Widgets Overview

You will rarely come across a company  or entrepreneur's website that hasn't incorporated Twitter widgets and/or Facebook plugins. Widgets/plugins are code snippets that add functionality to a website. In this article these snippets are directly related to adding Twitter and/or Facebook functionality to any website that provides the ability to edit the HTML code.

For this article I am going to add widgets, buttons and plugins to my commercial website. It isn't published publicly yet so I am running it locally (on localhost). I'm using Microsoft Visual Studio to create the website; and, my website is running on Internet Information Services (IIS). However, note that you can use any HTML editor to incorporate the widgets and it doesn't matter what technology the website uses because the code used throughout this article is HTML and JavaScript.

Twitter Widgets

Twitter widgets are an easy way to add Twitter functionality to any website. To get started the person who wants Twitter functionality added to their website must have a Twitter account. This means, if you are working for a company or entrepreneur to build a website your Twitter account won't do that company/person any good. The company/person must have a Twitter account and you will need to log into their Twitter account to create the widget(s).

To begin navigate to the Twitter account that has the content to be included on the website. Select "Settings" from the drop-down menu as shown in the following picture.

Then select Widgets (noted by a number 1 below). When the Widgets page displays (noted by a number 2 below); click the Create New button. This opens the Create a User Widget page, as shown below below noted by the number 3.

There are four types of widgets you can create, as discussed in the paragraphs below:
  • User Timeline - Add this widget to a website if you want a website to display the tweets/retweets added by the user who owns the account.
  • Favorites - Use this widget if the website is to display the tweets the account-holder marked as "Favorite".
  • List - You can add this widget to a website if the account holder has created a List in twitter and added people to the list. This widget then displays all the tweets posted by the people in the list.
  • Search - Add this widget if you want a website to display all of the tweets that include a specific trend phase or Twitter handle. For example, a technology professional might want to configure the Search widget to display all  #technology tweets. Or, a tweeter handle may be included in the Search Query field to display a list of tweets posted by account holder.

Once you've identified the widget you want to add to the website; open the website you are incorporating the widget into. Determine where you want to place the widget. Create an area to hold the widget. For example you can place it in a table that has 1 row/1 column; or, place it in a table cell, a divider (i.e., <div> tag), a frame, etc.

You can then click the Create Widget button at the bottom of the Create a User Widget page (shown as number 3 in the previous picture).  Twitter generates the code. Copy the code (as shown below) from Twitter. Paste it into the area you want it to appear in on the website you are design/updating.

You can click the Save Changes button to save the widget.

Paste the code into the area you prepared on the website. I placed my code in a table cell between the <td> tags. (Note that in my example, I created a table with two columns and two rows. The top row is a single column that spans two columns (i.e, <td colspan="2">). The bottom row has two columns.) After you paste the code into the website save your changes. You can then display the page in a web browser. The widget displays the applicable Twitter data. In my example below I used the User Timeline widget. Notice my tweets/retweets now display on my website; and, a Follow button has been added. Visitors can now view my tweets without going to Twitter. And, users can Follow me by clicking the Follow button provided by the widget. You can follow the same steps above to add any of the other Twitter widgets.

Twitter Buttons

Twitter also provides the code needed for web designers/developers to incorporate Twitter buttons into a website. The Twitter buttons are located on the following page:

You can incorporate buttons into a website using the same steps you follow to incorporate a widget. Create a space on the website for the button. You can then navigate to the Twitter Buttons page to select the button you would like to include.

The Twitter Buttons are as follows: Share a link; Follow; Hashtag (shown below); Mention (adds the account-holder's handle to a new tweet).

When you click on a button Twitter gives you a preview button to click (to see how the button works). It also provides the code you can copy and paste to add the Twitter functionality to your website.

Facebook Social Plugins

Facebook offers a range of plugins you can add to a website to incorporate Facebook functionality. You can embed a Facebook post on a website. People can then Like the post. You can add a Like buttons so people can Like a page. Facebook has a broad range of plugins that can be added to a website. You can find the plugins by visiting the following page:

Note that some, not all, of the plugins require you to provide an app ID. To do get an app ID you must create a developer account; and, then create an app on Facebook. For more information on creating a developer account and a Facebook app you can see my previous article How to Build Facebook Apps and Games for Android.

