Google I/O 2011 Highlights
May 10-11, 2011 @ Moscone Center, San Francisco. There was far too much content at the conference this year for me to take it all in. Even to follow just the Android track would require being in three different places at the same time. Hence, this post is just a brief summary of what I did + found interesting while I was there, with links to the relevant session videos on YouTube where available
Boot camp is a much smaller warm up event (at a different location), giving students and developers a chance to get setup on key technologies before tackling the more advanced stuff at the main event. Pros
- Real lab tutorials to get your hands dirty on working code.
- Googlers are briefed not to announce anything new. Resulting in Q&A sessions full of frustrating holes.
- Welcome “Don’t try and boil the ocean” and “Making the most of I/O” speech.
- Avoided “Beginner’s Guide to Android” (I hope I know this stuff by now) and went to “Intro to Google APIs” instead. Google have over 100 APIs and now offers a standard way to access them online and in Android compatible Java code.
- “Google TV, the New Frontier for App Development” came with tips for testing Google TV apps in the current emulator. Google TVs are a promising new class of Android device, although the product rollout will be America centric for some time with free development devices only available to US based developers.
- “Android Best Practices for Beginners” - Lots of UI tips and tricks, always a good recap (even for old hands).
- “Introduction to Honeycomb” lab session on migrating the Notepad application to the new Honeycomb UI (i.e. using the new Fragments and Action bar API). Very useful tutorial as we all got our hands on proper Honeycomb hardware the very next day.
- “Getting Started with GWT & Google App Engine” - GWT offers a Java friendly method of building web apps (which are becoming more mobile friendly), and GAE offers a well supported tool chain for developing back ends (for both Android and GWT based apps). This is a powerful combination for those of us who would like to build our products end-to-end using Java code (i.e. Android/Java clients connecting to Java servers, hosting Java based Websites).
Google I/O Day One (Tuesday)
5,000 students, developers and press crammed into San Francisco’s Moscone Center West, offering a busy conference schedule, sandboxes and office hours with developer advocates. Highlights
- Watch the day one keynote, as it’s almost exclusively Android announcements.
- “Honeycomb Highlights” - Essential viewing for anyone developing on Android Tablets.
- “Android Protips: Advanced Topics for Expert Android App Developers” - Reto Meier (yes the author) on stage explaining how to make our great apps awesome and more tablet friendly.
- “Don’t just build a mobile app. Build a business” - Summary of advertising on Android, regretted attending because next door they were giving out free USB developer kits.
- “Fireside Chat with the Android Team” - Long Q&A session with the heads of the various development teams. I asked a question near the end and got brushed off as the answer was too commercially sensitive.
- “Android + App Engine: A Developer’s Dream Combination” - Google eclipse plug-in now provides end-to-end support for GAE, GWT and Cloud to device push messaging. Very serious piece of kit, and all for fee. Essential viewing!
- “After hours party,” with Ice cream, pinball, robots, branded cookies, flying cars, and a loud rock band.
Google I/O Day Two (Wednesday)
Much more session videos can be found here. Free stuff
- T-Shirts: Bootcamp (Green camouflage + Bootcamp logo – Google Employees got cooler White camouflage) and Google I/O (tasteful dark blue + Google I/O logo, with white Morse code puzzle on the back).
- I’m keeping my Samsung Tab for development, but gave away the Verizon 4G hotspot (with three months of data) to an American college, as the kit works only in the USA and he was the person most likely to make use of it.