Tools to help developers provide a positive user experience

Posted by Lisa Martinez, Head of Security & Privacy Business Development, Google Play and Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Play and Android App Safety

Google helps protect billions of users every day through the use of a robust set of tools designed to keep users safe online. We’re proud to provide a wide range of these same resources to help developers build safe and successful apps. User participation increases when people have a safe and positive app engagement. We’d like to highlight a few of these free tools that developers can consider to help make user experiences safer for everyone.

Reducing toxic conversation with Perspective API

Perspective API, a free product offered by Jigsaw, uses machine learning to identify toxic language, like insults, profanity, or identity based attacks, making it easier to host healthier conversations in your apps. Perspective can be used to give feedback to commenters, help moderators more easily review comments, and keep conversations open online. Many online publishers and developers, such as the New York Times, El País, FACEIT, and Coral by VoxMedia have started to adopt this tool to promote constructive online dialogues. Learn how to get started here.

Increase child safety with Content Safety API

Google’s Content Safety API uses artificial intelligence to help developers better prioritize abuse material for review. We offer this service to NGOs and private companies to support their work protecting children. The API steps up the fight for child safety by prioritizing potentially illegal content for human review and helping reviewers find and report content faster. Quicker identification of new abuse images increases the likelihood that children being abused could be identified and protected from further abuse. Making review queues more efficient and less noisy also reduces the toll on human reviewers, who review images to confirm instances of abuse. Learn more about this on our Protecting Children site.

Prevent links to unsafe files and sites with the Safe Browsing API

Google Safe Browsing helps protect billions of devices every day by showing warnings to users when they attempt to navigate to dangerous sites or download dangerous files. Safe Browsing also notifies webmasters when their websites are compromised by malicious actors. Safe Browsing protections work across Google products and power safer browsing experiences across the Internet. Technical information on how to get started can be found here.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us to provide a positive experience for our shared users on Google Play.


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Google Developer Student Club 2021 Lead applications are open!

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Hey, student developers! If you’re passionate about programming and are ready to use your technology skills to help your community, then you should become a Google Developer Student Clubs Lead!

Application forms for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year are NOW OPEN. Get started at goo.gle/gdsc-leads.

Want to know more? Learn more about the program below.

What are Google Developer Student Clubs?

Google Developer Student Clubs are university based community groups for students interested in Google developer technologies. With clubs hosted in 106 countries around the world, students from undergraduate and graduate programs with an interest in leading a community are welcome. Together, students learn the latest in Android App Development, Google Cloud Platform, Flutter, and so much more.

By joining a GDSC, students grow their knowledge in a peer-to-peer learning environment and put theory to practice by building solutions for local businesses and their community.

How will I improve my skills?

As a Google Developer Student Club Lead you will have the chance to…

  • Gain mentorship from Google.
  • Join a global community of leaders.
  • Practice by sharing your skills.
  • Help students grow.
  • Build solutions for real life problems.

How can I find a Google Developer Student Club near me?

Google Developer Student Clubs are now in 106 countries with 1250+ groups. Find a club near you or learn how to start your own, here.

When do I need to submit the Application form?

We encourage students to submit their forms as soon as possible. You can learn more about your region’s application deadline, here. Make sure to learn more about our program criteria.

Get Started

From working to solve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to helping local communities make informed voting decisions, Google Developer Student Club leads are learning valuable coding skills while making a true difference. As a lead from a Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia put it,

“The secret to our club’s success was that we were able to cultivate a heart of service and a culture of open mentorship.”

We can’t wait to see what our next group of Google Developer Student Club leads will accomplish this year. Join the fun and get started, here.

*Google Developer Student Clubs are student-led independent organizations, and their presence does not indicate a relationship between Google and the students’ universities.


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A closer look at the new Nest Hub’s design details

For the Nest Industrial Design team, details matter. Working on the new Nest Hub was no exception. “When we approached the design of the new Nest Hub, we wanted to give the product a lighter, more effortless aesthetic,” says team lead Katie Morgenroth. “We wanted it to feel evolved and refined, not reinvented.” Styling alone shouldn’t be the reason to replace a product, she says. “We want to make sure whether you have one Nest product or many, that they all compliment each other in your space.”

