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The last few days I had the time and opportunity to code a little bit with the Android SDK.  It was not always fun, sometimes annoying, but let me give a short summary of my experiences. Please refer to the documentation if you don’t know what I am talking about. 🙂

With the examples you find in the documentation you get first results fast. But sometimes the documentation misses important information, e.g., the tutorial for ListActivity . My application wasn’t working anymore after customizing the example. The error message wasn’t really helpful at all, only a comparison of my XML description and the one in the documentation helped me out.  At the end it was a simple attribute missing but even then it wasn’t clear why it is important.

Error messages can definitely become more helpful, at least, they should indicate if the problem is located in the code or in the XML description. Or maybe I should just get used toLogCat. 😛

XML description of activities, menus and resources is a key concept and easy to use. It is easy just to modify a XML description to change the layout, to add new resources and to include that into the application. It is so easy that you don’t hesitate to modify the XML description directly via a text editor.

I also tried to include sound and video files. It is easy for sound files but I have problems with my video. Maybe I should also try some other video formats, ’cause I get sound but no video output.

Another issue is that the documentation misses a best practice example for inter-activity communication, or, in other words, the communication between different windows. It lists possible solutions but additional examples would be helpful. I just decided to use an awful, not clean, fast to implement solution and introduced a static field, shame on me… .

So, to get to an end, there are still issues for the application developer, issues the SDK can easily get rid of, I guess.

I hope they do because, after all, I really enjoyed coding with the SDK. Now, there are only nice devices missing… .


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June 2009
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