4 Insights from DroidCon Berlin 2018

DroidCon Berlin 2018: This year, the Android conference focused on cross-platform development and AI applications. More women in tech! Our dev Natalya is really happy about the growing percentage of women attending tech conferences.

The name says it all: DroidCon Berlin 2018 was all about Android development. This year’s focus was on cross-platform and AI apps. Our mobile developer Natalya Blanco wouldn’t miss the chance attending the conference in June and tells us what she learned.

1. “It shouldn’t matter how the user visits or uses the app, it should be a nice experience.” 

I loved Jake Wharton’s talk on Progressive Web Apps and WebAPKs, “Blurring the line between native and web”. It’s not a completely new concept, but quickly gaining popularity. Jake showed how similar native and web development actually are when it comes to PWAs, and that their features are a huge plus for both users and developers. Even though PWAs are web apps, they feel like native apps to the user (e.g. it’s possible to send push notifications), can be used in any browser, and don’t require a store to download the app from. And since web apps are cross-platform, developers don’t have to write code for each supported platform.

2. Mobius: A library for creating testable apps

Mobius is an open-source framework introduced by Spotify, that helps us manage states, evolutions, and side effects. This library is still in beta, but the concept behind it is pretty cool. Basically, if there’s an event that generates a change in the data state, this new data state produces an effect in the app’s UI – but just one event and effect at a time. This helps create testable apps with a clear separation of concerns. (Info taken from Petter Måhlén’s talk “Mobius – Loopy UI architecture”.)

3. Navigation and Work Manager: New Android Architecture Components

Architecture Components came out last year with very helpful libraries. This year, two more components were added: Navigation and Work Manager to handle background jobs. Paulina Szklarska’s talk was about how to use these components, e.g. how to create a database with Room; how to control the activity lifecycle; and how to take advantage of LiveData to keep the data up-to-date. I’m really looking forward to using the new components!

4. More women than ever

For the first time at a tech conference ever, I had to wait in line in front of the women’s bathroom, which I was actually super happy about. And not only that. There were also quite a few talks given by women, which was really great! I hope the number of women interested in tech keeps growing.