Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to improve your site's performance with the Chrome Dev Tools

Here are the slides from tonight's talk on using the Chrome Dev Tools to improve your site's performance.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Beginning Android Class in SoCal

Android is the hottest operating system on the planet, but it can be a pain to get up and going with it. You have to install Java, an IDE, the ADT, a bunch of SDKs, and emulators. Even once you get all that installed, getting an app working and then deploying it to the Google Play Store isn't trivial either. 

So I've team up with the good people of the South Bay Mobile User Group to a two-day Beginning Android development class. Unlike other classes we will start you from the beginning and take you all the way to uploading your app to the store. 

Unlike other classes, I am going to show the tools and techniques used to build production software. So we won't be bothering with a bunch of simple hello world apps. Instead we will build our own app by learning about lists, ajax calls, converting JSON into POJO, unit tests, and more. Once we are done, every student will customize the app and uploaded to the Google Play store. All of the source code is yours to keep.

Yes, we are charging for this class, but if you compare what you get to what it costs, you will find that it is a very good price. The class will be held on Saturday, May 10th and 17th in Torrance, CA which is super easy to get to from Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties. Plus traffic won't be an issue since the classes are on Saturday. For more information please check the South Bay Mobile User Group web site.

If you would like to see my teaching style and Android knowledge ahead of the class, please come to a regular SMUG meeting on April 24th. I will be demonstrating Android Wear's preview SDK. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Genymotion: Simply the Best Android Emulator

I've written quite a bit about the unbelievable crappiness of the Android emulator. On a machine with a lot of horsepower it is manageable at best. Previously I've written about using a VirtualBox emulator for Android development with AndroVM. Well, AndroVM  was bought by a company named Genymobile last year. They have created a brand new product named, Genymotion and the results are nothing less that amazing. 

Genymotion has a large library of emulated devices available. You need an HTC One? They have it. Need a Nexus 10? They have it. And rather than having to fiddle around with the settings of VirtualBox, a place where few feel comfortable, Genymotion takes care of all of that for you. With three basic steps you can forget all about the sluggish Android emulator and move your Android development into the fast lane. And best of all it is free for personal use. So all of you night and weekend code warriors won't have to tap into your piggy banks.

I am going to give the instructions for the Mac, but Genymotion is also available for PC and Linux. The instruction are pretty similar across all platforms, except that for the PC you don't need to download VirtualBox, they have a combined VirtualBox/Genymotion install package.

Step 1: Install VirtualBox
VirtualBox is a free virtual machine app. It is required by the Genymotion emulator.
Click the link: VirtualBox 4.3.8 for OS X hosts -> x86/amd64
Double click the dmg file and follow instructions.

Step 2: Install Genymotion
Genymotion is a virtual machine based emulator for Android. It not a Google product. It is unbelievably fast. It is fast enough to play arcade games on it. They have a wide variety of devices in the emulator library. My normal workflow is to build and test on emulators and once I am confident I will test on actual hardware. Their emulators are also nice when demo an app on a projector.

It is free for private use, but you must be registered in order to download it.

To register. They will send a link to your email address in order to confirm it. Click the link and you are in.

Download the emulator from the download page
Double click the dmg file
Drag the Genymotion app to the application folder
Drag the app to the application folder
Double click the Genymotion app in your application folder to launch it

Step 3: Download Load Some Devices
Genymotion comes with a large number of devices. To install some:

Click the Add button to download an emulated device

I would recommend initially downloading a Nexus 4 (phone). And that is it you should now be up and running with Genymotion's Emulator. Have fun.