I’ve finally written my first real Android app. I dabbled a bit with Android development in the very early days, writing an app that interacted with the web services of the company I was working for at the time. This app was ugly, written for Froyo, and frankly barely worked at all. It was a 20% time project at my then-employer, but I never went back and worked on it after the initial effort, and never even bothered getting it packaged into the Android Market, largely out of embarrassment.
I’ve been wanting to get into Android development more seriously since that effort, because I overall liked the idea, and as a big Android user myself, I felt that it was essential I be able to develop applications for my own device, as being unable to do so was a lot like using Linux without the ability to write shell scripts.
I’ve taken two all-day training sessions on Android before as part of larger development conferences, and while I was able to suss out some basics about the lifecycle and other Android fundamentals from them, neither left me with any sense of real understanding of how I could develop something for Android that people might actually use. But at OSCON 2013, I took an excellent half-day Android class taught by Marko Garenta. Among other things, he showed me, for the first time, how to write a modern-looking Holo app, how to use asynchronous background tasks, how to transition between multiple activities, and how to handle fragmentation issues. These were never touched on in my all-day sessions, and they’re all large barriers to writing real applications.
Once I left the class I had a sense that I actually now knew enough that, with some help from web searches, I could actually write an Android app. I just needed a good idea, so I tried to take notice of various itches in my life to see if I could scratch any with a phone app.