First look at Google Android – a bit of disappointment?

As every hyped product, Google’s Android attracts developers attention. So did it with me, I downloaded the SDK, and starting coding some simple things.
Let me summarize:

  • I felt a bit strange when all constructors of UI components required a Context parameter (“this” in most cases). I’m pretty sure there should be some reason for that, and it is not a big problem, I suppose
  • Lots of XML. Everything (yes, even UI components) is declared in xml files. Which I, and I suppose many more, hate. You see – no one tells you about typos in the xml config, which is pain in.. Yes, the UI components might be done the _normal_ way – programatically – but you need to declare every screen, and every screen transition in the xml file. I’m sure there is a reason for this, too, but it surely does not warm my feelings
  • The Emulator is buggy. Just go the Google Groups to see all the complaints about it

And not to be all pessimistic, Android seems to offer a very wide scope of functionality and application interoperability (that’s why it is a platform, after all). Each application can use common resources, communicate with other applications, etc. Maybe here’s why we have to write all those XMLs, but having already tweaked the VM, can’t they spare us the xml-part?

Despite some major public concerns that Android can “fracture Java”, I think this is just a framework. Yes, it has it’s own VM, but the Java code you write is the same – it just runs only if the framework is supported by the device. And for mobile devices, we all know, “write once, run everywhere” is a myth.

In conclusion, Android may turn to have some big flaws, and not be comfortable for developers. We will see when the hype is over.

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