MindStorm Software took its popular Android Hands-On Workshop across the seas for a change. This time the city was Dubai and the Hands-On Workshop was conducted for DCode Mobility, a leading provider of Enterprise Mobility solutions, headquartered in UAE and serving the entire Middle East.
DCode Mobility had seasoned developers who have been delivering enterprise mobility solutions for several years. They have primarily used the Windows 6.x Enterprise devices and their development platform of choice so far has been the Microsoft Tools. With the advent of Android, which is a game changer of late, DCode wants to be leading the game when it comes to providing solutions on the Android handsets also. Most of the existing Handset manufacturers in the Enterprise space are releasing newer handsets that run the Android operating system, chief among them being Motorola, which has brought out its latest enterprise device, the ET1 Tablet that runs the Android Operating System.
The Developer Training kicked off with the usual introduction to Android. A healthy mix of sales and marketing folks were also present during this session to help them understand what Android has to offer, its various capabilities, the kind of applications that it can enable, the current Enteprise mobile space and so on. We then proceeded with the setup and the quintessential “Hello World” project, which is a tradition as far as we programmers are concerned. The afternoon saw a deep dive into activities, explicit/implicit intents and User Interface creation along with Layouts and the default Android ListActivity. The Hands On Exercises kept the participants busy and everyone was itching to get the applications running on the ET1 tablet that was available during the training.
The next day proceeded with Menus, Persistence options like databases and Alert Dialog. Once through with that, we got through some REST based Networking, Google Maps and GPS Programming. The focus then shifted to working with the ET1 Tablet. Participants were able to build the Android application (.APK) and transfer them over the ET1 Tablet to see their application in action. Since the participants were from an enterprise mobility background and they had already written several Windows Mobile applications that did scanning, we did an interesting experiment over there. We integrated the ZXing library, which is a top of the line bar coding library from Google. We integrated that into our Android application and used the ET1 back facing camera to scan various 1D, 2D bar codes and decode them. That went off really well and gave everyone the confidence that yes they can write Android applications with all the scanning and other bells and whistles into it.
The Motorola ET1 Tablet is a cool device, in fact a rugged device that runs the Android OS. It runs version 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) Android OS. The device is fairly rugged, has both front and back facing camera and can be augmented by external hardware like a bar code reader, etc. With the purchase of Motorola Mobility by Google, the ET1 and its eventual successors present a great set of choices to organizations that are evaluating different options to replace the Microsoft 6.x Enterprise devices.
The training experience was good. Lots of questions asked, especially from the business side of things, so that the Android Devices and the applications that it can enable can be positioned across the Enterprise space. I am quite excited at the opportunities that exist in that region vis-a-vis training and Android development and I look forward to frequenting the place again in the near future. If you are looking for a serious 2-3 Day Hands-On course on Android in the Middle East, give me a shout and we can get this rolling along for you.
Our next workshop is scheduled for the coming weekend, February 25-26 , 2012 in Mumbai. The response has been encouraging and I look forward to training this specific batch of students, who will help me reach the milestone of 100+ individuals that I have coached individually to get them started in their Android Development Journey.
Thank you to all who have given me the support. Expect interesting things in the weeks and months ahead. As a teaser — How about an Advanced Android course?