Because of this considered approach, you might not immediately notice some of the more subtle updates. We took some time to talk to Katie, as well as Industrial Design lead Jason Pi and Color and Material designer Vicki Chuang, about some of the new additions worth a second glance — or even a third, or a fourth, or a … you get the idea.

The new, cool color. The team introduced the new Mist color because it’s in the cool family, and compliments nature. It’s soothing, and almost looks like a neutral. Vicki led the color and material design, and says that atmospheric colors like Mist help express “soft feelings.” “Color enhances well-being. Mist is inspired by the sky, it compliments nature,” she says. “We started with a range of blues from light pastel to saturated blue, and the soft muted blue felt the most soothing and relaxing — a good fit for the home.”

Don’t forget the feet. Peek underneath the Nest Hub to see the silicone feet. “We try to have a little fun with color there,” Katie says. “We were inspired by the color you see when you cut into a fruit like a guava or a watermelon — it makes you smile.”

The inspiration for edgeless. Our idea for the edgeless display was the look of a piece of artwork or picture frame with a white border. The new Nest Hub has a lighter, more effortless feel, as Katie describes it. “All you see from the front is the glass. It makes the display almost feel like it’s floating.” 

Jason also adds that the general construction was an upgrade. “We’re very proud of the matte finish and silky feel of the display enclosure, which is also more sustainable even though it has a premium feel to it.” In fact, the new Nest Hub was designed with 54% of its plastic part weight made with recycled material.

A new knit. The new Nest Hub uses the same sustainable yarn recycled from PET bottles that the Minis use, just slightly modified. We used a recycled monofilament yarn, which gives the device a structure that’s ideal for sound quality. “The fabric was reengineered to be not only sustainable but also optimized for great acoustic transmission,” Vicki says.

And look a little closer…and you’ll see the team color matched the device down to the yarn level, so there’s a subtle blending effect in the overall look of the speaker. “That effect is called ‘melange’ and it’s created when there are two colors of yarn knit together to create a variation in the tone,” Katie explains. 

A hard switch. We first introduced the privacy switch with the Home Mini and it’s been a part of every Nest device since, including the new Nest Hub. The hard switch completely disables microphones, and the new Nest Hub also has added LED lights to the front of the display that indicate when the switch is on or off. This was important to the team to keep consistent across all Nest devices, because privacy isn’t something they wanted to overcomplicate. “From the beginning we always wanted to continue the precedence we set with the physical privacy button and include it on Nest Hub,” Jason says. “There is something definitive about having it be a physical switch. I also like the color pop that’s visible once it’s on mute — it’s a nice, clear indicator.” Plus, it’s one more place designers get to have a little fun.

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Start Your Engines: Launch New Android Auto Apps to Production!

Posted by Eric Bahna, Product Manager

In March, we published the Android for Cars App Library as part of Jetpack and most developers have already migrated their implementations to it! In addition to fantastic partner adoption, drivers have been enthusiastic about the new apps and our quality metrics have been positive.

Partner apps running on the Jetpack library (clockwise from upper left): T map, Chargepoint, Sygic, PlugShare, AmiGO, 2GIS, A Better Route Planner, and Flitsmeister

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that you can publish your Android Auto navigation, parking, and charging apps to production! We’ve been hard at work stabilizing the library, Android Auto, and the publishing process to reach this milestone. Publishing to production enables drivers to use your Android Auto app on their car screen without needing to sign up for a beta program. Here’s how:

Thank you for your collaboration and feedback on the Android for Cars App Library 1.0! One of the most common requests from Android Auto users has been for more categories of apps. Our goal with the library is to enable you to easily bring your app to 500+ models of Android Auto-compatible vehicles while meeting our app quality guidelines. The library abstracts away the complexities of screen form factors and input modes so you can focus on what makes your app shine.

Enabling navigation, parking, and charging apps in production is both a big step and the start of a much longer journey. We’re excited to see what you build and look forward to working together to deliver awesome in-car experiences.


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MAD Skills WorkManager : Wrap-Up

Posted by Caren Chang, Developer Relations Engineer

In case you missed it, we’ve just finished a MAD Skills series on WorkManager. We started by introducing WorkManager for those new to the library and then proceeded to talk more about advanced usages including how to test and debug your WorkManager code. The series ended with an episode on how to migrate your old code from GCMNetworkManager and FirebaseJobDispatcher to use WorkManager instead.