The Facebook Like button is probably one of the most popular plugins. It provides an easy way for people to Like a page while navigating outside of Facebook. The steps to create a Like button and add it to a website are similar to the steps followed to create a Twitter button.

To begin visit the Like Button page at  Scroll down to the middle of the page to a section called Get the Code. Under the Configurator section there are fields that allow you to enter values or select values from a drop-down. In the URL to like field enter the URL of the site or page you want people to like. For example, if I want people to like that is the URL I would add to the "URL to Like" field. You can define the layout style, width, whether or not the profile picture displays for those who click the Like button, etc. You can also indicate whether or not the Send button is to be added.

The Send button lets users send a message to friends. The body of the message is automatically populated with the same URL used in the "URL to Like" field. If you look at the Social Plugins page you will see that the Send button can be implemented by itself. The following picture shows the Send button behavior. You can read move about the Send button by visiting

To generate the code for the Like button click the Get Code button Under the Configurator section. This prompts Facebook to generate the code you need for your website. Facebook gives you a choice of generating HTML5, XFBML (Facebook Markup Language) or IFRAME.

Notice, in the above picture, Facebook provides two code snippets. The top code snippet (marked as number 1) is from the Facebook SDK for JavaScript. It should be placed immediately below the <body> tag on the web page. The second code snippet (marked as number 2 above) is placed where you want the Like button to display. The following picture shows the website with the Like button with the Send button enabled. If you add several Facebook plugins to a page you only need to add the JavaScript snippet once. But keep in mind that each page you add a Facebook plugin to must have the JavaScript snippet if the plugin requires it (as shown in the above example).

You can also embed a Facebook post on a website page. To begin navigate to the Embedded Posts plugin page at The Embedded Posts plugin requires the URL of the Story, which must include not only the URL but also the ID of the post. To get the post URL and ID navigate to a Facebook post and click the date of the post, which is included immediately below the profile picture as shown below.

 The post then appears on a page by itself. The complete URL is included in the address field, circled below.

Copy the entire URL and paste it into the URL of Story field. You can then click the Get Code button and follow the same steps used above to add the Like button to the website page.

The embedded post now displays on the website so people can view the post and Like it.

In our last example, we want to add the Comments plugin to our website so people can add comments using Facebook, Yahoo or other site. The Comments Box is located at  The Comments Box plugin works like the previous two plugins we discussed. Add the URL of the page you want people to comment on and adjust the other settings as desired. Then click the Get Code button.

When the Comment box is implemented it does not assume the person wants to be authenticated using Facebook. The user must select the site that will authenticate him/her.

In the example below the user selected Facebook. The user is then prompted to log into Facebook so the site can collect information about the user.

If the user adds a comment, the comment is added to the website. Other users can then reply to the user's comment, like the user's comment or add their own comments (as shown in the picture below).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to Build Facebook Apps and Games for Android

This article focuses on building Facebook apps and games for Android. For those of you already versed in Android programming; or, those of you who have started to learn Android programming you can learn to build Facebook apps to extend your skills and increase your marketability. This article provides you with an overview of application and game programming for Facebook. To get started with Android programming you may want to read my article titled Programming Mobile Apps for Android With Eclipse.

Create a Facebook Developer Account

If you don't have a Facebook account, you must create one to become a Facebook developer. You can then log into your Facebook account and visit the Facebook Developer home page You will need to click the Register button and follow the Registration wizard steps that will walk you through "1. Accepting the terms", "2. Verifying your account", "3. Telling us about you" and "4. Building your integration", which is actually your Congratulations message because you can create an application to get started. (For more information you can refer to the documentation called: "How to Create a Facebook Developer Account" .)

Once you have created a Developer account you will be presented with the Facebook Dashboard, as shown below. You can then use the Create New App button to begin creating your Facebook app (as discussed later in this post).

Facebook Software Development Kits

Facebook provides a number of software development kits (SDK's). Developers can download the SDK that corresponds with the type of applications and/or games developers want to create. Following is a list of the available SDKs used to build Facebook apps and games for mobile devices or the web:
 To build Facebook application you will download and install the Facebook SDK for Android.

