Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#DevoxxBlog: Of Slides and Such

I spent last week at Devoxx, giving several talks with Romain Guy about Android (graphics, GUIs, performance, the latest developer features ... the usual). Now that I've recovered from a total system collapse over the weekend (apparently the body does insist on getting a little sleep now and then), I thought I'd post some thoughts and also the slides from our presentations.


Devoxx is my favorite developer conference. It is a perfect mix of highly technical (focused on developers, not business/marketing/PR), inexpensive (at 350-700 Euros, it's quite a deal for 2-5 days of full technical content of this caliber, even at the current exchange rate of 1 Euro == $97,000.02), and personal (it's a relatively small, single venue, so you're all together there in the talks, in the lobby, in the hallways, and on the show floor). And it's in an interesting venue (Antwerp, while not balmy in November, is a far more interesting location to return to than, say, San Jose). Oh, and the beer is quite nice.

The conference is well run, the talks are professionally recorded and viewable on the excellent parleys.com website, and the beer is tasty. Parleys, and its free subscription for conference attendees, is particularly crucial since the comfortable theater seating guarantees that you'll have to catch up on at least some of the talks later.


Romain and I gave several talks this year, not all of which have accompanying slides:

University: Android Awesomeness
This vaguely-titled 3-hour talk on Monday was in two parts. In the first half, Romain and I did a very quick introduction to the Android 4.0 release, then Philip Milne (another engineer on the Android framework team) followed up with a deep-dive into the GridLayout class that is new in the 4.0 release. The second half was more interactive, as we showed how we use the tools that ship with the SDK to debug performance, memory, and UI issues.
You can download the slides for this talk here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Lab: Just Desserts: Developing with the Latest Features from Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich
This was a 3-hour lab on Tuesday morning in which we showed how to use some of the new features like fragments, TextureView, layers, and animations. No slides for this one; you had to be there. (I may post code projects later once I whip the code into presentable shape).

Session: Graphics Goodies
Wednesday's talk was an updated version of the Android Accelerated Rendering talk we did at Google IO.
Here are the slides.

Session: Sticky GUIs
This presentation on Thursday was a collection of techniques and principles for creating GUI applications that will make your users stick: graphics, performance, animations, GUIs; they're all important.
Here are the slides.

Android Awesomeness, Graphics Goodies, and Sticky GUIs were all recorded and will be available soon on the parleys.com website. You may get more out of the full presentations than from just the slides. In fact, I hope you do, because otherwise I don't know why we traveled that far to present them.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Devoxx: Then and Now

I'm starting to prepare presentations for the ~8 hours of talks that Romain and I are giving at Devoxx in a couple of weeks. "Preparing" generally entails mostly worrying, followed by a mad rush of writing slides and code at night, on the long flight, after beers, between talks, and sometimes during the talks. It's a busy time of year.

I realized that the organizers of Devoxx had recently released all of the recorded talks from last year into the wild (read: they're free on parleys.com), so it seemed worth linking to them in case anyone wanted to see what we had to say last time around.

I'll give a plug for the conference and the Parleys site here. If there were an ad banner, it'd go here. Not because I'm paid (I would make a poor ad salesman, apparently), but because I think that both the conference and the parleys site rock. The organizers do a great job of putting it all together, and the recordings and presentation of the talks on parleys.com is the best I've seen by far of any conferences I've spoken at.

Yes, that young man on the pedestal is
throwing a hand. It's an Antwerp thing.
Parleys is a subscription site; after the annual conference, you can join for the year (for a fee of 79 Euros) to watch all talks given at the conference. During that year, the talks are made freely available, one by one, then at the end they are all free. That year has passed, so the 2010 talks are all available now for free. If you enjoy them, consider joining parleys next time around to see them earlier. Or better yet, join us in balmy Antwerp, where the beer is good and so are the fries.

Dive into Android, Part 1
Romain talks about layout. This talk includes live-coding a custom layout, which is a good lesson in how to do it yourself (although you probably don't need to do it on stage in front of the cameras to make it work the way you want).

Dive into Android, Part 2
I talk about custom graphics. This is kind of a Filthy Rich Client talk, but more focused on the core principles and approaches of doing custom graphics in Android applications. nothing over-the-top filthy, just good stuff to know about Android GUI development.

Android Graphics and Animations
We cover lots of architectural details about the Android platform, including the view hierarchy, classes used in custom graphics, and pre-3.0 animations (remember: this talk was given before Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) was released).

Android UI Development: Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
This talk consists of a smattering of tips that will help you write efficient Android applications. We discuss the various tools that you should use, techniques for avoiding unnecessary garbage creation, and various performance tips.

Flex 4 FunThis is my swan song for the platform that I worked on prior to Android, and for my Flex 4 Fun book that was published last year. I cover various things from the book, including graphics objects, filters, states and transitions, component skinning, and (of course) animation effects (the area I worked on for Flex 4). Lots of demos and code.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Android 4.0 Graphics and Animation

Romain and I wrote this article for the Android developer blog about graphics and animation features (what else?) in the latest Android release.