Here’s a quick summary of what we covered.

Episode 1: WorkManager: Basics

In our first episode, we explored the basics of WorkManager through the WorkManager codelab. We started by understanding how to define work we want done, and how to schedule the work. We then moved on to implementing different types of work: unique and periodic. Finally, we ended the episode by taking a look at app standby buckets to better understand how WorkManager schedules work.

If you’re new to WorkManager, we also recommend taking a look at the following articles:

Episode 2: WorkManager: Working in the background

The series continued with Ben giving a more in-depth look at how WorkManager deals with multi-threading. When working with threads, you have the option of using Executors, coroutines or RxJava, and Ben demonstrated each of these approaches with WorkManager. The episode concluded by demonstrating how to return a result when the work is completed so that the UI can be updated.

If you’re interested in using WorkManager with coroutines, we also recommend this article from Florina: WorkManager – Kotlin APIs

Episode 3: WorkManager: Advanced configuration and testing

In episode 3, we took a look at how to customize the initialization of WorkManager and support apps that span multiple processes. We’ve gotten a lot of questions from developers around testing and debugging, so Ben also dove into how to test your Workers, and useful debugging techniques.

Episode 4: Migrating from GCM NetworkManager and FirebaseJobDispatcher to WorkManager

In episode 4, we focused on how to migrate from old job scheduling libraries (GCMNetworkManager and FirebaseJobDispatcher) to WorkManager. Once your app starts targeting API level 30 and above, GCM NetworkManager and FirebaseJobDispatcher will no longer work on devices running Android Marshmallow (6.0) and above. If your app is still using either of those libraries, now is the time to update your apps to use WorkManager instead!

Episode 5: WorkManager with Hugo

Android GDE Hugo Visser talked about why he chose to use WorkManager in a health app he recently worked on and how the library has helped his development process.

Episode 6: Live Q&A

The series wrapped up with a live Q&A session where we answered your WorkManager related questions. Watch the recording to see all your questions answered, including future plans for WorkManager, handling duplicate work, retrying failed work, and more!


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Modernizing your Google App Engine applications

Posted by Wesley Chun, Developer Advocate, Google Cloud

Modernizing your Google App Engine applications header

Next generation service

Since its initial launch in 2008 as the first product from Google Cloud, Google App Engine, our fully-managed serverless app-hosting platform, has been used by many developers worldwide. Since then, the product team has continued to innovate on the platform: introducing new services, extending quotas, supporting new languages, and adding a Flexible environment to support more runtimes, including the ability to serve containerized applications.

With many original App Engine services maturing to become their own standalone Cloud products along with users’ desire for a more open cloud, the next generation App Engine launched in 2018 without those bundled proprietary services, but coupled with desired language support such as Python 3 and PHP 7 as well as introducing Node.js 8. As a result, users have more options, and their apps are more portable.

With the sunset of Python 2, Java 8, PHP 5, and Go 1.11, by their respective communities, Google Cloud has assured users by expressing continued long-term support of these legacy runtimes, including maintaining the Python 2 runtime. So while there is no requirement for users to migrate, developers themselves are expressing interest in updating their applications to the latest language releases.

Google Cloud has created a set of migration guides for users modernizing from Python 2 to 3, Java 8 to 11, PHP 5 to 7, and Go 1.11 to 1.12+ as well as a summary of what is available in both first and second generation runtimes. However, moving from bundled to unbundled services may not be intuitive to developers, so today we’re introducing additional resources to help users in this endeavor: App Engine “migration modules” with hands-on “codelab” tutorials and code examples, starting with Python.

Migration modules

Each module represents a single modernization technique. Some are strongly recommended, others less so, and, at the other end of the spectrum, some are quite optional. We will guide you as far as which ones are more important. Similarly, there’s no real order of modules to look at since it depends on which bundled services your apps use. Yes, some modules must be completed before others, but again, you’ll be guided as far as “what’s next.”

More specifically, modules focus on the code changes that need to be implemented, not changes in new programming language releases as those are not within the domain of Google products. The purpose of these modules is to help reduce the friction developers may encounter when adapting their apps for the next-generation platform.

