Category Archives: Android
News, reviews and tips from the android world.
I’m a bit late with my this but it has been my 4th “Londonversary” at the beginning of the month. It’s getting harder and harder to write something because so many things happen every day and I have always less and less time for my blog.
The truth is.. I’m getting probably older and I’ve even forgotten having a page somewhere around the web 😀
This has been a damn intense and fast paced year.
I had the same feeling in the past, but this time I can guarantee it was even too much for me. Probably, this post is not even for you but just to make me realize how things happen so fast and so many all at once even when you cannot control them.
I tend to really like what I do, so don’t take this “section” as a negative bit of this year.
It’s what probably I’ve been really invested in for the the last years but I’m getting better also at other stuff 😛
Since the beginning of my journey at Bloomberg, I had a chance to work on a new Android app which is part of what the company offers as complimentary service to its customers. As usual, there were some hard times at the beginning because I had to understand how things were working but I managed to find my space and perform a lot of improvements those were not affecting just me but the entire ecosystem we were trying to build. I also had a chance to interview tons of people and for the first time in my life do some volunteering teaching math to kids(at least I tried haha).
It finally came the time to move on. I wasn’t really planning to change for any other job but something really big this summer came. For a lot of people this would be just a chance to work for the biggest social network in the world, adding a nice stamp on their CV. Honestly, while this can be true, I don’t really give a fuck about my CV and if you think like this is gonna be the perfect recipe for failure.
For me this is all about learning a lot of new things, working with the most skilled people in the World and tackling problems that any other company cannot even dream to have.
Even if it’s just the beginning, It’s really an honour working at Facebook and trying to strive towards the company’s mission.
In March, my girlfriend and I moved to a different flat and we had crazy time packing all our things and getting rid of all that crap people cumulate in years(someone was right.. garbage collection has few tiny little drawbacks).
Around the same period, I went for the first time in my life to Sicily with my friend Kfir and it was absolutely awesome. It was still to early to have a swim in the sea but it’s definitely a place where I’d like to go back again.
In May, I had a chance to go for the second time in my life to Google I/O. The conference was nothing crazy and not really well organized but I had really good time with chaps from Badoo, Deliveroo and many other companies. I also had a chance to meet Vincenzo and Emilio from SmartLauncher, a really cool mobile company from a city call Manfredonia which is definitely in my todo list in the place to visit.
In June, my girlfriend and I went to Copenhagen for the third time and it was awesome.
The girl that was hosting us through Airbnb left us a couple of tickets for Tivoli and it was great to go there even if it’s such a touristic place 😀
In July, taking advantage of a friend’s wedding, we finally had a real holiday in Portugal. It was my first long road trip and it was awesome to see everyday different cities, cultures and traditions. If you haven’t visit the country, I’d definitely recommend give it a chance and your holidays will definitely be great ones.
In September I spent some time back in my hometown with my family and few friends.
It was awesome to see them again after a long while. Sometimes I feel kind of sad because I cannot play cards or have a coffee with my grandma, watching my grandpa still working from 6am, driving with my father, seeing my brother and old friends, cooking with my mother, … whenever I want.
On the other side, staying far from home and trying to achieve better and better results gets rewarded every time I see their eyes: that sense of admiration and happiness when they see me and what I achieve doesn’t have a price. This is my propeller.
In November, I went to Menlo Park CA for my Bootcamp and I had two awesome weeks seeing Facebook even closer and leaving a bit the American Dream. I honestly don’t know if I’d like to live in California but as of Today and looking at past experiences… you never know what future is preparing for you.
Last but not least, I still have to go back home for Chrismukkah(XMas).
I think I’ve never travelled so many times in my life in a year both for work and leisure.
Merry XMas to everyone 🙂
- My lemon tree looks the same as probably one year go
- My last 3 jobs last 1 year and 3 months (cit. LinkedIn)
- The number of hours it took me to prepare for Facebook interviews was directly proportional to the number of wine glasses I had this year. The only difference is that interviews had an end but wine hadn’t 😀
- In California, even if you have five/six lanes each side in the highway, you’ll still get stuck somewhere with your car
(As usually…) It has been a while since my last blog post 🙂
This time I’m coming back just to tell you briefly about Google I/O 2016!
Last time it was back in 2013 when I went with my friend Massimo and since then a lot of things have changed. The Android platform got a lot more mature and my impression is that Google started to focus more on simplifying the developer life while still gaining a lot of new data.
I’m not gonna talk about VR, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These are really cool technologies but my developer heart still belongs to an Android made of custom UIs, Content Providers, messy fragments, multi-threading, memory constraints,… and… why not… Android Studio!
It’s kind of funny because back in 2013 when Tor Norbye and Xavier Ducrohet announced Android Studio starting to ditch support for Eclipse, I was a bit upset. After few months, I started to appreciate IntelliJ and all the efforts that the Android Developer Tools Team made in order to have a first class Android IDE integration/experience.
…but this is the past!!! Without forgetting about being dwarfs standing on the giants shoulders, let’s focus on the present and what’s ahead of us! 🙂
This Google I/O 2016 came with a lot of news:
- Android N will support native Multi Window with Drag&Drop capabilities.
