Android, Android Forums Sri Lanka, Programming

Etisalat Android Forum 2012

Etisalat AndroidThe second Etisalat Android Forum was held on Friday 28th January 2012, at Cinnamon Lakeside. The day was divided catering two categories of people.

  • Morning – Advance Class for Android Developers
  • Evening – The ABC’s of Android for Beginners

I personally wanted to attend the evening session, because I didn’t know anything else other than the existence of an OS called Android. Doh! But because of my lecture schedules, I realized that I won’t be able to make it in the evening and just thought of peeping around at the Advanced Class though I had a strong feeling that I wouldn’t understand a thing they would be talking. And when the sessions kicked off…. as usual to my surprise, the topics discussed were definitely related to my domain of knowledge, so Thank God, that I went for it without chickening after seeing the topic! 🙂

Okay now, getting down to the real deal…The morning sessions were divided as following :

  • Session 1 – Why Should You Android? by Buddhika Siddhisena
  • Session 2 – HTML5 vs Native by Misha Seltzer
  • Session 3 – Android widgets? by Shan Sinnathambi
  • Session 4 – Panel Discussion – Localizing Apps
  • Session 5 – Getting the Best out of Your App

Before I dive into the sessions, this review is not a full review of the Forum as I was unable to stay for the entire forum for the Developers. I’ll be only elaborating on the first 3 sessions and a bit about the 4th session. So if you wanna know about the entire event, better search another post 😉

A short video was shown on how Android has reached across the world and how it has become one of the giants when it comes to the Mobile world.

Why Should You Android?

Android WristwatchAs usual Bud’s presentation was very interesting. He spoke of the very basics to give a heads up to those who didn’t have the slightest idea about Android. The session started off with the introduction of the OS, its architecture and other basics about Android. He gave some examples on how the Android OS was used in various products like Refrigerators, Smart TV’s (Google TV)and the future of it (Android Wristwatch).

Later on Bud gave some areas of focus for the developers to venture into.

He shared some ideas which were implemented using LED to detect the blood pressure Android Fridgeand pulled out some innovative ideas from his creative head as well. Later on he gave some steps to follow in the process of developing an App in both HTML5 and Native form. These are the 2 basic modes in which one could develop and app. If you are not into Java and hard core programming you can opt for HTML5 and if you are into Java you can go for Native.

Native HTML5
Java HTML, CSS, JavaScript
Download the Android SDK Develop App
Download Eclipse Test on Webkit Browser
Develop app Test on Emulator
Test on Emulator (Available in Android SDK) Test on Device
Test on Device Test on Server
Convert to Native via PhoneGap

One thing to note was the emphasis on registering your app with Google. Apps registered are more reliable and secure.

HTML5 vs Native

Along with the intro given by the former speaker on this Misha who came from Google, Israel to speak at the forum was geared to encourage users to use HTML5 and then re-encourage them to use Native as well 🙂 It was a balance view on the two. Misha also spoke on Apps / Web for Mobile. He showed that the beauty of Native was that it was directly connected to the hardware. He went on to explain how one could write only a few lines of code to achieve what PhoneGap offered and it is not necessary that one should always rely on it. Some useful links from which the presentation was inspired were also provided for those who were interested in digging deeper.

The speaker also explained some useful code snippets that can be used during the development process. For instance, configuring the touch aspects, GeoLocation, etc; There were some interesting demos by the speaker, but on a personal level, I thought that the level of interest had a slight drop after the first speaker. It could have been a bit more interactive and interesting in terms of the content covered. And I personally don’t fancy anyone reading out a code snippet off of a slide unless a live demo is done with it.

Android Widgets

Android WidgetsShan took over the stage and gave some knowledge to the audience on how to create a simple Widget. The first demo was a simple Digital Clock, secondly he did a demo on widgets which were based on LBSLocation Based Service and at last Shan showed how to create a widget using embedded Google Maps.

  • Steps to create a simple widget
  1. Create an Android Project
  2. Create Java Class – public class MyWidget extends AppWidgetProvider
  3. Create Code
  4. Create UI XML file – Edit the view for the widget
  5. Update Android Manifest file (AndroidManifest.xml)
  6. Create WidgetProvider file.
  • GeolocationLBS

Shan explained that there were two types of LBSs.

  1. Location
  2. Location Maps

Main techniques to get the location are, GPS, Cell Tower Triangulation and Wi-fi Triangulation. In order to enable LBS you have to enable the LocationManager class.

  • Embedding LBS  – For this you need to get a Google map API key.

The drawback of this session, is similar to the previous, reading out codes from the slide…Big NO! And the presenter also failed to keep the enthusiasm level high with his presentation.

Panel Discussion

Next the stage was set for some of the major players of the field to contribute their views. Two of who were Dhanika Perera and Harsha Purasinghe.

Dhanika spoke on Localization of Apps. A maestro in localization, he showed that only 10% of the Sri Lankan population qualified in English Literacy and 90% of the population had the need of localized apps. He proved this need by drawing a comparison between a news app that was only available in English released two months ago and another news app available in both Sinhala and Tamil released a month ago. Hands down, the download rates of the bilingual app compared to the English app was higher by a broader margin within a month of its existence. Since there is a need he encouraged those who were interested to explore this area.

Harsha taking over, was intimidated by the Android fanatics because he was inclined towards IOS 🙂 Nevertheless, he gave his view on Android in the Enterprise. He presented three types of models available in the market,

  1. Appstore Model
  2. Traditional Advertising Model
  3. Dynamic Model – Where one is able to come up with their own terms and conditions.

Therefore he explained about these models and how one could cater to either one of these to get their apps across to the world.

Right after his speech, I escorted myself out where I was surprised with a free gift of 10GB data 🙂 But more than that I think I value the knowledge I gained from the forum and I’m glad that I attended it!