Central to the migration modules are the codelabs: free, online, self-paced, hands-on tutorials. The purpose of Google codelabs is to teach developers one new skill while giving them hands-on experience, and there are codelabs just for Google Cloud users. The migration codelabs are no exception, teaching developers one specific migration technique.

Developers following the tutorials will make the appropriate updates on a sample app, giving them the “muscle memory” needed to do the same (or similar) with their applications. Each codelab begins with an initial baseline app (“START”), leads users through the necessary steps, then concludes with an ending code repo (“FINISH”) they can compare against their completed effort. Here are some of the initial modules being announced today:

  • Web framework migration from webapp2 to Flask
  • Updating from App Engine ndb to Google Cloud NDB client libraries for Datastore access
  • Upgrading from the Google Cloud NDB to Cloud Datastore client libraries
  • Moving from App Engine taskqueue to Google Cloud Tasks
  • Containerizing App Engine applications to execute on Cloud Run

Examples

What should you expect from the migration codelabs? Let’s preview a pair, starting with the web framework: below is the main driver for a simple webapp2-based “guestbook” app registering website visits as Datastore entities:

class MainHandler(webapp2.RequestHandler):
'main application (GET) handler'
def get(self):
store_visit(self.request.remote_addr, self.request.user_agent)
visits = fetch_visits(LIMIT)
tmpl = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), 'index.html')
self.response.out.write(template.render(tmpl, {'visits': visits}))

A “visit” consists of a request’s IP address and user agent. After visit registration, the app queries for the latest LIMIT visits to display to the end-user via the app’s HTML template. The tutorial leads developers a migration to Flask, a web framework with broader support in the Python community. An Flask equivalent app will use decorated functions rather than webapp2‘s object model:

@app.route('/')
def root():
'main application (GET) handler'
store_visit(request.remote_addr, request.user_agent)
visits = fetch_visits(LIMIT)
return render_template('index.html', visits=visits)

The framework codelab walks users through this and other required code changes in its sample app. Since Flask is more broadly used, this makes your apps more portable.

The second example pertains to Datastore access. Whether you’re using App Engine’s ndb or the Cloud NDB client libraries, the code to query the Datastore for the most recent limit visits may look like this:

def fetch_visits(limit):
'get most recent visits'
query = Visit.query()
visits = query.order(-Visit.timestamp).fetch(limit)
return (v.to_dict() for v in visits)

If you decide to switch to the Cloud Datastore client library, that code would be converted to:

def fetch_visits(limit):
'get most recent visits'
query = DS_CLIENT.query(kind='Visit')
query.order = ['-timestamp']
return query.fetch(limit=limit)

The query styles are similar but different. While the sample apps are just that, samples, giving you this kind of hands-on experience is useful when planning your own application upgrades. The goal of the migration modules is to help you separate moving to the next-generation service and making programming language updates so as to avoid doing both sets of changes simultaneously.

As mentioned above, some migrations are more optional than others. For example, moving away from the App Engine bundled ndb library to Cloud NDB is strongly recommended, but because Cloud NDB is available for both Python 2 and 3, it’s not necessary for users to migrate further to Cloud Datastore nor Cloud Firestore unless they have specific reasons to do so. Moving to unbundled services is the primary step to giving users more flexibility, choices, and ultimately, makes their apps more portable.

Next steps

For those who are interested in modernizing their apps, a complete table describing each module and links to corresponding codelabs and expected START and FINISH code samples can be found in the migration module repository. We are also working on video content based on these migration modules as well as producing similar content for Java, so stay tuned.

In addition to the migration modules, our team has also setup a separate repo to support community-sourced migration samples. We hope you find all these resources helpful in your quest to modernize your App Engine apps!


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#AndroidDevJourney spotlight – March edition

Posted by Luli Perkins, Developer Relations Program Manager

Android Dev Journey

For the March edition of #AndroidDevJourney, we’re highlighting Android developers from all over the world with many different experiences. Early this year, we launched the #AndroidDevJourney series to highlight our community on our social media accounts. Each Saturday, from January through June, we’ll feature a new developer on our Twitter account.

