Autumn 2015: A season full of Android conferences
David Vávra is our team’s talented Google Developer Expert (GDE) for Android. Throughout this autumn, he attended a collection of valuable Android conferences. In this post, David walks us through his experiences and outlines his most interesting takeaways from the conferences.
Droidcon Stockholm was a two-day event held in Debaser Medis, a classic rock club in Stockholm. As you might imagine, it proved to be an interesting venue for a tech conference! The organization was a little more “punk” than most other conferences, but the conference was still jam-packed with talks containing strong content and served as a great opportunity to network with fellow industry professionals. Fun fact: Czech beers are quite popular in Stockholm. We visited a place where they served five different Czech beers on tap.
One talk that I found to be especially useful discussed building Android SDKs from Fabric, a platform for mobile developers from Twitter. It was also interesting to take a closer look at Spotify’s automated testing environment in a talk Sustainable test automation. As for me, my presentation at the conference dealt with Android TV development. All the Droidcon talks can be found here.
This year’s Droidcon Greece was the very first Droidcon event in the country. It was organized by the very enthusiastic GDG Thessalonikigroup. Based on the number of attendees present, it was a smaller conference, but I loved it. G(r)eeks (Greek geeks) showed us true Greek hospitality. We had a tour of beautiful Thessaloniki and many parties along the way. Did you know that Greeks usually go to restaurants around 11 p.m. and start eating around midnight? Needless to say, we didn’t sleep much.
All talks were recorded. I suggest watching a talk about Kotlin on Android from Jetbrains -- it really shifted my point of view on the language. Java 7 is so outdated now! I also enjoyed a workshop about RxJava from Big Nerd Ranch. You can do the workshop yourself here. It’s an innovative approach to learning a new language -- it’s based on tests that all fail in the beginning, and your job is to make them ‘green’. At Droidcon Greece, I delivered a talk about Doze Mode & App Standby in Android M. All talks from the conference can be found here.
Big Android BBQ is a new conference brand with roots in Texas. It’s primarily supported by Google and is known for a less formal environment (and a real BBQ party!). This autumn, the conference came to Europe for the first time, so I gave it a shot. The conference itself was fine, and the content of the talks was strong. However, I had a few reservations about the organization of the event. There wasn’t sufficient care given to speakers, and we had to organize the speaker’s dinner by ourselves. Additionally, talks were not recorded. Nevertheless, we did have a great time in the end, and Amsterdam is a charming city.
I recommend a talk, Testing it & Loving it, from Marks & Spencer; if you don’t have automated tests yet, this talk will make you start. I also enjoyed Event Buses: The @channel of Android Architecture from Big Nerd Ranch --it showed fitting examples from real life which illustrate when and when not to use event buses. I gave an updated talk about Doze Mode & App Standby in Android M. All of the talks can be found here.
The Google Experts Summit is one of the best perks of being a GDE. Google invites us once a year for the summit in Mountain View, California. It’s two days full of deep technical insights with product teams and lot of networking with other experts. The networking was probably the best -- I met many exceptional people from all over the world. This year, GDEs were joined by marketing, design and product experts, making it the biggest summit ever with around 200 attendees present.
We had some really interesting sessions based on our expertise. I was part of a focus group in which Google shared some very confidential early prototypes. We were fortunate enough to be able to play with the prototypes and gave feedback directly to Googlers. I’m grateful that Googlers take the GDE program so seriously.
Android Dev Summit was a blast. I would summarize it as mini Google I/O focused only on Android. The conference was less show, more technical deep dives and direct access to Googlers from Android framework and tools teams. It appropriately took place in the geekiest venue in Silicon Valley -- the Computer History Museum.
All the talks from Android Dev Summit are recorded in high quality. The highlight of the event is, of course, the introduction of Android Studio 2.0 with Instant Run, which should drastically speed up the Android development lifecycle. Watch What’s new in Android Studio to get all the details. The best talk for me was probably Android Studio for Experts. It was all live demos of various features in our favorite IDE, which included mostly tips and tricks for underlying IntelliJ IDEA. There are many small frustrations in everyday development, which the IDE elegantly solves. It was great to have direct access to Android celebrities like Chet Haase, Chris Banes, Tor Norbye, Reto Meier, Dianne Hackborn and others. Fireside chats with all of them were both funny and informative,and lots of burning questions were answered. Check out the fireside chat with the framework and tools teams.
I'm grateful that Avast supported me in attending all of these conferences and am looking forward to another conference season!
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