Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend a day with the GDG Belfast Meetup looking at Android Development (with Kotlin) . The GDG (Google Development Group?) is for anyone that’s interested in Google’s developer technology. In my case I was looking for an overview that explained the similarities and differences between IOS and Android development and I got what I was after. Attendance may have been a little lower than expected but I think the attendee’s engaged with the trainer, Gareth really well and were able to explore some of the subtleties and benefits of the platform.
The first surprise was the clash between Android Studio and Docker on Windows. Whilst a minor distraction in this case since I didn’t need Docker for the training day – a bit more research is probably needed – on Windows and Mac to scope out options . The second surprise was the size of some of the downloads required and the length of time to update an existing installation of Android Studio which had been used before. It should have come as no real surprise since device images are required by the emulator for various devices (and there are quite a few). The patch time however was more than an hour and thankfully most of that had been done before attending the event.
The day was practical and going through various build options and explaining the device capability support through the release levels was the main thrust. The second “stage” of the event was the working through of an example application in Kotlin which was my first exposure to the language although previous work with Java made more sense of the language than I expected. The syntax similarities with Swift were a great help – although at some points I had to remind myself this was a JVM language. First impressions – I think Kotlin may be a good fit for me looking at Android development.
I enjoyed the day – chatting to the other attendees was enlightening as we were probably coming to the event and Android development from different directions. I would certainly attend similar events and recommend them to others as its a way of getting into a subject with the added benefit of the trainer and other attendees practical experiences. Thanks to the attendee who provided pizza – much appreciated as we worked our way through the challenges. Thanks to Gareth for taking the time to help get started with Android development – and here’s hoping for more events from GDG Belfast.