For a chance to be featured in our April spotlight series, tweet us your story using #AndroidDevJourney.

wajahat Karim

Wajahat Karim

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

Since the age of 14, I was very interested in animations and graphic design. I used to watch advertisement animations or cricket match animations of player profiles on TV and wonder how I could create these. Later that year, when my sister purchased our home’s first PC, I started learning Microsoft Paint and later Adobe Flash. I worked on Flash for about 11 years throughout high school, University, and my first three jobs in game development.

Game development was and has been my first love in computer science. But, Android became something special for me. It was NOT love-at-first sight because I hated Android when I first learned about it. I still don’t know why. Coming from a poor family background, I got a fully-funded scholarship through Prime Minister ICT R&D Scholarship Program and enrolled in National University of Engineering & Technology (NUST), SEECS Islamabad campus.

In my 3rd semester, Android was at 2.2 Froyo. A company organized a workshop at our campus which was attended by high-level tech folks like CTOs, software architects, and lead engineers. University management decided to send three students to attend that workshop and I was lucky enough to be one of them. In simple words, the whole 3-days workshop was over my head. I was a newbie in C++ programming and didn’t know anything about Java. And here I was trying to learn high-level Android.

After the workshop, I decided that Android was not for me. However, the university announced an open programming competition for any technology. But they gave extra points for Android submissions. This was my calling. In greed of those extra points, I took up the challenge. I borrowed the only Android book “Hello Android” from my teacher, Sir Shamyl bin Mansoor, and tried to learn as much as I could. Somehow, I managed to submit my first Android app which I showcased on a borrowed laptop with a very slow emulator of Android 2.2. To my surprise, I won it and got Rs. 100,000 prize money. First thing I bought was an Android phone and my journey started.

I started writing about it in a WordPress blog, organized workshops in different universities, made my final year project a 3D game in Adobe Flash, and AIR deployed on a Samsung Galaxy 10 tablet which had a new Android 4 Holo theme and the great Fragments.

After graduation, I got an opportunity from PacktPub (a book publishing company) to write a full book on Android. This was the best achievement I ever received. I managed to co-author two worldwide published 300+ page books (Learning Android Intents & Mastering Android Game Development) on Android in the following two years.

Having about seven years industry hands-on experience in Android development, I spend a lot of time on writing and sharing my knowledge with the community. I mostly write on my website and on Medium. Besides writing, I have been active in open source and have created some Android libraries like EasyFlipView, Room Explorer, etc.

In 2017, I started doing public speaking again. At first, it was a little tough to manage time while working a full-time job and freelance contracts, but it was worth it. I got more and more active in speaking and gave talks at events like Google IO Extended Karachi & Hyderabad in 2018 and 2019, DevFest 2019 Karachi, Pakistan’s first DSC Summit, Kotlin Everywhere 2019, and other local events.

From these events, Sami Kizilbash noticed me and nominated me for becoming a Google Developers Expert. It was a tough time because of a serious medical situation with my father at that time, but a year later in February 2020 I became Pakistan’s first Google Developers Expert in Android. I never thought that I would be a GDE in a field like Android. It is a big honor and achievement for me, along with a feeling of responsibility to help the community in a better way now. Android development has been my life fuel, career, brought bread for me and my family and happiness in developing and delivering more than 100 apps. With more than 2.5 billion Android devices today, this is an excellent career choice with high growth and potential for upcoming students and developers.

My GDE journey has been a fantastic one. I have enjoyed every moment of it, all the love I got from Google and fellow GDEs – including Joe Birch who actually inspired me to become GDE, Hasan Abid, Saurabh Arora, and Juhani Lehtimaki, and Saad Hamid who also helped me through the process. In all the chaos of 2020, it was a very talkative year for me, as I did 25+ online talks on Jetpack Compose animations concepts.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

I simply love how Mnemonic Bookmarks make code navigation so much faster and easier. When you are working on a large codebase, it becomes harder to remember which method was where and what was happening in another Fragment. Simply, press Ctrl + F11 and choose any number or character, let’s say 1. Now, when you press Ctrl + 1, Android Studio will bring you back on that exact line.

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

public virtual

The Computer Science and Information Technology industry is changing and updating minute by minute. No matter what stage of your career you are at, you have to keep learning and updating your skillset. Android is moving at lightspeed, with alpha beta releases rolling out on a regular basis. So, it has become harder to catch up and learn. So, get a Twitter account, and follow the folks of #AndroidDev and you will be amazed how friendly the Twitter developer community is. You will learn new things every single day while scrolling the Twitter feed. And most importantly, don’t forget to give back to the community. It could be through retweeting, or sharing your own code snippets, or writing articles, creating videos, or giving talks. In the end, you will see the more you give to the community, the more you gain back. So, it’s all worth it.

