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Standing room only @ Android development gig Campus life, Guest blogger

I’ve heard Android technology was off-the-chart popular, but I didn’t realize how popular until I saw the line of nearly 200 developers and future developers winding through the Golisano College atrium and down one of the hallways. They were on hand for the Android Development Seminar, on Jan. 13, sponsored by the student section of IEEE’s Computer Society.

As with many events on campus, students take the lead in planning, promoting and presenting. Here was a perfect example of that—a program that began with an idea to simply share information became the event of the week for developers.

The topic was mobile apps via the Web—“the network of networks,” according to Jeff Sonstein. He said coding is easy; design is the hard part.

I can’t imagine coding as easy, but apparently this crowd was cool with that concept, and when asked if they had downloaded the Android SDK, they raised their hands in the affirmative. I was the only one that needed a translator. (SDK means software development kit.)

So with that, I think it is better that someone younger and wiser take over the remainder of the story. Let me introduce you to Colin Bellmore, a fourth-year computer engineering student, one of the seminar organizers:

I really enjoyed participating in planning and running the event. My only regret for the night was that I was unable to attend both lectures and workshops. The event was offered because our members were interested in Android and we thought we would learn a lot. Well, learn a lot we did! Not about developing for Android but about how crazy popular Android devices had become since we started planning the event some months earlier.

We advertised, “No development experience required” in our flyers, and we stuck to our lofty goal of introducing everyone to Android. Professor Sonstein gave a mobile design tutorial using HTML and CSS, while fellow IEEE Computer Society officer Chris Decker gave the second presentation on Android using Java and Eclipse.

Members of the RIT Computer Society are, from left to right, front row, Ken Hsu (faculty advisor), Colin Bellmore (secretary), Philip Barone (treasurer) and Jim Ziobro. Back row, Harold Mendoza, Andrew Hoag (social events coordinator), Patrick Ganson (professional events coordinator), Puey Wei Tan (chairman), Chris Decker (vice chairman) and Chris Radnovich (public relations). All are fourth or fifth-year computer engineering majors.

The coding might have been easy for the workshops, but many people struggled setting up the SDK and associated tools. By the end of the night, many had gotten a start on the right path to develop further and others learned to respect or fear professional software developers. After all the ups and downs, I think many of the volunteers came away with a better understanding of how to share enthusiasm and get people interested in Android. (Hint: Pizza)

While I was attempting to help new programmers with the second workshop, I had the opportunity to work with two hard-of-hearing attendees. I had a great time trying to explain that I had no real idea what was wrong, and that I was just guessing at cryptic Eclipse errors. Once he learned that I had never done any Android development before, it was a great equalizer. Together we worked through some of the errors and in the end it didn’t even compile. But I’m glad I got to share that new programming experience with someone!

Connect with Colin and the group for your Android Q & A. I’m still back at the SDK.

  1. Marie Lang
    Jan 25

    My husband was telling me about an RIT student who developed an app using the Android (I guess it’s easier than using the iPhone?). Something to do with emergency responders... It’s all Greek to me but cool to know students here know how to do this stuff!

  2. Michelle Macro
    Jan 25

    Can't wait to get my hands on my boyfriend's Android 2 and try it out for myself!

  3. Ingrid
    Jan 25

    Sounds like it was an interesting seminar. Is there a list of student (or alumni) designed Android apps?

  4. Michelle
    Jan 26

    Ingrid, I'm forwarding to the experts in computer and software engineering so that they can give you the correct info regarding the student/alumni designed apps...M

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