- ConstraintLayout: not a RelativeLayout, not a FrameLayout, not a LinearLayout, not a PercentageBlaBlaLayout,… but a completely new ViewGroup that comes with a full integration in a new layout editor for Android Studio. The power of this new tools is based on the promises of flattening drastically the View hierarchy creating constrains between Views and parents! 🙂
- Java8 support + Jack Compiler
- An APK analyzer to inspect generated APKs and help you try to remove un-necessary and/or un-optimized resources
- Instant Apps is a new feature that will allow you to modularize more your application allowing the user to download just a single use case of your app, without having to install a full APK. Even if it might look a bit strange, this tool could be really handy when it comes to introduce your service to new users, engaging them little by little.
- Android Wear 2.0: even if it comes as a preview, it will have a new enhanced user interaction and more immersive experiences.
- Watch Faces will support more than just time and battery info. There will be a chance to support more complicated(complications) data that will provide useful info to the user.
- Notification will come with a new interaction style and paradigm.
- Firebase: this is kind of hard to describe. The most simplest description that comes in my mind is “A magic box that contains a lot of tools to help you build better apps“. All these kind of little things those are taking a lot of time when developing new features in your apps will become definitely a lot easier. A/B testing, analytics, syncing, login, GCM,… have been bundled and connected(not all of them) togheter into Firebase, giving you a simple way to check and maintain them.
…there is definitely a lot more and you can check it out on the Google I/O 2016 Youtube channel!
I hope you’re gonna enjoy some of the pics I took over there 🙂
..if you live in UK, have a long weekend! 🙂
Being at the last step of our Android Wear journey suggests us to make some assumptions and considerations on how to take advantage of this new platform in real scenarios. Beside this, we are going to have a brief look at some of the missing elements that we did not touch before, focusing our attention on answering the questions those might have risen in the mind of the readers while going through the entire path.
In “Colonizing Wearables”, after a first attempt of running the existing handheld version of the Books application on a smartwatch, we ended up creating a simple Android Wear module that displays the number of available book entries. This has been done not only to discover more about Android Wear, but because a handheld app should not be just ported to a wearable device. During our journey, we have introduced few of the new UI components offered by the wear support library. Among them, WatchViewStub has allowed us to handle different screen shapes, figuring out at runtime the type of display. We also had a chance to understand the reason why and how the wearable module has to be included into the handheld build. Therefore, the goal of this part is to evolve the previous module into something that can be easily used by user and that tries to follow as much as possible the android wear design patterns.
In “Landing on Wearables” we have approached wearables devices extending our existing app’s notifications and explaining briefly how to bind them to our development machine for debugging purposes. Now it is time to study more in deep what we can achieve directly on a device running Android Wear, understanding the constraints and the possibilities that the platform introduces. We will continue to keep as reference the Books application previously developed and we will try to create an Android Wear module.
In “Introduction to Wearables” we had a look at some of the concepts those are the foundations of Android Wear. In this part we are going to skip completely any considerations on that and we’ll have a look at how things work underneath. In particular, we’ll have a look at how to extend existing application’s notifications and how to debug on wearables(this second part will be used for the following tutorials). In order to achieve this, we’ll start with a sample application that runs just on a handheld device and we’ll try step by step to extend it, trying to create a beautiful user experience even on a device running Android Wear. Read the rest of this entry
Wearable devices are definitely one of the most exciting and coolest technologies of 2014 along with drones and smart cars. Hardware producers, software companies and even start-ups are pushing the boundaries beyond what is just being on a handheld device, struggling to open new challenges and attract new customers. Something similar has been already seen when smartphones were just at the beginning of their appearance, but this time the purposes and targets of this technology are a little bit different. It is not just a matter of keeping the user connected with the World outside but it’s more about offering him new services, getting more from/into his life. Sensors can collect data about user activities (heart rate, pedometer, burn calories, sleep hours…) allowing to know more from the user’s context and his behaviors. Embedding them on wearable devices(smartwatches, rings, betls,…) can grant almost a 24 hours coverage, attracting the user to use something that he is already used to wear but with more functionalities and fancier. Read the rest of this entry
As you probably already know, today the Android team has released the latest version of Android (Lollipop – V21) to all the developers across the World.
This version is full of new APIs and it will definitely be an important milestone for the green platform. As Holo did a while ago, Material is going to change the way in which we’re used to use our devices enchanting animations, transitions, colors and usability. Read the rest of this entry
When I started to develop the first Android version of MyNextBus in London, I had to think about how implement the section management of different items types into a list. It was a great opportunity, at the time of the first writing, to use the framework’s widget called ExpandableListView. If you have never heard about that before, a quick look should solve any lack and make you more comfortable with what you’ll read below. Read the rest of this entry
In the last few months the MailOnline mobile team has completely rewritten from the scratch their Android application. Getting rid of the old code, we came across to a lot of iterations and problems those have forced us to re-think the entire background synchronization and the resource management. As one of the Android developer who has developed this version, I’m very proud to say that this version is definitely better, faster and smoother than the prior one.
The main features, improvements and changes that you’ll certainly noticed from the screenshots are:
- Load more articles when you reach the bottom of a channel
- Swipe down to sync news in the channels page (with progress percentage)
- Swipe between different channels
- A new drawer menu that will appear swiping from the left edge of your screen (enable in settings)
- Share and comments feedback inside the articles
- Shortcuts from article to main channels
- Filters on data and image sync
- Different priority and order for channels (based on your preferences)
- Enriched FAQs screens
There’s still always something new to do and to improve but this can be consider a really good app that will allow thousands and thousands of people to read their favorite news paper.