Facebook SDK for Android

If you haven't configured your development environment to build Android apps you will want to see my article titled Mobile Software Programming: Designing & Building Mobile Apps (Android) to get started. You can then read the article Programming Mobile Apps for Android With Eclipse) before performing the steps outlined in this article. To build Facebook apps or games you must have an environment capable of building Android apps. You can then install the Facebook SDK for Android to get started. The Facebook SDK for Android includes sample code for apps so developers have examples that show how to properly code and design for Facebook as well as use Facebook authentication. And, the Facebook website has tutorials and provides links to working samples.

Once you have configured Eclipse to build Android apps you are ready to further configure your environment to build Facebook apps and games. The remainder of this article will outline how to create an emulator that can run Facebook (so you can test your apps and games), how to use a real Android to run your apps and games, how to import the SDK and samples into Eclipse and how to find sample code and tutorials so you can learn from existing projects.

Download & Extract the Facebook SDK for Android

The Facebook SDK for Android includes sample apps and the FBAndroid-3.5.apk file, which you can install on an emulator to test your Facebook apps. To use an emulator you will need to install the Android 2.2 (API 8) package, create and start the emulator and install the FBAndroid-3.5.apk onto the emulator as discussed below.

You can download the Facebook SDK for Android by visiting

Install Android 2.2 (API 8)

To test your Facebook application using an Android Virtual Device you will need to install the Android 2.2 (API 8). To do this from within Eclipse select Window -> Android SDK Manager (alternatively you can access the SDK Manager by locating and clicking the SDK Manager.exe file on your computer). When the Android SDK Manager displays select the Android 2.2 (API 8) options, as shown in the following picture. Then click the button to install the packages.

Create and Start the Android Virtual Device

Once you have installed the Android 2.2 (API 8) you can create an emulator device that uses the Android 2.2 (API 8) as the target so you can run the Facebook samples.

Once you have created the emulator you can start the emulator. The emulator must be running to install the FBAndroid-3.5.apk file.

Install Facebook on the Android Virtual Device

Once the emulator is running you can use the adb.exe file, which was installed when you installed the Android SDK.The adb.exe is the Android Debug Bridge, which is a command-line tool used to communicate with an instance of an emulator or Android devices that are connected to computer running the development environment. If you are a Windows user you will need to launch the Command window (as shown below). (Note that Macintosh users will want to launch the Terminal window in Utilities.)

You will need to change to the directory that has the adb.exe file, which is the sdk\platform-tools folder created when you installed the Android SDK.

After you have installed the FBAndroid-3.5.apk file you will notice the emulator can be used to access Facebook.

If you plan to use a real Android device to test your apps you can download the Facebook app onto your Android device, if you haven't done so already. Whether you use an emulator or real Android device you will be able to run the Facebook SDK samples after you have imported the Facebook SDK into Eclipse.

Using the Facebook SDK & Samples in Eclipse

To setup Eclipse to use the Facebook SDK and import the samples you must import the Facebook SDK folder into Eclipse. This section provides an overview on how to import the Facebook SDK. However, before importing the Facebook SDK you will want to create a new workspace for the Facebook samples.

To import the Facebook SDK and sample apps select File -> Import from the Eclipse menu. Then select Existing Projects Into Workspace and click Next.

Browse to the location that contains the extracted Facebook SDK for Android folder. Select the Facebook-android-sdk-3.5 folder and click Next.

A window displays a list of all the projects to be imported into Eclipse. This window has a "Copy projects into workspace" option, which should be left unselected. Click the "Select All" button to select the Facebook SDK and all projects; next, click Finish. The projects are all imported into Eclipse. You can now run the sample apps and view the code.

To select a target device; or, have Eclipse prompt you for a device you can select Run -> Run Configurations. The Android tab lets you select the project for which you want to select a device; or, have Eclipse prompt you for a device.

After you have selected a project, click the Target tab and select the applicable option. In the following example, the "Always Prompt for a Device" option was selected so Eclipse will always ask the developer what device the project is to run on. Alternatively, you can select the Android emulator running the API 8 package.

If the sample projects show any errors you can clean the projects by selecting Project -> Clean from within Eclipse. You can read more on getting started with the Facebook SDK for Android by visiting

If you want to run the samples using an emulator device be sure to start the emulator and make sure it is properly running before running the application. If you intend to use an Android device make sure the device is connected and that you have configured the Developer options (for more information  see Programming Mobile Apps for Android With Eclipse).

