Skip to main content

BlueBill Mobile Is Moving to Android: Android First Impressions

Posted by editor on April 21, 2010 at 9:24 AM PDT

Fabrizio Giudici recently announced that he is taking his blueBill Mobile project and moving it to the Android platform. Yesterday, he published some of his preliminary thoughts about Android in a JavaLobby article, Newbie Understanding of Android. BlueBill Mobile was originally programmed in JavaFX. Developing the Android version is Fabrizio's first experience in actually working with the Android platform. So, in the article, he shares some of his initial reactions. Here are a few of his newbie point-of-view findings (and ratings of Android):

  • Productivity (++). As Osvaldo Pinali recently said on the JavaPosse mailing list, from the programmer's point of view Android is Java: you don't learn a new language and you're confident with a good subset of the Java runtime. I was able to reuse some code I already had (simple for now, I'm going baby steps), but I know I'll scream out loud when I'll need BufferedImage. The missing Swing is a different story...
  • Software factory (+). Maven works pretty well (thanks to the maven-android-plugin) and since I've spent so many months to set up my standard software factory with Maven and Hudson, I don't want to depart from it, if possible. I've been able to use it, unchanged, for my Android project - this means that I've got immediately Cobertura coverage, Findbugs and other metrics and Hudson integration...
  • Runtime availability (-). The Android runtime is of course available for free, but it requires a graphical UI to install the real stuff (since it's downloaded from an update center). This is a PITA for my Hudson host, where I don't have a graphical console. I'll have to install it on a local Linux box and then upload a tarball. Since I'm a lazy guy, I've not done it yet and this is the reason for which there are red balls on Hudson. What about providing some text console alternatives to installation? Also, the required Maven stuff is not available at the Central Repo and you have to install it manually on your repo - fortunately it's a straightforward process and you find step-by-step instructions in the maven-android-plugin docs and links.
  • APIs not clean (--). This is the point that mostly stroke me. After so many year of bashing Swing for its 'old-style' and not completely congruent design, I really expected to find some super-clean-and-smart APIs in Android. This is not the case...

Read Newbie Understanding of Android for Fabrizio's full list of newbie Android findings. The extensive comments are also interesting.

In other Java Today news, Geertjan Wielenga completes his recent series with Creating Context-Sensitive Capabilities for File-Based Nodes (Part 4):

In this the final part of this ad-hoc series on context-sensitive actions for file-based nodes... we'll do something pretty radical