I listen to a bunch of podcasts, but there are a core few that make me better at what I love doing, writing Android apps. Here are some of podcasts I listen to that are tailored to Android developers. I more or less take at least one thing away that makes me a better Android developer or makes my current project, PrēmoFM, better.
Queue the Xzibit meme…
Android Developer Backstage
Link -> androidbackstage.blogspot.com
Android Developer Backstage (ADB? <— well played) is a podcast hosted by engineers who work on Android at Google. Chet Haase leads the podcast. They’ll often have guests on from other teams within Google, such as the tools team, Google Play Services, Android Wear, and many more. There’s nothing like getting tips on Android development from those building the operating system and tools.
Link -> fragmentedpodcast.com
Fragmented is a recently launched podcast, hosted by Donn Felker & Kaushik Gopal. These two often provide tips, tricks, and tools tons of Android developers would benefit from exploring, such as tools for unit testing, emulator alternatives, new libraries, etc. The latest episode (Episode 3) includes a guest developer from Trello, Dan Lew, who offers some knowledge using RxJava on Android.
Link -> autocomplete.fm
Autocomplete has a similar feel to Fragmented. The hosts, Jay Ohms, Jordan Beck, and Michael Novak, are all Android developers who have written apps. I know them from their work on the beautifully designed RSS app, Press. They tend to dive into relevant Android / Android development topics of the time. They haven’t released an episode in a few months, but their backlog is still very relevant.
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
-> Art and Fear via Stratechery
Romain Guy, an Android framework engineer, gave a great talk at Devoxx on building Android apps in a memory conscious fashion. See the link at the end of the post for the entire slide deck.
One thing always stood out to me, using int variables instead of enums. As great as Java enums are (self documenting, type safety, etc), the following slide convinced me not to use them unless I really needed to.
It may seem like a trivial amount, but 1) that’s an order of magnitude smaller when you use int variables instead of enums and 2) a couple thousand bytes here and there in aggregate can lead to substantial savings. Those memory savings matter, especially on lower end devices.
-> Android Memories
Several times a week, Hall says, he receives unsolicited emails from companies hoping to help Hipster Whale with things like monetization and user acquisition and all of the marketing terms that permeate the freemium gaming sector. Hall isn’t interested, even if he suspects they’d be effective, because there’s one term they use that alienates him: “Whales.” Players who spend inordinate amounts of money in free-to-play games, often despite themselves.
“Once you realize you don’t have to hunt whales, and you can make money in this way, then hopefully people will give it a shot, and we’ll get lots of cool stuff on the app store,” he says.”
I’ve received similar offers for app marketing and monetization services. To be honest, 99% of them seem very shady. I’m happy that it’s still very possible to make a great product and not need to flog your users for cash or resort to “shady” tactics. $10 million in 90 days, I’d take that in a heartbeat.
-> The Story of Cross Road
If you build and sell mobile apps, in particular Android apps. This is a must watch.