I’m With Android Now

05/02/2012 § Leave a comment

A friend of mine whom I greatly admire recently announced that her employer had told her team to start writing for the Android/Dalvik platform. I notice adverts for a lot of postions around here for Android developers, so I decided to give the situation a closer look. Well, I can say that after a few hours of messing around with the Eclipse/ADT combo, its really not that bad. The installation process is rather tedious, but once you get it all together its pretty sweet.

I first installed the whole kit and kaboodle on my Mint Linux rig, and it works, but I think I need to install the whole mess on my Mac. Eclipse is the only environment I’ve installed on this netbook that runs as slowly as it does, and the Android emulator is like molasses on it. But it was pretty cool to see it fire up and run the example program.

I’m no stranger to Java, I made friends with it back during its inception, JDK 1.0 babay. Since then I’ve watched with fascination the added functionality (JSP pages, yay!), Tomcat come of age, the very welcome JMS and enterprise stuff, all of it. So looking through the code was like weloming back an old friend. Aside from all the Action objects there’s been nothing in it that’s been terribly frightening. Even the XML layouts were familiar. I think this is something I could get used to.

I’ve been meaning to jump on Android development anyway, there are a number of applications I would like to have on my phone, cheif among them is a password database. This is the primary, number one must have application for me. Using firefox to keep track of the credentials for the web sites I visit is fine, but I have more passwords I need to remeber than that. I have 3 machines here, plus I encrypt all my media, so that includes a 1.5 TB USB drive that I use for back up and media storage, plus a number of smaller drives for convinence, again, all encrypted. Plus I have the credentials to a number of web site back ends I have access to, source code repositories, bank account numbers, pin codes, telephone access codes, and on and on. Many more than I care to keep in my head. So I record everything I need on a simple note pad on my Android phone. I do this becuase all of the apps that I have cared to sample to do this sort of thing carry much more crap with them than I care to deal with, or the interface is rediculously complex, or they don’t encrypt the data I’m storing, or so on. I want this app to do one thnig. Well, all right, two. I also want it to sync up with a desktop app I’m envisioning, via a simple web service, I haven’t really worked out the details yet. But I have a list of wants and needs and if I just write it myself I’ll get exactly what I want. Plus, if it seems good to me, maybe I can put it on the Android market, oh, excuse me, this week its called “Play”, and that will look good to prospective customers. So that’s a win.

I’m kind of exited, and when its done I’m hoping to leave a ‘things went better than expected’ comment.

There are a lot of tools and freely available ways to develop for Android, one of them I’ve looked at briefly is the Objective C tool, it looks interesting, and I understand its the compiler of choice for the iSDK, which is another platform I should look at, but I don’t have an iPhone, all my testing would have to be through what ever emulation is available for that platoform unless I decide to get one. Probably not going to happen real soon. I think I’m going to install the Eclipse/ADT suite on my Mac and see what pops up. More as more developes.

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