19 December 2007

On the Road with Android

This week finds me at the Google offices in jolly old London after a quick dash out to Belgium last week. I have had the chance to meet the Mobile developers based here in London and give them an introduction to Android, as well as do the same for 70ish external developers from the London area. It has been a fun week of Android hackathons, brainstorming for Android application ideas and occasionally finding bugs and holes in the documentation.

It has been really valuable spending enough time with a group of motivated developers to move beyond the first steps and into real development work. A couple of my temporary office mates here are already well on their way to implementing a general puzzle application for Android. It will enable you to choose your favorite puzzle engines to install and then play a selection of puzzles downloaded on demand from a server – quite an ambitious project for a first try, but these guys are pretty determined and hope to have a prototype of the first puzzle (battleships) working before I hit the road again on Friday. They are also treating the implementation as a chance to learn the architecture: learning the right way to use the architectural pieces in Android rather than opting for the quick and easy shortcuts, which is the best way to really learn a new platform in my experience (don't compromise, be true to your vision).

The week is far from over yet, with another internal and external hackathon planned, and as many more ideas sessions as we can cram in.

As for the London offices – well they are fantastic. Right in the middle of everything, Jaffa Cakes in the kitchens (if you don't know what a Jaffa Cake is, or how to eat one in particular, check out this informative video on the subject). There are also a wealth of pubs within easy walking of the offices, a welcome feature for an ex-pat like me.

With the holidays getting close, don't forget that a new SDK version was announced last week with several improvements. It might be worth grabbing that before taking off for the holidays, just in case you get the urge to do some Android coding while trying to work out if you ate just a bit too much for dinner.

Happy Holidays...