Note that you run the Facebook apps for Android the same way you run any other Android app (i.e., Run As -> Android Application).

In addition to code samples, Facebook provides a number of tutorials that will walk you through building Facebook applications for Android. When you are ready to start learning you can visit .  This series of tutorials will teach you how to add Facebook login to your app, personalize an app by displaying the user's Facebook profile picture and name, retrieve and display a user's friends, add a user's location and and publish an Open Graph Story.

Creating a Facebook App Details Page

Prior to using Eclipse to create a Facebook application you will want to create the application settings in Facebook. To do this, navigate to Developer Dashboard and click the Create New App button. 

The Create New App window displays so you can specify the name for your application, a unique App namespace and a category for your application.

When you click the Continue button Facebook assigns your application an App ID. This is the value you will add to the strings.xml file in the res -> values folder in Eclipse (as shown in the following picture).

As shown in the following picture your app is automatically placed in Sandbox mode, which means only administrators, developers and testers can see it. If you disable Sandbox mode your application is moved to a "live" state, which means everyone can see it.

Notice a left menu becomes available. The menu includes additional options that enable you to enter all of the information required for your application including the App Details (for additional information visit You can also create the Open Graph for your application. If you use Facebook you have most likely seen an Open Graph for other products. The main page collects additional information about your application. One of the fields you will complete is Key Hashes. This field enables you to register the app's hash key with Facebook. If more than one hash key will be used (i.e., a hash key for debugging and one for production); both keys can be added to the field.
To generate the key you will use the keystore.exe tool that was added to your computer when you installed the Java Development Kit (JDK). Also, when you installed the Android SDK a debug.keystore file was added to your computer. The keystore.exe is also a command-line tool so you will need to use the command window (Windows users) or the terminal window (Macintosh users) to execute the commands needed to retrieve the hash key.

If necessary, you can use your computer's search feature to find these files. For more information on the keystore.exe tool and the debug.keystore file you can see my previous article titled Get Started With Kindle Fire Programming: Apps & Games and you can see Hashing Algorithm (How Stuff Works).

The Games People Play (Using Android to Build Facebook Games)

Nearly everyone I know "FREQUENTLY" plays games on Facebook. Daily I receive numerous invitations to play a game on Facebook. And, while I'm not a big Facebook gamer I can vouch for many people who are. So, building Facebook games for Android is no doubt a great skill to acquire. The thing I like most about Facebook's game tutorials is that you can learn to build a game not only for Android; but also for the web and the iPhone, which is pretty cool because it enables you build a game that can reach a broader audience if you want to. And, with Facebook the audience is already in place all you have to do is market to them.

To get you started with building Android games for Facebook, the Facebook tutorial teaches you to build a game called Friend Smash, which requires Android 3.0 and higher. To prepare my environment to run the game I used Android 4.3 (API 18), which was already installed on my environment. If you need to download it you can do so using the SDK Manager.

I then created an emulator using Android 4.3 as the Target. I then started the device and installed the Facebook SDK onto this device (using the instructions in the section above titled Install the Facebook on the Android Virtual Device) so I could run the game.

You can then clone the Friend Smash repository from at (You can gain access to an online published book and additional Git resource by accessing my previous article titled Programming Mobile Apps for Android With Eclipse.)

OR, you can download the zipped file and extract the files into a folder you create on your computer.

Once you have the files on your computer you can import the projects using the same steps discussed above to import the Facebook SDK and sample projects. Once you complete those steps you can configure the game to use the device you created and then run the game.

You can follow the Friend Smash game tutorial for Android by visiting

Beta Tier Testing

Facebook publishes major code changes every Tuesday; and, it publishes the push schedule for code changes as well as fixes made throughout the week. The Beta Tier and Testing documentation provides additional information on regression testing your applications. Regression testing is done to determine whether or not code changes or fixes impact your application(s); and, if so you can make the necessary updates. For more information visit

Related Articles

See also Get Started With Kindle Fire Programming: Apps & Games, which is an article that tells you how to configure Eclipse and Android programming to build Kindle Fire applications and games.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Get Started With Kindle Fire Programming: Apps & Games

You may be wondering whether it's worth your time to learn about Kindle programming. If so, you can consider two things: 1. If you have learned (or are going to learn) Android mobile app programming you are (or will be) well on your way to programming for Kindle. 2. While hundreds of iPhone and Android customers have taken time to add comments, on Amazon, for their devices--over 17,000 customers have taken time to pledge their allegiance and declare their love for Kindle. This means, there are a lot of customers out on the lookout for new apps or games to install on their beloved Kindle. So, if you want to learn Kindle programming basics this article will help you get started.