Himanushu Snigh

Himanshu Singh

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My journey started from my college days. I got selected as an Applied CS facilitator for Android by Google in my second year of university. Because of this, I had to take sessions and help students complete a set of tasks as part of Bootcamp. In my college days I was not very good at Android, so when the opportunity came I took it upon myself to gain some knowledge of Android and then help people with their tasks. Learning to build apps that would be used by a lot of people helped me choose Android as a career. And that is how my journey to become an Android developer started.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

I like to use the Macro shortcut in Android Studio.

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

As a beginner in any domain, not just Android, please keep asking questions on how to improve and learn from people in the community. Some of them might not answer your queries but a handful of them might. And in this way, you can learn and grow from their experience and when the time is right, you might be able to help someone in the coming future. This is the key to success!

Oluwasegun Famisa

Oluwasegun Famisa

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My journey in becoming an Android Developer started in 2010, my second year of university when I had the opportunity to participate in a program called “Entrepreneurial Programming and Research on Mobiles” (EPROM). It was a collaboration between MIT and Nokia, and my university was one of the campuses that ran the program. I did not study computer science, so the program was my first exposure to software development. I learned how to build J2ME apps and got exposure to different mobile technologies at the time.

Shortly after the program, I got a work-study opportunity at iQube Labs, where my mentor – James Fowe, who was building a mobile developer community in Nigeria – sent me a bunch of resources and tasks for me to learn how to build Android apps. The Android OS around 2010 was Android Froyo and that was the operating system on which I ran my “Hello world” on Android. Within the next year, I found myself building actual apps on Android Gingerbread.

I have since worked as an Android Developer in different companies ranging from small to mid-sized startups with millions of users, to publicly traded companies, all across many countries. I’ve had the opportunity of working with very brilliant folks that have contributed to my growth and learning.

My journey is not complete without talking about the developer community. I consider myself a product of the community and that’s why I try to give back every now and then when I have the opportunity.

I started getting involved in the developer community at my university – through various student groups, including my local GDG group then co-organized by Moyinoluwa Adeyemi (an Android GDE). I attended meetups and participated in developer challenges and hackathons.


Becoming a GDE for Android is a career milestone I never saw coming. It started in 2016 when John Kimani (Google DevRel manager for SSA) toured my office and we ran into each other at the door. I wasn’t prepared enough to become a GDE the first time my profile was reviewed, but with feedback, guidance, mentorship and hard work, I became an Android GDE in 2018.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to so many countries around the world and meet members of the global Android Developer community. I’ve also given talks at conferences and meetups; including DevFests, Droidcon (Nairobi, Dubai, Berlin, Boston), and 360AnDev, to mention a few, about topics I enjoy – Kotlin, Design Systems, Jetpack Compose, and Developer Productivity Engineering.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

That’s such a tough one, but I’ll say my favourite AndroidDev tip right now is: use the Android code search tool – https://cs.android.com – and Android API documentation as often as possible. (See also: https://androidsrc.dev/)

The two resources have helped me in answering the “why is this not working” question and understanding what’s happening under the hood. A lot of times, I need to really understand what the Framework function I’m calling does, and the answer is almost always in the documentation or in the source code.

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

I’ll give two for the price of one:

  1. Structure and consistency are important when learning. One can’t possibly know everything, but one can try with enough of these two ingredients. Structured learning is becoming more and more accessible these days than it was, so one should take advantage of it, consistently – through codelabs, or courses and the likes.
  2. Get used to reading official documentations and official source codes. This is a valuable and transferable skill regardless of the technology one works with, so I would advise not to shy away from it.

Local students team up to help small businesses go online

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Recently young developers in Saudi Arabia from Google Developer Student Clubs, a program of university based community groups for students interested in Google technologies, came together to help local small businesses. As more companies across the globe rely on online sales, these students noticed that many of their favorite local stores did not have a presence on the web.

