Google I/O 2018

2 minute read

The last two weeks have been an immersion in Android. A lot of cool stuff to work on at work and Google I/O stirring the pot with all the new stuff to explore.

Here are the things I’ll be obsessing over from Google I/O 2018.

Android Jetpack

Android Jetpack is essentially just Google having an opinion about how you should develop apps. It is a continuation of a theme that started at last year’s I/O where they introduced new Architecture components, including the ViewModel, Lifecycle-Aware Components, and LiveData.

This year brought the annoucement of some new components like the WorkManager, Navigation, and Slices, all packaged under the new Jetpack umbrella.

The moral of the story is, Google is having an opinion on Android, and introducing some really cool new ways to build apps in Android - so take note. I definitely will be.

Kotlin, for real tho

Last year Google announced Kotlin support in Android. This year, they said it again twice as loud. We all know how this goes.

Kotlin will be a big focus for me in the next few months. I hope to come back to the blog advocating for Kotlin.

Technically this falls into the Jetpack category, but the Navigation component was perhaps the most immediately interesting to me. I’ve had several conversations with Android devs about how to navigate when managing a workflow and I’ve gone back and forth between standard Fragment transitions and managing a ViewPager.

The Navigation components look to be an attempt to make the Fragment transitions less scary, and to nudge devs towards a new ‘storyboard’ based architecture for navigating.

I’m looking forward to using the visual navigation editor in the newest version of Android Studio and trying to build my first workflows using Navigation.

Update Your Shit

Google is laying down the law. New apps can’t publish to the Play Store with a target lower than API 26 (Nougat) starting in August 2018, and no apps can publish updates with a target lower than 26 starting November 2018.

It’s another move towards the Apple yearly release cycle for iOS and an attempt to improve the Android update process for users. For developers, it means supporting the latest API’s and maybe leaving some users behind for now.

Understand AI and Machine Learning

The most striking moment from the Keynote this year was watching the Google Assistant make a phone call and schedule an appointment with an unwitting salon employee. The language processing was crazy, and the Assistant gracefully maneuvered the conversation the despite the invevitable bumps along the way.

It was a little scary, and made me a little unsettled about just how much data Google has on me and how much more they want to have. Event today The Verge is reporting on a weird internal Google hype video on a total-data-collection concept that is more than a little unnerving.

While there are definitely privacy and ethical concerns here that are worth discussing, my first reaction is that I need to understand - at a high level - how Google is building their AI systems and generally how they work. Like any person I’m scared of things I don’t understand, and AI is definitely something I could stand to understand more.

Next Week, on Weekly Obsession

I think next week I’ll try to get started on some Kotlin stuff and report back. If not, it might be some Android View lessons learned. Or, as always with Next Week, on Weekly Obsession, it might be something completely different!