Introducing Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindles fall into two categories: Kindle E-readers and Kindle Fire Tablets. Kindle E-readers include the Kindle Paperwhite 3G, the Kindle and the Kindle DX devices. The E-readers enable users to download and access digital books, audio books and magazines.

Kindle Fire Tablets include the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Tablet (and 8.9 4.G Tablet), the Kindle Fire HD Tablet and the Kindle Fire Tablet. The Tablets are designed to give customers a broader range of capabilities including stereo speakers for virtual surround sound, faster downloading and streaming speed. And, most importantly, customers can use their Tablets to enjoy movies, TV shows, music, magazines, digital books, audiobooks, games and apps-- including popular social networking apps such as Facebook and Twitter. This article focuses on programming for Kindle Fire devices.

Getting Started

To get started with Amazon Kindle application or game development developers must set up the Android Development Environment for Eclipse. For more information on setting up Eclipse see the  article titled, "Mobile Software Programming: Designing & Building Mobile Apps (Android)." Once the Eclipse development environment is ready to develop Android apps; it's a good idea to create an Android app to verify that the development environment is set up properly. This way as you configure the development environment to code and run Kindle Fire apps you can narrow down troubleshooting problems.

Once your development environment runs an Android app without errors you can then setup your environment to build and deploy Kindle Fire apps and games. To begin setting up Eclipse to build Kindle Fire apps or games you will need to visit the following location to download the Amazon Mobile SDK: When you click the Download SDK button you will be prompted to download the file. If you scroll down the page you will notice this page also provides an overview for each API included in the SDK. You can navigate to the following link to learn how to install the SDK: .

Amazon Mobile SDK

When you install the Amazon Mobile SDK, Amazon JAR files, API documentation and other files are added to your computer. Note that as you step through the Amazon Mobile SDK installation process you will see a screen similar to the one below; however, the top-level list items are collapsed so the child items are not visible. You will select the Accept License option button on the bottom right.

To accept the "license use" for the child items, you will need to expand the top-level  (or parent)  item to view the child items. You can then use the Accept option button that becomes enabled on the bottom left. (Hopefully this tidbit will save you a bit of frustration that would come from assuming the "Accept License" option button on the right lets you accept license use for both parent and child items.)

The SDK API files and folder structure is discussed on the following page: When you install the Amazon Mobile SDK (see the section titled Installing SDK Add-Ons at folders and files are installed in the extras folder in the Android SDK folder (the following picture shows the extras folder in the Android SDK - ADT Bundle for Windows folder).

The amazon folder (added to the extras folder) includes two folders: DeviceProfiles and kindle_fire_usb_driver. The DeviceProfiles folder includes the devices.xml file, which includes definitions for the Kindle Fire virtual devices (a portion of the devices.xml file is shown below).

The kindle_fire_usb_driver folder includes the KindleDriver.exe. This is the file that is executed to install the drivers for the Kindle Fire emulator devices. The intel folder pertains to the emulators and is discussed below.

Kindle Fire Emulators

You can use ARM-based system images or x86 system images when configuring the Kindle Fire emulators. The x86 system images enable you to use an accelerator so that the loading and running speed of the emulator is comparable to that of a real Kindle Fire Tablet. The intel folder, in the extras folder discussed above, includes the Hardware_Accelerated_Execution_Manager folder. This folder includes the IntelHaxm.exe used to install the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM) after you have enabled the visualization extensions on your computer, as shown in the following picture. (For more information see the section title Setting Up the x86 System Images for Faster Emulation and visit

If you are not able to configure your computer to use the x86 system images you can still use the ARM-based system images. After you start Eclipse you can select Window -> Android Virtual Device Manager. If the SDK is installed properly you will see that Kindle Fire devices have been added to the Device list (as shown in the picture below). And, Kindle Fire APIs have been added to your Target list. If you want to create an emulator simply click the New button on the Android Virtual Device Manager. The following link provides documentation regarding what API should be associated with each emulated device:

As you create a virtual device you can indicate the type of image you want to use, as shown in the following picture.

