Saturday, March 26, 2011

Droidcon 2011 Recap

This week I attended the droidcon in Berlin and I wanted to share some impressions from the conference.

So what is the droidcon all about?

In short:
The droidcon is Germany's biggest android conference targeting developer interests and business trends. It is a two day conference where sessions or talks are held and hands-on workshops are provided. Topics usually include general platform features, third party services, device introductions, business strategies, future outlooks and so on.

If you want to know more about the conference itself visit their site.

As I already said the talks covered all kinds of topics. I want to give you a short wrap-up about the topics which I found to be the most interesting.

Android Test Automation by Julian Harty
Julian gave an overview about various test automation techniques and frameworks. A very useful list of those resources can be found here. One project in particular got my attention as I have been struggling with Activity tests in the past. Julian introduced Matthias Keppler the creator of Calculon, who gave a brief overview about his project. Calculon is a DSL for Activity testing. It gets rid of the boilerplate code and defines tests which are also readable by non-developers. This might be worth checking out.

A new dimension of Android - 3D and more by Erik Hellman
Simply put, this talk was just amazing. Erik Hellman is a Lead Software Architect for Android development at Sony Ericsson and he showed what is possible if you integrate OpenGL into your applications UI. Examples included shadow and light processing on View elements depending on the device's tilt, 2D to 3D conversion of the background image, page turning effects and many more. All that was done in realtime which made the user experience so much richer. He already provided a brief blog post, but you should also check the official presentation if it is released.

Android in the Field of Augmented Reality by Peter Meier
Peter Meier from metaio presented the junaio AR app, its possibilities when it comes to project 3D models or data onto 2D images and he gave a look into the future of AR. He also gave an inside view about the difficulty of image recognition. You can participate in their developer program and create your own AR channel and you can use their recognition capabilities for your own AR needs. Here is a link to their developer area.

Hidden Treasures: Open Android Apps by Friedger Müffke
One of the initiators of the droidcon itself gave a talk about the openness of the android platform itself and that is pretty hard to keep track or to even get information about the Intents which an app can process. He presented his organizations database of registered Intents. You can search for Intents and libraries which might fulfill a certain use case in the Intents registry. The site can be found here.

Workshop for using LiveView by Sony Ericsson
Sony Ericsson did a workshop to promote their LiveView device. It is a small gadget which connects to your android device via bluetooth. Basically it is a secondary screen for keeping track of notifications like incoming calls, facebook and twitter events, and so on. There is even a plugin mechanism to extend its functionality.

How do you Honeycomb? Android for Tablets by Sparky Rhode
Sparky Rhode from Google Munich presented some of the new capabilities of Android 3.0 tablets. He addressed the importance to adapt your apps to tablet devices. He also talked briefly about the backwards compatibility of the honeycomb features by integrating the static library for version 1.6 upwards. A how-to for using the android compatibility package can be found on his blog.

IS24 Dev Contest by Immobilien Scout GmbH
Immobilien Scout is Germany's biggest real estate internet portal and also my employer. They made it possible for me to attend this year's droidcon. As a mobile developer for IS24 I had the chance to participate in the internal developer contest some weeks ago. The outcome of the internal contest was great and a lot of applications and ideas were produced. The external developer contest was announced at the first day of the conference and got a good feedback so far. The contest is about integrating the IS24 REST-API into your app. You can access functionalities like auto completion for regions, exposé search, reference prices for regions, and so on. Cash prices are waiting for the winners of the contest. For complete information about the contest refer to this site. If you are like me and you like to tinker around with APIs you might want to give the contest a try. My app was shown as one of the internal examples. If you are interest in seeing it here is a link to a video demo.

All in all it was a pretty good conference with lots of information and interesting people to meet. Make sure to check the droidcon site over the next few days as they promised to put up the presentations and other useful resources. Thanks to the people who made it happen and I hope to see you next year around.

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