So to help these local shops compete, these up-and-coming developers went into the community and began running workshops to teach local store owners the basics of building a website. Inspired by Google’s fundamentals of digital marketing course, these learning sessions focused on giving small business owners basic front-end skills, while introducing them to easy to use coding tools.

Front-end skills for small business owners

Image of Chrome Devtools

The first goal of these student-run workshops was to teach local store owners the basics of building web interfaces. In particular, they focused on websites that made it easy for customers to make purchases. To do this, the students first taught store owners the basics of HTML, CSS, and JS code. Then, they showed them how to deploy Chrome DevTools, a collection of web developer tools built directly into the Google Chrome browser that allows programmers to inspect and edit HTML, CSS, and JS code to optimize user experience.

Next, the students challenged participants to put their knowledge to use by creating demos of their businesses’ new websites. The young developers again used Chrome DevTools to highlight the best practices for testing the demo sites on different devices and screen sizes.

Introduction to coding toolkits

Image of demo created and maintained in workshop.

With the basics of HTML, CSS, JS code, and Chrome DevTools covered, the students also wanted to give the store owners tools to help maintain their new websites. To do this, they introduced the small businesses to three toolkits:

  1. Bootstrap, to help templatize future workflow for the websites.
  2. Codepen, to make testing new features and aspects of the websites easier.
  3. Figma, to assist in the development of initial mockups.

With these basic coding skills, access to intuitive toolkits, and completed website demos, the local businesses owners now had everything they needed to launch their sites to the public – all thanks to a few dedicated students.

Ready to join a Google Developer Student Club near you?

All over the world, students are coming together to learn programming and make a difference in their community as members of local Google Developer Student Clubs. Learn more on how to get involved in projects like this one, here.


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India’s Google Developer Groups meet up to ace their Google Cloud Certifications

Posted by Biswajeet Mallik, Program Manager, Google Developers India.

Image from Cloud Community Days India

Earlier this year, ten Google Developer Groups in India came together to host Google Cloud Community Days India, a two day event helping developers study for their upcoming Cloud Certification exams. To address the rising demand for professional certifications, the virtual event hosted over 63,000 developers, covered four main exam areas, and welcomed nine speakers. This was the second edition to the event series which started in 2019 in India.

By providing expert learning materials and mentorship, the event uniquely prepared developers for the Associate Cloud Engineer, Professional Data Engineer, Professional Cloud Machine Learning Engineer, and Professional Cloud Architect exams. Learn more below.

Acing the four key certifications

The Cloud Community Days event focused on helping developers study for four milestone certifications, tailored to engineers at four different stages of their career. The goal: help Google Developer Group members obtain the right credentials to improve their job prospects.

The event broke participants into breakout sessions based on which exam they were preparing to take. Since the certifications targeted professionals of all skill levels, study groups ranged from early career associates to late career executives. The learning groups were organized around the following certifications:

  1. Associate Cloud Engineer:

    This learning session was created to help early career developers complete the first stepping stone exam. In particular, learning materials and speakers were curated to guide participants who had no prior experience, or very little, working on the Google Cloud Platform.

    Workshops were mainly dedicated to assisting programmers who were familiar with building different applications but wished to show employers that they could deploy them on Google Cloud Platform.

    Watch more from: Day 1, here. And day 2, here.

  2. Professional Data Engineers:

    The next group brought together were data practitioners with special interests in data visualization and decision making. Workshops and learning activities helped these developers hone their large scale data and data driven decision making abilities.

    Improving these skills are essential for passing the Professional Data Engineers certification and growing a programmer’s early career.

    Watch more from: Day 1, here. And day 2, here.

  3. Professional Cloud Machine Learning Engineer:

    For these sessions, the Google Developer Group Cloud community paired experienced programmers with a significant interest in ML to form their study groups. The main driver in these learning activities was to help seasoned developers gain a deeper understanding of how to utilize Google Cloud ML services.

    With significant emphasis being placed on machine learning in the ecosystem right now, Google Developer Group community leaders felt this certification could help developers make the leap into new leadership roles.

    Watch more from: Day 1, here. And day 2, here.

  4. Professional Cloud Architect:

    Lastly, this event paired experienced Cloud executives and professionals working in leading capacities for their organizations. For these sessions, speakers and activities had a specific scope: help high level professions be at the forefront of Google Cloud Platforms innovative capabilities.

