Android Development Lessons from AnDevCon II

I just got back from AnDevCon II in San Francisco where I got a lot of great material for my Android development efforts, and of course for this blog.  It was great, and as promised it was very developer focused. I enjoyed seeing what Android developers are focused on.

What did I take away from it?  I’ll need a bit of time to stew over the information and pull out the most important stuff.  There really was an incredible amount.

Some highlights:

Automating Android Testing

There was a lot of attention to automating and simplifying testing.  From scripting to services, there were a lot of people talking about and demoing testing options, including static and dynamic analysis tools.

I really like that there are a lot of free/open source testing options that are very mature and well supported by the community.  I think that these options are vital for small Android developers.

There were also paid options (which support and are based on open source!) which are also important, given how many large companies are pushing into Android.

I have a lot of work planned to upgrade my environment to not just improve testing, but to automate creation of the various app targets for each of the markets that I deploy to.  Look for some posts soon!

Tablets, the Kindle Fire, and the Nook

Tablets are hitting primetime.  While Android 3.0 introduced us to some neat new tablet features for Android, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is paving the way forward for tablets and phones to have a unified OS.  That makes it much more worth our time to develop with the modern Android features like fragments and the action bar.

And then there’s the Kindle Fire.  It will be Android 2.3.4.  There isn’t any reason to expect that they’ll be going to Android 4.0 – it doesn’t offer anything to Amazon (that we know of  yet).

This curveball from Amazon surprised some tablet developers, because Honeycomb was touted as the OS for Android tablets.  Now it is suddenly important for your tablet apps to be Android 2.x compatible!  Alternatively, your phone apps had better run on a 7″ tablet well!

Another important device is the Nook Tablet.  It will be even more powerful than the Nook Color, which already runs Android 2.x.  The Nook market is definitely on my radar now, so expect a post on that in the future.

Not just bigger… also smaller

Another big hit at the conference was the Wimm wearable Android device.  Seriously, at 32mmx36mm it’s the smallest Android device I’ve seen, and it runs Android 2.3.

We’re all thinking of applications for this, and if nothing else the tinkering possibilities would be very fun.  The fact that there will be an app store makes it even more enticing.

Payment systems

To be honest, I wasn’t particularly excited about the myriad of payment systems.  Basically, everyone except for PayPal X seems to think that they’ll be immune from Google’s rules about not circumventing Google for in-app purchases (e.g. app upgrades and other digital purchases).

I wouldn’t make a business model betting on not getting caught.

All the same, there’s a lot of work going on in the on-phone purchasing arena, and by some big players as well as small.  There’s bound to be some interesting fallout for developers, and you can bet that I’ll be watching this evolve.

With any luck, we’ll eventually have a more unified way to process in-app purchases between the various Android app markets so we can implement a business model around in-app purchases that doesn’t involve a convoluted system for handling various app markets.

Performance tuning

There was a lot of info about performance tuning, both from industry veterans as well as from Google employees.

I’ll be sharing some of these tips in the next few posts.  I really got some great actionable tips that I intend to put to use right away.

What’s next?

I have a tremendous amount of material to process from AnDevCon, and I’ll be posting as I work through it.  I have a lot of updates to make to my Android development process, and I think you’ll want to follow along.

If you want a more inside view with more details, be sure to subscribe to my email list, the ProjectJourneyman BrainCast.

Posted in Android permalink

About ProjectJourneyman

I am a software engineer that escaped the cubicle world at a large company to go solo with Android app development. My attention to detail and quality applies both to my apps and to my research on how to make money with Android. Now that I have the freedom to work on my own projects, I am documenting my efforts in the hopes that it will help other current or aspiring independent Android developers get the income they desire.


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