I enjoyed watching the Android Open Conference for 2011 by O’Reilly and learned a lot on all of the many topics that were covered throughout the 40 hours of presentations. After watching all of the presentations, I can see advantages and disadvantages to watching the collection of presentation instead of going to the actual conference. One of the positive points was the fact that I felt very inspired by many of the presenters and really enjoyed many of the topics that were covered. I really enjoyed all of the presentations that Ken Jones provide throughout the conference. I also enjoyed watching Eric Burke presentation on improving the quality of apps by making rounded corners for images and other items. His passion in creating great looking apps is the same level of passion that I have for creating software. I would have to say about every presenter showed great passion in what they were presenting. This leads me to some of the other positive points for watching vs. being at the conference. One positive point is the fact that if the topic for the presentation sounds really great and you start watching it and realize that it really isn’t for you, then you can just stop watching that presentation without worrying about offending the presenter by walking out. I am not saying by any means that I would do better than the presenters in the conference, but having the option of saving your time and moving on to more interesting topics is a huge plus in my book. On the flip side of this you don’t have the opportunity to ask any questions and/or talk with the presenter after the lecture. For full disclosure, I didn’t try to contact any of the presenters by email for any question. I would assume that they would respond, since they all seemed to pass out their contact information within the presentation. Another positive benefit of having this available through O’Reilly and being able to watch from home is the fact that you could probably more easily convince your Boss to have the company pay for the videos, since it would cost a lot less than a trip out to California, hotel, rental car, food, and being away from work. On the other hand, I have been at companies where they want you to get submersed in the conference and network with other developers to see what else is going on. That is something that I did miss out on by watching the videos instead of being there. The last positive point that I am going to say, is the fact that I can watch these over and over again. If for some reason someone brought up the topic of security in mobile devices, I would re-watch the presentations that covered that topic if I couldn’t remember everything. I don’t know for sure if the people who actually went to the conference would have access to these videos or not. But if they do not, then this would be another huge benefit.
With regards to the topics that were covered, I think there was a wide variety of topics that were presented. I am new to mobile development and have been reading up on both iOS and Android, but I would think that developers with more years of experience would be able to get some good information out of this conference as I did. Throughout the many years that I have been working, I know that I have gained just as much by talking with other people and attending conferences as I have researching and learning on my own. People just have different interests and it is always great to learn from all the research and experience that they have in that area. Therefore, watching these presentations really opened my eyes to everything that is going on with Android and why many developers are actually leaning towards iOS development. The term that kept coming up over and over was ‘fragmentation’ and if you haven’t heard about it, like myself, it is the issue of dealing with developing apps for all the different version of Android that are out there and the many devices. With iOS development there is maybe 2 or 3 versions of iOS running on a few devices, but the amount of Android devices and modifications to the base Android API are at a much larger scale than dealing with iOS. But don’t let this convince you to only develop for iOS, something that I am struggling with also, there is still a great opportunity for developing applications for Android and it seems like there are efforts being made to improve on the fragmentation.
Therefore, if you are interested in Android app development and want to learn more, then I would recommend this conference (Android Open Conference 2011 at O’Reilly). I am sure that you will enjoy it as much as I did and thank you O’Reilly for putting on such a great conference.