In Summary: Android 2020

Before jumping into 2021, we’ve decided to sum up all of 2020's memorable events into one article. We cover how the Android team has been experimenting with the newest tech, what mattered most to us last year, how we went all out with STRV workshops despite… well, you know… and more!

Why share all of this? As always, we’re an open book. We want all of our future colleagues and partners (and whoever else may be curious!) to know how STRV’s Android team functions and what drives us on a daily basis. So buckle up, here we go!

TEAMWORK

Last year was especially challenging (for everyone!) because of all the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 situation. We experienced a lot of necessary changes on both the company and personal level, and we had to adjust to what was, in many ways, a completely new setup.

We moved all of our meetings online, started regular syncs with the team and did our best to stay sane together in these times. For many of us, working from home was a whole new experience because our company culture is very community-driven, but we tried to move things around in a way that would let us make the best out of it.

We usually do a lot of outdoor activities together over the year, so we had to come up with a substitute program. Thankfully, each one of us has a tiny nerd inside, so we hung out at least virtually in AmongUs and ended up having a lot of fun.

Screen-Shot-2021-01-15-at-4.18.53-PM

As a part of our external activities, we wanted to continue making sure that we do as much for the community as we can—so we organized a number of talks, including:

  • Offline Video Editing
    by Michal Jenicek
  • Firestore: Your Storage, Should You Choose to Accept It!
    by Jakub Gongol
  • Connecting the Dots: Dagger • ViewModel • Saved State
    by Tomas Mlynaric
  • Online Android Workshop - Android TV
    by Vaclav Tarantik
  • Locomotive AR - Creating an Augmented Reality Game
    by Ondrej Komarek

And we also wrote some in-depth articles:

Feel free to check them out and let us know what interests you and what you’d like to hear and see in the upcoming year. We’ll absolutely do our best to include the topics you suggest!

CONFERENCES

With all in-person conferences being canceled, we tried to attend a lot of online alternatives. Here's a list of conferences that we particularly enjoyed, along with video links (when available):

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE

As much as we enjoy watching conference videos, reading various materials and listening to our favorite software engineering podcasts, what we obviously love the most is the real coding experience. That’s why, apart from our regular coding activities, we participated in various coding challenges and online workshops.

Taking part in 11 Weeks of Android brought a special cycle of coding tasks released as a part of the Android 11 introduction. Another exciting series that is still running is MAD Skills by Google, where its engineers introduce the latest news and you can code along and test it all in your projects or in Codelabs.

STRV EXPERIMENTS

Since we are eager to learn new technologies and love experiments, we started a couple of new internal projects. We created a simple VR archery game, Bow Tales, for Oculus. After publishing it in the SideQuest store, it quickly became pretty popular and has even been featured several times. While it’s still a prototype, please feel free to try it out—it’s quite addictive!

Screen-Shot-2021-01-15-at-4.40.04-PM

We also experimented with augmented reality and created a demo called Locomotive AR, where you can build a train track. This project was fun especially because we also experimented with 3D graphics, motion animations and Catmull–Rom spline algorithm.

Another interesting project was the ParkingApp for parking reservations in our offices and, because machine learning is obviously a very popular topic these days, we really enjoy toying around with it as often as we can—for instance, we created an emotion recognition model which we used on one of our projects.

LATEST TECH

As probably all engineers know from experience, it’s very hard to put basically any hot stuff directly into apps, especially when it comes to larger projects. We have a rule that nothing still in the Alpha version can hit production. But still, we always want to try stuff, learn, get ready and be inspired. That’s why we experiment with these technologies in our internal projects, like those mentioned above.

In 2020, the Jetpack Compose was our main point of interest. We’ve already written a couple of sample apps that leverage it and we have to say, we can’t wait to see what’s coming next! We’re also excited about the Kotlin Multiplatform development because we see huge potential there—we’ll definitely have more talks and info for you in the upcoming year. And you can bet we’ll keep exploring game development, especially Unity, as well as the latest in AR/VR.

WHAT’S NEXT

Our team has already started preparing new content for you, and we’re planning a bunch of external meetups and workshops—so there’s definitely a lot to look forward to in 2021. And although we’ve got a solid list of topics we’d like to cover, we really are curious about our readers’ favorite stuff. What do you like to do? Which learning/content sharing format do you find the most interesting and useful? Reach out anytime, to anyone at STRV. We’re all ears!

Thank you all for your support last year and all of the years before. To those who take part in our events—it’s the biggest reward to see you there, to be able to chat and share our life and coding experiences. And to all of you who follow what we do with curiosity and enthusiasm—without you, none of what STRV does for the community would matter.

So stay tuned! We’ll do our best to deliver some interesting stuff, hopefully even on a more personal level than last year (we’re talking events at our offices; fingers crossed!). We wish you all a happy new year, lots of health and happiness and as many lines of code as possible… with appropriate test coverage, of course. :)

THE ANDROID TEAM IS HIRING!

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Vaclav Tarantik, Petr Nohejl

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