Hello, Android

I skipped thru half a dozen "Hello, World!" examples of Android over the past week.  None of them were better than the ones available at http://developer.android.com/resources/tutorials/hello-world.html which have not only the "Hello World", but also a section called "Hello Views".

Creating a new Android project in Eclipse already "Hello, World"'s for you, so I probably wasted some time flipping thru the different examples of that.  The views however are numerous and varied.  I had time to page thru the examples for several Layouts (a way to style views) including Linear, Relative, Table, and Grid.  The grid example is the most exciting, since it also gives you a taste of event management and introduces you to a "Toast" (brief informational message, think JavaScript alert) as well.  I can see using this to get "iconic" with an app's design very easily.

I've been tossing around in my head project ideas for my first toy project, post intro.  I'm considering some type of RPG style game, perhaps emulating or using the in-app billing features.  It just seems to be a very compelling business model.  The Free-To-Play model let's people try before they buy, and then to pay only what they think the game is worth.  I think this is going to be one of the major payment models for games for a long time to come.

One of the difficult things about a RPG whoever is that it seems to defy attempts to structure the experience.  I think this is why it works so well in meat-space around a table, and always seems to be missing something while around a screen.  Trying to figure out how to organize this code is going to be a challenge, especially since I'll need to take android development idioms into account as I learn them.

Hopefully, I'll find some examples online.  I'm starting my exploration with the StackExchange question below.

Intro to Android

So I bought an Android phone earlier this year.  It is the first smartphone I've owned.  Previously I had one through work and so did my wife.  I think we've both become hooked on continuous connection to the hive-mind (i.e. internet).  It will probably be a facet of our lives for the foreseeable future.

I picked an Android phone because I believe capitalism fails when companies try to control too large of a vertical slice of a market.  It is big a turn off when hardware makers and phone carriers write, modify, or limit my software choices. Android helps, but does not solve this problem for me completely. Therefore I've had a strong desire to root my phone and put this issue to bed.

But I haven't.  The shady characters, suspicious downloads, and arcane instructions required to get to true freedom just haven't been worth the time.  That may be finally changing.

I spent the last weekend at CodeStock, a fantastic developers conference with a very ugly mascot.  I got a chance to meet and listen to Jason Farrel speak about Android development, in Eclipse and IntelliJ no less.  Having watched everyone at work get their own pet mobile app running and feeling armed with some knowledge of my own, I felt inspired.  The only measurable success so far is a compilable example project in Eclipse, but I figured I'd share some of my notes from setup all the same.

1)  Eclipse might not know where your Android SDK is located.  You'll need to set this up in the "Preferences" menu.

2) There's a lot of stuff to download.  Luckily I already had Eclipse (for normal Java development), Java (see Eclipse), and the Android SDK (abandoned rooting attempt).  In addition you'll need to install the Eclipse plugin which took a bit of time.  Pack a meal if you plan to make a day of it.

That's all for now.  Hopefully I'll have more info soon!