Keep in mind that when setting up the devices the SD card and Internal Storage size both impact the amount of time it will take to start and run the device. If you have a large SD card/Internal Storage size you can expect the device to take some time to start. If you want to test your emulators to make sure they load properly before installing your app on the emulator you can access the Android Virtual Device Manager, select the desired emulator then click the Start button. Again, your computer and device configuration will drive how much patience you will need to exercise while waiting for the device to turn on and start, as shown in the picture below.

When you are ready you can follow Amazon's instructions to get started by creating a basic "hello app". This tutorial is located at: With your virtual device (emulator) working and your app created you can run your application using the desired device(s). There are several emulator devices to choose from including the First Generation Kindle Fire, the Second Generation Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, etc. Below are pictures showing the simple sample app running on the First Generation and Second Generation Kindle Fire emulator devices.

First Generation Kindle Second Generation Kindle

The following documentation provides more information on the Kindle Fire device specifications to help you better determine the devices to which you would like to make your apps available: If you have a Kindle Fire Table, you use your device instead of (or in addition to) the emulators to test your apps. For more information see Setting Up Your Kindle Fire Tablet for Testing at

Game Programming - Amazon GameCircle API

Amazon GameCircle provides the API and other tools needed to build game achievements and leaderboards for Kindle Fire games. It also provides the API needed to implement Whispersync so customers can save game progress to the cloud. (You can read an introduction to achievements and leaderboards by reviewing the section titled: A Mobile Game Application in my previous article titled Mobile Software Programming: Designing & Building Mobile Apps (Android).)

To get started with GameCircle you will need an account on Amazon's Mobile Apps Distribution site at . Next you have to create a security profile for your apps.

Once you add a new security profile for your application(s) Amazon automatically generates a ClientID and a Client Secret value. These two values are part of your apps' security profile credentials.  The API Key allows Amazon to verify your app's identity. In addition to the API Key, Credentials are also required.  As part of the Credentials the developer provides the API Key name, a package name and an MD5 signature. A complete security profile is then created for the application (as shown below). For more information on GameCircle configuration visit

(Note:  Keys can be generated or existing digital signatures can be viewed using the Java keytool, which is a key and certificate management tool that manages a keystore used to store cryptographic keys, certificates, etc. These concepts are all part of the public/private key infrastructure (PKI). Certificates and digital signatures can be used to establish the origin of software, with a degree of certainty, based on the underlying cryptography algorithm used. Note that when you install the JDK the keystore tool is added to your computer. And, when you install the Android SDK a debug.keystore file is added to your computer. You can use your computer's search feature to find these files.)

Once you have completed your security profile you can then link your security profile to a GameCircle configuration, as shown in the following picture.

Once you have linked your security profile you can click the View link under leaderboards (in GameCircle, as shown in the above picture) to add leaderboards. And, you can code your leaderboards in Eclipse. To learn more about Kindle Fire Leaderboards you can visit

You can also click the View link under Achievements (in GameCircle) to add Achievements. And, you can use Eclipse to code your game achievements. To learn more about Kindle Fire game achievements you can visit You can also code your game to use Whispersync so customers can access the game and continue playing from any mobile device.

Once you're ready to test your app you can add your testing nickname to GameCircle. You can also associate the applicable leaderboards and achievements to your testing nickname to test your game. For more information see and

For Programmers Who Need Free Access to a Robust Development Environment

For hard-core programmers and game developers a robust programming and testing environment may be required. Whether you plan to build business applications, mobile games, massively multiplayer online (MMO) games or even social networking games for apps like Facebook you may consider trying Amazon Web Services (AWS). To help new AWS customers get started with AWS, Amazon provides information on how usage limits that will enable you to use AWS for free. The AWS Free Usage Tier can be used to gain hands-on experience with AWS; or,  to practice building large-scale games or apps. Visit and look at the section titled AWS Free Usage Tier (Per Month) to see usage limits if you don't want to be charged to use AWS or want to keep charges to a minimal.

There is also an AWS Toolkit for Eclipse, which makes it easier for developers to develop locally or even share files with developers in other locations, if applicable.

A future article will provide more detailed information on programming applications using AWS; and,  distributing your apps/games on Amazon.