Thursday, November 10, 2016


So week seven and we are being introduced to the world of Android... What?  Being fully entangled in the apple ecosystem with iPhone, iPad, iMac, and MacBook this was a bit of a shocker but needs must. Combining Java and Android studio lets us write our own apps and have them installed and running on (our) Android mobile devices.  A quick pitstop to Amazon has a cheap 7" (£34) Android tablet is in the post. Thanks, NUS student card, and Amazon Prime.

The week starts on Monday with a standup and a review of the weekend homework. The exercise to create a card game in Java left a few broken people.  This was a tuff assignment and took a bunch of time at the weekend but I managed the majority of it and managed to get to the stage where I was able to simulate (with tests) the basic Pontoon functionality and compare two hands for the highest value.


The day's lesson moves us into Android studio and into an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). To start off and keep things simple the IDE is used just for coding Java. 

Initially, it's quite a change, but quickly the benefits become apparent:  The IDE checks the code on the fly as you are typing and will underline anything formatted incorrectly with red and underline.  It also, with the use of the TAB key suggests and auto-completes input text, which speeds up the typing.  


Tuesday - had us building our first App as part of a Code along.  A simple magic 8 Ball app where you could ask a question and it would give you a random answer. The Java code used android libraries and we had it running on an Android phone emulator on our desktops.  Brilliant to see the process of making a couple of simple screens and have Java code control them on a phone.


Wednesday - and we were given a group lab where we were split into teams of 3 and tasked with making a Rock/Paper/Scissors app. The timescale was about 4 hours and as a team, we had to do the Java code and the Android front end have a working app by the end of it.  This was a real high and the 4 hours zipped past before we were ready to present to the class.  Some premature high fives in the team had the first play show a draw, the second play another draw, and the third play also a draw... Some minor tweaking and debugging code we had it working in time for the presentation.


Thursday - gave us some more tools in the form of Menus and toasts (popups) that could be used in our apps and then some instruction on how the apps could be downloaded to real Android phones and Tablets.


In the afternoon we were set our project task for the coming week.  There was a choice of 6 briefs that we could choose from.  These were a range of Java and Android app suggestions that we would need to plan, version control code test, and present on the following Thursday.


As this is social night and the talk at the pub was on what each cohort was going to pick for their project.


Friday and its crunch time and we had to announce at standup what choice we are making for our project.


So to sum up week 7.  Probably the best and most enjoyable week yet. It's brilliant to be able to make an app from scratch and have it running on a phone or tablet (even though it's the wrong ecosystem... I'm hoping the skills are transferable and I can be developing IOS apps too)


Top marks to Code Clan and our instructors. And to my fellow cohorts "GO TEAM!!!" how good are we? getting past week 7 and able to program phone apps!


(^^-- thanks to the unknown artist for the pics, I snapped them on the wall of a local bacon roll shop on lady lawson street. Love the style and content)