This was my second time attending and speaking at the Droidcon NYC Conference. In 2015, my first conference talk was at this event. It was great to get back to New York and reconnect with many I met a few years ago. I put together a few highlights of what took place below:
The sessions were spread out among four main rooms. So at each time slot you had a difficult choice to make because there were multiple interesting talks to attend. Thankfully the talks were recorded, so I’ll get to catch the ones I missed. And so can you! Droidcon NYC is one of the top conferences in the Android Community. There were speakers from many major companies like: Facebook, Google, Evernote, Pinterest, Square and more.
Another thing that makes it unique is that about 10% of the attendees are speakers as well. This means that as an attendee you have a pretty good chance of getting to meet some of your favorite speakers.
I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion around Application Architecture on the first day. I was joined by fellow Google Developer Experts and a few Googlers from the Android Framework team. This was easily one of my favorite panel discussions. We talked about a number of subjects in rapid-fire succession. Things like:
- Does the new ViewModel component make the MVP pattern obsolete?
- What impact does Kotlin have on an app’s architecture, if any?
- Since LiveData is an Observable, do we still need RxJava?
There was a packed house for the discussion and the community seemed to really enjoy hearing a variety of opinions on some of these major topics. I would recommend watching it once the video comes out!
.@brwngrldev questioning the definition of “the community” was 🔥, as one might expect pic.twitter.com/8JZfHD8sRf
— Christina Lee (@RunChristinaRun) September 25, 2017
I also gave my first joint talk with, Moyinoluwa Adeyemi, on how we develop our offline-first Android application at Off Grid Electric. This was a fun challenge for me. We divided up the slides and took turns explaining the various issues we faced, the architecture we developed and the third-party libraries we used in our application. I even got to include a few pictures from the Safari I took when in Tanzania last year!
Met @vRallev today, the creator of the Android Job library. It’s great to have such a person in the #Android community! #DCNYC17 #AndroidDev pic.twitter.com/X6V9L8fNn6
— Annyce Davis (@brwngrldev) September 26, 2017
During the conference I attended a number of sessions, but here are the ones that I benefited from the most:
Advanced Networking with RxJava + Retrofit – Stephen D’Amico
In this talk, Stephen went through proven patterns for solving application-level problems with RxJava. It was nice to see more advanced examples of working with Observable responses. For example, he showed how you can use the
share()operator to have multiple subscribers to your response. Then take different paths/actions based on said response. I had never seen anyone use the
share()operator in that way before. It was very clever!
GraphQL on Android is Here! – Brian Plummer and Mike Nakhimovich
This talk was great because they walked through the basics of GraphQL and how it works. Then they compared how you would typically go about making a REST request with how you would make an API request with GraphQL. Next, they showed how to get set up with GraphQL on Android. The slides can be found here.
Clean App Design with Architecture Components – Chuck Greb
This is the final talk I wanted to highlight. In it, Chuck, explores how components like Lifecycle, ViewModel, LiveData, and Room can be leveraged in an app already using clean architecture principles. There were two things I really loved about this talk. First, he used Model View Presenter (MVP) as the basis for the clean architecture pattern. This is the same pattern that I like to use in my apps, so it was easy to follow. Second, he didn’t just add all of the new components at once. He showed how you can incrementally include them in an existing application. It was really well done!
I had a great time at Droidcon NYC. I especially enjoyed the informal conversations that I had in between sessions. I had the chance to pick the brains of many developers that I respect in the community and walked away with a greater understanding of some of the newer libraries. For instance, my company has started using GraphQL in some of our projects. I got to sit down with Mike Nakhimovich, a contributor to Apollo Android, to find out how I could incorporate it into my application. That was awesome as it helped solidify some concepts that were hazy to me.
Another perk of being a speaker is getting to hang out in the Speaker’s Room and have “animated” discussions with fellow speakers. You can learn a lot from doing that. During one such session, we covered the difference between the two career paths available to developers (individual contributor vs. manager) and how to choose what’s best for you. It was beneficial for me to hear from more experienced developers and what the journey has been like for them. Definitely recommend giving public speaking a shot, it’s a great way to grow your network.
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