Chapter 12. Android evolution

Android caused really a boom that still will continue over the next years. It is therefore extremely challenging for the android developers to stay on a track in evolving android and keep it clean and keep some backward compatibility. To do this trouble free is an almost impossible target. Therefore it happens and will happen that certain things will disappears and apps using that feature will no more run on new devices. Therefore some rules are listed with the aim to get apps that can be used for a long time:

  1. Use java and the SDK and avoid using NDK

  2. Read what is planned (as the menu button will disappear and the action bar will take it over)

  3. Use the API whenever possible

  4. Don't make tricky things and use the things just as it is thought

  5. Avoid using any device specific things

Unfortunately writing applications to support android <3 might become tricky, so this book concentrates just on versions >=4 or API level 11. The reasons was that android devices with version 2 where restricted to smart phones, but the the door got opened to other devices and this causes some backward issues.

Before implementing things read the manual, if not already something exist for that, you will probably not be the first developer that does what you intend to do!

Having found the proper way to do it, might bring yo immediately into a frustrating situation. You like to do a small thing, but then the documentation points toward a completely new concept, where you get immediately lost. Additional manual writes like to write in all detail what is possible without missing any feature, but people reading the first time the manual might want to do just the very obvious thing that should be really simple. Professionals, will probably not read the tutorials, they read the API documentation.

Following the clean way will not be the fastest solution, but once you have experience you will be faster, the code will be smaller and hopefully more future oriented. Good examples are how to do settings and the app help. Android offers solutions with very little programming effort for that, however you should have some not very basic java knowledge for that.

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