Friday, December 31, 2010

A good laptop for Java development?

I don't have the interest or time to worry about tweaking device drivers to get Ubuntu to work perfectly. I'd be willing to let an OEM like System76 handle this for me. Here's an article from zdnet reviewing one of System76's Pangolin Performance laptops. I suppose a Core i5 would be sufficient for the reasonable Java coding utilizing Eclipse I plan to do. I use the word "reasonable" because I don't need a billion VMs open. Is an i7 really necessary? The base RAM (2GB) and hard drive (5400 RPM) would need upgrades though. StackOverflow has a nice discussion by some more experienced folks than me about this very issue.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

PCWorld - 7 Predictions For Open Source in 2011

Pretty good article from PCWorld about what trends to look for in 2011. Bullish on Android, tablets, and Ubuntu (as I am) but not sure I agree a true Linux distro will every really make it into the mainstream as the author seems to suggest. Casual users won't put up with the anomalies you encounter with Linux (even the slick, user-centric ones). Check out this post from Collin Pruit for more about the need for true Ubuntu stability/interoperability. Maybe the closest Linux will ever come "to the masses" is the Linux kernel which Android uses for its core system services...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Applying Android Themes

Pretty clever to pre-define a bunch of attractive themes so developers don't have to think too hard (or do too much of what they're often not good at - UI design). Check out the page and look at everything that begins with "Theme_". They basically act like CSS. I'm playing around with the Dialog theme for an "About Us" popup. You utilize it while defining the activity in AndroidManifest.xml:


My first program in a long time – don’t get excited

Until very recently, I the last line of code I typed was in September 2003 when I traded my programming career for a stint in the US Navy. I was lucky enough to sit down with someone very knowledgeable last month to give me some advice on how I could transition back into the SW world. After pointing out my LAMP Stack experience was pretty much useless in 2010, he advised to me get deep into cloud computing and/or mobile technology.

Application development has always been my preference and I am (was) pretty decent at Java so Android development seems like a good match. After installing the Android SDK on my Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat netbook (not an ideal development platform but isn’t Ubuntu great?!?) and banging out the requisite Hello, World rite of passage, I “developed” my first app in a long time. Here it is in all it’s glory – a button that does nothing. I am truly back:

3 beginner lessons I’ve learned about Android development in Eclipse

My specs:

  • OS: Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat 10.10 running in Desktop mode because Remix no worky for me.
  • IDE: Eclipse Java EE IDE for Web Developers (Galileo)
  • Hardware: Gateway LT31 Netbook w/ AMD Athlon 64
  • JDK 1.6.0_22
  1. If you’re using low resolution, keep in mind GNOME has a tendency to hide important things (like scrollbars) if it runs out of room. If you’re missing something obvious, increase your resolution. I ran into this when installing the Android plugin. Duh.
  2. If Eclipse is throwing lots of timeout errors when you try to run something in the Android emulator, increase your timeout variable under Window -> Preferences -> Android -> DDMS -> ADB Connection Timeout. Mine’s at 50000 ms.
  3. For some reason, I get a lot of “Error in an XML file” errors for no apparent reason. Here’s a good explanation. I found cleaning my project (Project -> Clean) seems to work. You have to be really careful about not keeping old XML files in your projects.