Droidcon 2013 Notes

droidcon.pngI was at Droidcon London last Friday. There seemed to be a lot more attendees actually doing Android development rather than people ‘thinking about Android’ as was more the case in previous years. Here are some things I came across that might be of interest to Android developers…

  • The Developer Lab has a new DEVICE initiative that allows access to legacy handsets for testing. You send them one of your legacy handsets to become a member.
  • Genymotion is a new Android emulator that uses virtualisation rather than ARM emulation that makes it much faster than the SDK-supplied emulators.
  • More people seem to be using Android Studio but the consensus seems to be it’s not yet a 100% reliable replacement to Eclipse. I, for one, don’t use it yet.
  • The Firefox Android browser open source provides a great example should you ever need to create your own toolbar, especially if you need overflow menus. The Firefox talk also mentioned the Mozilla written Droid Inspector that exports a file that allows you to debug UI overdraws and Smoothie that allows async loading of listviews.
  • There were several mentions of how Android developers should be pushing back on designers that produce iOS-centric designs for Android development. Jamie McDonald also gave the great observation that "navigation is not a brand" i.e. You should rarely change the Android navigation with the excuse that it better follows your brand. It’s often better to stick to the built-in ActionBar which can easily be styled using Action bar Style Generator.
  • Take a look at Square’s Dagger (dependency injection), Otto (event subscription/broadcast), retrofit (type-safe REST client), Picasso (image downloading and caching) and OKHttp (Http and SPDY client).
  • SQLCipher is an interesting ‘drop-in’ replacement for SQLite that allows for encrypted data storage. However, it’s fairly large at 7Mb for the ARM version. Also check out IOCipher that’s an encrypted file system backed by SQLCipher.