Android 2 Day Developer Workshop : 21 – 22 January 2012 Mumbai

Mind Storm Software successfully conducted another edition of its 2-Day Android Developer Workshop last weekend. This was the 2nd workshop that we have conducted this year and it went off well with a next set of developers all set to launch themselves into their Android programming journey.

We had 10 folks joining us for this edition and all of them were working software professionals. Our venue again was the Residency Hotel and we were hosted in the large and spacious Indigo Conference Room. Travelling in Mumbai is always a challenge especially if you are finding the place for the first time but we were all set to go with minimum of delay on the first day.

The workshop has found a successful pattern now and the first half of the first day is spent in understanding what Android is, developer machine setup and the traditional Hello World program. The rest of the first day typically sees us through Activities, Built in Intents, Views & Layouts and List Activity.

Residency Hotel tried their level best to put us to sleep during the afternoon by giving us a sumptuous lunch and like a strict school teacher, I made sure that the participants were getting none of their afternoon sleep by giving them hands on exercises.

The second day kicked off with Menus, Dialogs and various persistence options like Files, Shared Preferences and SQLite database support in Android. The afternoon started off with Networking, Maps and GPS and then a complete Android application called Quotes.

The session that I enjoy most is to show how to build the APK, show the Android Marketplace and demonstrate how ridiculously easy it is to publish your Application to the marketplace. We also play a little game in which the APKs are submitted on a first come first served basis to see which participants APK gets through successfully first.

The few things that I changed in this workshop were:

  • Clear labels in the applications telling what we are going to see next.
  • A New Example on combining GPS and Maps together.
  • Introduction of NodeJS in the Android Networking section. More on that in a later paragraph.
  • Cleaned up the UI in various sample code.
  • Updates to some of the hands on exercises.

Just to note, every participant gets the slides, roughly 20 odd Do-It-Yourself hands on exercises, all source code for the sample applications and the hands on exercises.

One of the important new introduction that I introduced in this workshop was the use of NodeJS in the session on Networking. NodeJS has been a neat way to setup a server locally for the participants to try out Android networking examples without the need to go outside the network to a web service. What I have done is to stub out the Networking calls with the correct JSON responses and simple run NodeJS on the local participant laptops. This saves a lot of time and everyone learns about NodeJS too. I will cover more on my usage of NodeJS in another blog post. In short, no more explaining Tomcat, web apps and stuff like to setup a local server. Simply whip up some Javascript, stub the response JSON and node your way to local services nirvana.

I have become a bit superstitious with my Workshops and wear a cute little Android pin on both the days. The Android pins are shown below and they are quite a hit with all the participants. I wear the formal Android on Saturday and the beach wear Android on Sunday.

One of the questions that I always get asked is where I got these lovely pins from? The Android pins were sent by my dear friend from France, Jerome Baton. Jerome is a passionate Java developer. He did the technical review of two great books on Android that I highly recommend and refer to constantly : Android in Action and Android in Practice from Manning Books. Thank you Jerome for the pins and for all the conversations on programming we have been having over the last few years.

This is the 6th batch that we have conducted in the last 4 months and every batch has given me great inputs in terms of the topics that they would like to see more of. With that in mind, I am happy to inform everyone that I have several topics that I have identified for an Advanced Course in Android, which is a followup to this course. Participants who have attended my introductory 2-Day workshop and even developers who have a basic knowledge of Android programming will benefit from this new course. The new course will delve into areas like Services, Broadcast Receivers, Widgets, Content Providers, Sensors and some UI related topics. The topics are still open for discussion and it might end up being a 1-day or a 2-day course. Stay tuned for more details.

I would also like to announce a piece of good news at this blog. We have been conducting this course in Mumbai, which is where we live and work. We are soon going international and are going to conduct the 2-Day Android Developer Workshop in Dubai in February. I am extremely excited to take this workshop across the Arabian sea. Thank you everyone for attending the workshop and helping me take it to the next level.

The feedback as with earlier workshops has been great. These 6 workshops have now provided me with enough gotchas that beginner Android programmers face while dealing with Java, Android SDK and the Eclipse tools. I plan to publish a series of articles where I will present those findings and solutions. Keep track of my blog.

We are going to conduct the same workshop in Mumbai in February too. The dates are not finalized and I would recommend to let us know if you would like to join the course. The batch is limited to 10 only. Please visit the 2-Day Android Workshop page and write to us indicating your interest.

The Mind Storm Android training has started well in January 2012. We thank all those who have been part of this workshop. Stay tuned for much more.

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