Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting to Hello World on Android in About Five Minutes

Back when I started getting paid real money to make computers do things in the 1970s, I was called a systems programmer. That job description has fallen by the wayside. Now I'm just known to my co-workers as that fat old guy.

But my compulsion to peak under the hood of things has served me well career-wise over the past three plus decades, most recently earning me a very good living doing embedded Linux development. Maybe that's why I spent most of my early time with Android figuring out what violence had been done to the underlying platform (a lot) and seeing if my skills were actually transferrable (they were).

But I figured it was finally time to actually try the traditional Hello World program using the Eclipse-based Android SDK. I'd been using Eclipse for years, both in the embedded domain and in the enterprise Java domain (where I was still a systems programmer). But I didn't expect to have the sample Android Hello World up and running, not only in the emulator that is part of the SDK, but on the actual Beagle Board, about five minutes after reading the first few pages of Ed Burnette's book Hello, Android from The Pragmatic Programmers. The hardest part was finding the tiny USB OTG port on the Beagle Board to connect it to my desktop.

I know there's going to be a lot more to it than this to accomplish what I want to do. But still, I can't help but be impressed with the tool chain and its level of integration. A lot of things have changed since the IBM 029 keypunch.

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