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Android for Developers

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					             Android for
           Developers
                                 By: Gloria Akins




Although Apple’s iPhone App Store has
been king in the smartphone market
since its creation, the recent app store
rejection sagas have shown us just how
frustrating the iPhone platform can be
for developers. Granted, the iPhone
platform is quite powerful and has a
huge user base. But if an app is going to
be caught up in the review process for
weeks – only to be rejected in the end –
it’s understandable for a developer to
give up on the platform altogether.


        Android for Developers
One of the high profile cases is that of
Joe Hewitt, the developer of the
Facebook iPhone application. After
enduring    arbitrary   rejections  and
approval delays, Joe has decided to bid
good riddance to the platform as a
whole and move to a platform where he
will be appreciated. And who can blame
him?


For any good developer, there comes a
point where he says, “I don’t need this!”
and migrates to a new platform.


Enter stage right: Android.


Android is the brainchild of Google and
the Open Handset Alliance. It is an open-

        Android for Developers
source, Linux-based operating system
built to be an iPhone OS killer.


Unlike the iPhone OS, Android is not
locked down to any device manufacturer
or cell carrier. It can be used with Sprint,
Verizon, AT&T and even T-Mobile.


The recommended IDE (integrated
development environment) for Android
is   Eclipse,  a   free   development
environment with versions designed for
nearly any type of coding you want to
do.


iPhone developers should be familiar
with Xcode and the iPhone SDK.


         Android for Developers
Android does not require a specific
development tool.


The recommended IDE (integrated
development environment) for Android
is   Eclipse,   a   free   development
environment with versions designed for
nearly any type of coding one wishes to
do.


However, developers can use whatever
coding environment they like alongside
the source code and core files
downloaded from the Android developer
site.


The Android platform has three major
advantages over the iPhone side.

        Android for Developers
RESPECT FOR DEVELOPERS
According to the iPhone developer
agreement, developers are not permitted
to write applications that duplicate (or
improve upon) any functionality already
provided with the device. This prohibits
developers from writing their own Mail
client, music player, central calendar, or
anything of the sort – even if what the
developer    produces     is    a   grand
improvement over the stock application.
This model does not respect the
developer.


Android, on the other hand, not only
allows developers to duplicate existing

         Android for Developers
functionality – but encourages them to
do so! Can you write a better mail
client? Go for it. Can you improve the
music application built in to the system?
Please do. You can even look at the
FULL source code for the stock
applications to get a starting point for
your own application. If you wonder how
something was made or put together,
you can open up the source code and
see exactly how it was done. Can you do
that on the iPhone? Nope!


Android developers have no limits on
what they can develop for the operating
system. They get the trust and respect
they deserve, while iPhone developers
have to live within the boundaries set by
Apple.

        Android for Developers
ANDROID MARKET
The iPhone App Store – especially in
recent    months     –   has     become
increasingly infamous for rejecting apps
for foolish reasons with little to no
explanation.    Apps    are   frequently
removed from the store or rejected flat
out    –     leaving   the     developer
dumbfounded and with no recourse.


Android has the Android Market. To sell
in the Android Market, a developer
needs to pay $25 – once. Compare that
to Apple’s required $99 per year.




        Android for Developers
One will find the Market far more
developer friendly as well. The Android
Market uses a community review
system. Only if an application is flagged
as    being    excessively   buggy     or
inappropriate for the Market is it
reviewed. If an app is found to be
inappropriate or it is found to not
function correctly, it may be removed
from the Market and the developer given
an opportunity to fix the problem before
uploading it again.


Apps don’t sit in an approval queue for
weeks with an uncertain future. An app
is live in the store as soon as a
developer uploads it.


Beautiful.
         Android for Developers
At present, the Android Market contains
roughly 10,000 applications. That is
about one tenth of the applications of
the iPhone App Store (approx 100,000
apps) but considering the platform is
relatively new, 10,000 apps is a great
start.




MORE          PROFESSIONAL
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE


One major drawback to developing for
Mac and iPhone platforms is the need to
learn a new programming language:
Objective-C. Objective-C is a cousin of
the C programming language, but it is

        Android for Developers
syntactically very different. Some,
including myself, would call it ugly from
an organizational perspective.


Android development uses Java, and
while many programmers may not be
familiar with Java, it is a professional
programming language and is easy to
pick up and learn quickly.


Syntactically, it’s a very simple
language. Because it’s so common, the
resources     for  learning Java   far
outnumber those of Objective-C.


Objective-C, even for those who like it,
doesn’t have much use beyond Mac and
iPhone development. Java is used

        Android for Developers
across the technological spectrum in
devices      like   PDAs,      Blu-Ray
drives/players, computer software, and
even the Amazon Kindle!


For those who don’t want to learn Java,
Google and the Open Handset Alliance
have been assembling a new BASIC-
based language called SIMPLE. The goal
of SIMPLE is to make programming the
Android OS as easy as it can be. This
language is not yet finished, however,
and does not yet do everything a
developer may want.




So, can Android be an iPhone OS killer?
I’m of the opinion that it can. Yes. It has

         Android for Developers
the characteristics of a platform that can
really take off – especially considering
growing discontent with Apple and the
App Store.


Users are not locked into any carrier,
and that’s huge. One of the largest
complaints I hear about the iPhone is
that AT&T is horrible. As I am not an
AT&T customer, I can’t speak for or
against them. However, the iPhone
would benefit greatly if it were
diversified and allowed to operate on all
four of the main cell networks: AT&T,
Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.


Apple needs to take a hint from Android,
or they will be left in the dust in no time.


         Android for Developers
Android for Developers

				
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