This year, I've been writing about using Android phones to access Windows Azure Mobile Services (aka "WAMS") and was briefly writing about Service Bus Notification Hub. I've also done a lot of Server Scripting writing, and playing with Windows Store apps. Now I'm back writing more Android code.
So how has the journey to Android-land been for this dotNet developer?
I've been using the Android Eclipse IDE, which you can download from here. I am also considering using Android Studio: I will likely use Eclipse for my current coding, and then re-do it in Android Studio so I can compare the two. I have heard negative things about Eclipse, and perhaps the fact that there's an on-going replacement project lends credence, but for now I'm being charitable and assuming that most of the problems derive from my own lack of familiarity with Eclipse.
Here's my initial list of good and bad, coming from someone on a steep learning curve, and who "lives" inside Microsoft Visual Studio. This is based on Building Your First App, plus my experience writing several WAMS tutorials.
First the good:
Now for the "bad stuff" (relatively: I was able to figure this out and nothing permanently blocked me):
I'm big on writing really clear tutorials for beginners, and know that this is much harder than it looks, largely because it is hard for an experienced person to put themselves back into the beginner's mind. Here, I'm lucky: I AM that beginner with Android. I find that approaching a new area with a blank mind is a great way to find shortcomings in documentation and UI, and uncover pitfalls that other beginners may fall into. Often when you know a subject deeply, you lose sight of all the assumptions, context, and implicit knowledge that a beginner has to learn. This is as true of Microsoft products as it is of Google's.
Overall, it appears to me that the Android docs don't always succeed in getting down to that beginner level. But this is perhaps my own perfectionism: they were good enough for me to get up and running. And I find my problems also reflected (and solved) on sites like StackOverflow.
I guess the bottom line is, since Eclipse is open source, if something bothers me enough, I should quit whining about it, and jump in and contribute code. Not sure I have the spare cycles to do that though...