Monday, 3 October 2011

Night falls on Day 1

A solid day coding - somewhat disconcerting for Helen, who despite planning a day's study herself, had not completely appreciated the degree of focus necessary for programming work. Tomorrow, when the temperature finally drops from high 20s to October norm, I'll move into the loft.

All morning was spent on the trivial detail of establishing a compile and execute cycle for the Android tablet code that Luke kindly sent me this morning, prompted by project start. Two gotchas discovered - one that IntelliJ finds it difficult to make a transition between versions of the Android SDK. It insisted for some time that my SDK had disappeared, when compiling Luke's code. The other is the behaviour of the Xoom emulator. I suffered the new experience of an emulator that runs convincingly like the real hardware (if slowly), but leaves me asking "where is my app?".

The answer? The emulator was randomly rendering only the top part of the screen, showing the icon for the app that was being debugged, but not the label underneath that would have told me what it was. A simple problem once you know, but left me mystified for a good 30 minutes. (Tried Googling "android xoom emulator where is my app"). After realising what was happening, the workaround was to navigate to another app, come back to the desktop, and then see all icons. Eventually I discovered that you can just leave the emulator running, and the current app gets reloaded and run in place, without going via this screen at all.

After all that drama, the afternoon was spent stripping down one of Luke's apps to a very basic graphics app that demonstrates all the facilities I think I need. That seems very promising, and the challenge for tomorrow is to see whether it will be practical to develop for twin platforms - regular Java (with a tablet display) and Android. It seems like the graphics features of the Android Canvas class are rather different from (for example) the HTML 5 Canvas class.

Correct me if I'm wrong!

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