    Specifically, the Professional Cloud Architect Certification was created to help senior software engineers better design, scale and develop highly secure and robust applications.

    Day 1, here. And day 2, here.

Reactions from the community

Overall, the community put together these resources to help developers feel more confident in their abilities, obtain tangible credentials, and in turn increase access to better job opportunities. As two participants recalled the event,

“The session on Qwiklabs was so helpful, and taught me how to anticipate problems and then solve them. Cloud Community Days inspired me to take the next step with DevOps and Google Cloud.”

“This was the first time I attended the Google Developer Group event! It is an awesome package for learning in one place. All the fun activities were engaging and the panelist discussion was also very insightful. I feel proud to be a part of this grand GDG event.”

Start learning with Google Developer Groups

With Google Developer Groups, find a space to learn alongside a group of curious developers, all coming together to advance their careers from withinside a caring community of peers.

Want to know more about what Cloud Community days were like? Then watch their live recording below.

Ready to find a community event near you? Then get started at gdg.community.dev


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High Performance Game Audio with Oboe

Posted by Dan Galpin

High Performance Game Audio with Oboe graphic

We’ve added the Oboe C++ audio library to the
Android Game SDK. Oboe’s support of high-performance, low-latency audio across the widest range of Android devices is the right choice for most game developers.

Single API

On Android devices running Android 8.1 (API level 27) and higher, Oboe takes advantage of the improved performance and features of AAudio while maintaining backward compatibility (using OpenSL ES) with Android 4.1 (API level 16) and higher. Oboe also adds key features on top of the platform APIs to improve the audio developer experience, such as resampling, format conversion, and dynamic latency tuning. It performs audio data transformations, such as channel count conversion, when necessary to improve performance on selected devices, and has workarounds for other device-specific behaviors that improve the robustness of your audio code. In short, Oboe is now the recommended way to write audio code in C/C++ on Android.

Integrating Oboe

There are two primary ways to incorporate Oboe library prebuilts into your project. If you’re using the Android Gradle plugin version 4.1.0 or higher along with CMake, and are using or can enable shared STL, enabling Oboe is as easy as adding Oboe to your Gradle dependencies, enabling prefabs, and adding a few lines to your CMakeLists file.

You can also integrate Oboe by statically linking using the Android Game SDK. Begin by downloading the library and checking it into your source control system. You need to be using minSdkVersion of 16 or higher with NDK release 18 or higher. Then, to specify the version of the game SDK to link in that’s been compiled for the given ABI, API level, NDK, and STL combination, add a compiler include path in this form:

gamesdk/libs/[architecture]_API[apiLevel]_NDK[ndkVersion]_[stlVersion]_Release
Example: gamesdk/libs/arm64-v8a_API24_NDK18_cpp_static_Release

Then add -loboe_static to your linker command. Since you don’t need to bundle the liboboe.so shared library, static linking gives you a smaller code footprint. If the ABI, API level, NDK, and STL combination doesn’t have a precompiled version available for your settings, you can alternately link against the shared library. We have more guidance, including how to configure CMake for static libraries, in our developer documentation.

Oboe Basics

To output audio, you begin by creating a stream with the required properties, including a callback that is used when the stream requires new data.

oboe::AudioStreamBuilder builder;
builder.setPerformanceMode(oboe::PerformanceMode::LowLatency)
  ->setSharingMode(oboe::SharingMode::Exclusive)
  ->setDataCallback(myCallback)
  ->setFormat(oboe::AudioFormat::Float);

You’ll then populate the audio data inside of the callback. If the stream creates successfully, that means you got the requested stream type. If you didn’t specify these types, you’ll have to query to see what format was returned.

class MyCallback : public oboe::AudioStreamDataCallback {
public:
    oboe::DataCallbackResult
    onAudioReady(oboe::AudioStream *audioStream, void *audioData, int32_t numFrames) {
        // We requested AudioFormat::Float
        auto *outputData = static_cast<float *>(audioData);
        // TODO: populate audioData here
        return oboe::DataCallbackResult::Continue;
    }
};

For full details on using Oboe, check out the documentation, code samples and API reference. There’s even a codelab which shows you how to build a simple rhythm-based game.

If you have any issues, please file them here. We’d love to hear from you.


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