Sunday, February 7, 2010

Android: Ideal Platform for Busy Java Developers

Android is an appealing technology for Java developers. The platform provides many new capabilities and possibilities. In addition, the learning curve is relatively small.

Learning Curve Matrix
Java XAndroid applications are written using the Java programming language. This should be a major advantage for Android because the Java community is extremely strong.

A skillset that deserves more attention when developing mobile applications is performance. Java developers must adhere to coding practices that optimize performance. Mobile development is the only platform where production devices will run much slower than your local development environment. For example, the emulator running on your local PC will have much greater network bandwidth, RAM, and processing power compared to the mobile devices running in production. Although, within Eclipse you can configure the network speed you want your emulator to simulate. This is a valuable feature for simulating the speed of your application across different performing mobile networks.
Android SDKX The Android SDK is the only new skillset that must be acquired for existing Java developers. The Android developer documentation is very informative and the SDK install has sample applications for nearly every SDK feature. In addition to learning the SDK, developers will also need to become familiar with the Android architecture, lifecycle, and mobile design guidelines. Android's developer documentation contains substantial information within each of these areas.
IDE XThe preferred IDE for developing Android applications is with Eclipse and the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin. Experienced Eclipse developers should have a complete development environment setup in about ten minutes when following the quick start guide. However, other IDE's are supported for Android development too.
Debugger XDebugging Android applications is simple. It is identical to what you have become accustomed to within Eclipse. Simply set your breakpoints and run your application in Debug mode.

The Dalvik Debug Monitor Server (DDMS) is an extremely helpful debug tool that's included within the ADT plugin. It contains features for monitoring threads, CPU usage, memory consumption, and garbage collection. In addition, it allows the developer to mock incoming calls, SMS messages, location controls (GPS positioning), and network speed and latency.
Deploy XRunning your Android application is identical to running a Java application. Within Eclipse, you simply right-click on your project and select Run As -> Android Application.

Again, the ideal advantage Android has for Java developers is the rapid setup and the productivity of leveraging many existing skills. Mobile development requires application developers to think in a slightly new paradigm. Android allows Java developers to focus on this new paradigm exclusively.

Favorite Android Links