Google I/O 2016 developer talks

Last May 18th to 20th was the Google I/O 2016. The Google I/O is an annual conference for developers. Besides the usual marketing numbers, the keynote is often used to announce new products and services Google is planned to launch later this year. This year Google announced Google Home, a new messenger app Allo, a video calling app Duo and more. Besides these announcements, there are also a lot of interesting talks where Google developers tell us about how to use new, improved and existing APIs. A lot of those talks are available on Youtube. Below is a list of talks that I watched and found interesting enough to share.

The talk below is about using the right APIs to prevent your app to slow down the users phone or to drain the battery.

The talk below is about changes that were introduced in Android Marshmallow and Android N and other good practices to keep in mind to secure data in your app.

The talk below is about the new Awareness API. There are already numerous APIs that can detect the users’ activity, geofencing, whether the headphones are plugged in and more. Combining these APIs can be difficult, especially in terms of efficiency. The Awareness API efficiently combines the aforementioned APIs.

The talk below is a deep dive into the RecyclerView.

The final talk I would like to share is a deep dive into Fragments.

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Droidcon London 2015: Microservices

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Near the end of two days of Droidcon, Duana Stanley of SoundCloud shared how SoundCloud migrated from a monolithic architecture for their public API to microservices. This talk was interesting because currently, we are working on a public API which currently has a monolithic architecture. This talk triggered me to read more into microservices. Martin Fowler and James Lewis wrote an interesting and elaborate blog post on this subject.

The idea of microservices is that you have a suite of separate services which communicate with each other. An advantage of this, is that it is possible to deploy multiple instances of a microservice that is heavily being used. For instance, if you have an account service with which you can login. And a service to get a list of street names. The street name service would probably be used more often than the account service. So you would deploy three street name services and one account service.

The use of microservices an interesting alternative for the monolithic architecture. The biggest question I currently have, is when should you transition to microservices? What is your opinion?

 

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Video Skills Matter – Droidcon London 2015

 

Droidcon UK 2013: Magical App Testing by TestFairy

The first day of Droidcon UK 2013 was filled with barcamps. One of those barcamps was Magical App Testing by TestFairy. At first I was sceptical. Magical app testing doesn’t exist. Or does it?

TestFairy is an online service to test your apps. You upload the apk you want to have tested; you invite your testers and you can review the results of the tests. Not really spectacular, yet.

One part of your test results is a video of what your tester did during the test. That is really awesome. Log entries that were printed during the test are actually synchronised with the video. So when you see an error in the video, you know exactly where to look. Too see an example of the test results, please see the demo page on the TestFairy website.

 

For now, the service is free. There will be enterprise solutions in the near future though. But the basic features stay free, is what they currently say.

BattleHack update 2

So an update when we are almost halfway. A little more than 13 hours left. And how are we doing? Igor did excellent job on creating a backend using Apiomat. A pretty cool service that lets you create an api in minutes. Literally! Check it out at http://www.apiomat.com/.

Meanwhile, the Android client is not as far as we had hoped. The experience with the Google Play Location Services is quite disappointing until now. Geofences are registered by each individual Android app. Why are geofences not created by a third party service like Google Cloud Messaging? Please let us know why you think it is a good idea to register geofences by the client.

The Google Play Location Services has it advantages. But at the moment the documentation is insufficient and we don’t have the time to test everything. So we are creating our own implementation to register the entry and exit events for a geofence.

Lets hope this approach will get us somewhere!

BattleHack Berlin

This weekend, in an old baker factory in the center of Berlin is going to be the battleground for BattleHack Berlin. The event is organised by PayPal and is held at the Wooga offices. The goal of the hackethon is to solve a local problem. The idea we are going to execute is named Emergency Location Aware Notifications, or ELAN. The floods that happened in cenral europe is a perfect example. How cool would it be to have an app that sends notifications to the area that is going to flood to inform the people there.

The hacking starts 12.30 this afternoon until 12.30 on Sunday. We’ll try to send updates as much as possible, but we also want to come back as a winner.

The hackers are:

AliIgor and Coen

 

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Google I/O 2013 Keynote Highlights

In mobile, there are only a few key events each year. One of them is the Google I/O and it has begun! Because of the huge demand for tickets to the conference, a lot of people were to be disappointed. However, because the event is hosted by Google, a lot of presentations are being streamed live. Which results in lots of viewing parties around the world called Google I/O Extended.

The unofficial one

Sadly, the official dutch Google I/O Extended was sold out even faster than the actual event. However, the dutch public broadcaster NOS together with the Dutch Android User Group initiated a meetup as the official unofficial Google I/O Extended. The meetup started with a small introduction by the meetup hosts. After that, diner was served and the keynote started.

Below are the highlights of the keynote.

Android

To slap you in the face with it, no new Android version was released. Also no new Nexus devices. However, the rumours about a Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android were true. This will probably give a boost to Samsungs smartphone sales. That’s just what they needed to destroy the competition.

Android Studio

For developers there is now Android Studio. This is an IDE which is based on ItelliJ. This studio is optimised for developing Android apps. This results in string previews in your code that you actually defined in xml. It also enables previews on multiple device sizes for the layouts you defined in xml. For now it’s an early access preview. So you could also consider the Eclipse + ADT Bundle.

Services

A number of new or updated services were presented. There are some new location based apis. The new apis allows geofencing up to three hundred fences per app. Google Cloud Messaging allows data being send from the device to the server. The gaming service enables developers to easily setup multiplayer connections.

Developer Console

Google already changed a lot in the developer console before the event. The new layout was introduced and for only a month, the old developer console became deprecated. Since last week, it is possible to respond to user reviews. But they saved the best for last. They enabled alpha, beta and production releases within the developer console. For the production release, there is also staged rollouts. This is just awesome!

Chrome

The Google Chrome team worked on web components. Web components are packets of html, css and javascript and it enables developers to create their own first class html tags. This should work on mobile devices and desktop browser. But it will only work with Chrome obviously.

Another item on the list of the Chrome team is standardised payments. This means that you only have to enter your credentials into Google Wallet once. The credentials are synced across all your devices.

Google Play for Education

Google announced Google Play for Education. This is basically a filter per school grade. The cool part is though, that a teacher can recommend apps that are useful for education and can buy it for the entire school. Of course, the distribution is executed based on Google accounts of the scholars.

Other announcements

Above are the most interesting announcements, but there were many more. Google Plus analyses your post to automatically add hashtags and display related content. The new app Hangouts means competition for Whatsapp. Google Search answers your question, but also anticipates your next question. Google Maps reroutes based on traffic incidents. A wrapup of the keynote can be found here.

Conclusion

The keynote was quite disappointing from a hardware point of view. But from a software point of view it was quite awesome. The announcements are really impressive. However, it also becomes very scary. Of course it is common knowledge that Google collects all data that we are providing them. But they integrate that more and more in their services. This enables great innovations, but it also makes the users that much more dependant.