My week at Droidcon Zagreb and App Builders

Last week was quite intense for me. For the first time I had two conferences in two countries in 3 days. Iโ€™m definitely too old for thisย ๐Ÿ˜œ


Droidcon Zagreb

Droidcon Zagreb started like this:

The moment they dropped us at the hotel, we got a bag full of gifts and candy!

There were plenty of interesting talks and I perceived that the general code quality level in the Android community is increasing. Rx is getting very popular: not considering my talk and Sasa Sekulicโ€™s one, also Mouna Cheikhna from BlaBlaCar talked about how they use Rx in their Android app:

Florina Muntenescu showed how to use RxJava for MVVM:

If you are wondering, yes, more than 25% of the speakers were women. This shows how much Droidcon Zagreb is working in the right direction: kudos, folks!

Another topic than seems to be quite accepted in the community are MVP and MVVM: finally they are widely used, for better app design and to improve testability.

This is definitely my favorite takeaway from Droidcon Zagreb: Use the right tools! Donโ€™t be afraid of trying and failing, experiment, challenge the old ways, have fun!

App Builders

Iโ€™ve been living in the Geneva area for a few months now and Iโ€™m always looking for developers to talk to and share experience with. I created the Google Developer Group Geneva and I started attending Swiss conferences: Voxxed Zurich a few weeks ago and the newborn App Builders this past week.

App Builders was quite different from the other conferences Iโ€™m used to. I usually attend Droidcons and Java oriented conferences. App Builders was all about apps, no matter on which platformโ€Šโ€”โ€ŠAndroid, iOSโ€Šโ€”โ€Šor technologyโ€Šโ€”โ€ŠJava, Swift, C#.

Being a cross platform conference, the atmosphere was different from a typical Droidcon: attendees and speakers came from different backgrounds with different experiences to share.

The technical level of the talks was high, as expected, but something that pleasantly surprised me were the non-technical talks: I saw very few of them at Android conferences. At some point, it was like being at a TEDx event: very inspiring!

The Android track was full of interesting talks and I met a few new GDEsโ€ฆ all Spanishย ๐Ÿ˜€

This was the first edition of App Builders and I think it was a great conference. The final touch was the github repo for slides, videos and feedback https://github.com/swissmobidevs/appbuilders16ย . I love itย ๐Ÿ˜€

Takeaways

iOS developers seem a little bit happier than Android developers

They surely are very fond of their platform, but they suffer Xcode ๐Ÿ˜ (however, they have an alternative with JetBrainsโ€™ AppCode). They donโ€™t struggle to support all those glitchy Samsung devices, becauseโ€ฆ wellโ€ฆ they have to deal with just a couple of phones and tablets. They donโ€™t need to support old devices and OS versions because they simply donโ€™t exists: 95% of the market runs the latest or the previous version of the OS and thatโ€™s it.

Most of them migrated to the new language, Swift, the moment it went out, while most of us are still complaining about how Kotlin is 2% slower at build time, but if you ask me, a modern language that allows you to create more elegant and more readable code itโ€™s just worth the longer build time, because you build it once, but you have to read and maintain it for months!

A lot of iOS devs envy our Google Play Store rollout feature, alpha/beta channels and stats, but at the same time they managed to overcome the problem, as Spotify and others do:

I think we can learn a lot from the iOS community. We should complain less and act more, we should be braver, jump on the next new thing, try it, embrace it and push it to our companies if we like it, instead of waiting that the thing gets mainstream and everybody else is using it already. We must experiment more, instead of following others.

We should be able to influence the way manufacturers address the market, through a sensible feedback on how difficult it is to support 2+ years old versions of Android, on dozens of different models. If we stop supporting 3 years old Android versions, maybe manufacturers will start thinking about keeping their devices updated. Who knows?!

If we start using Kotlin today as our main language on Android, we will be able to have an impact on future improvements of the language itself, and on the enhancement of all the development tools weโ€™d love to have and, maybe, getting Google involved, for the future of the Android community, for the greater good.

Happy coding ๐Ÿ˜Š