Category Archives: Mobile

Kata: Simple Android App

One of my favorite tools for creating polished apps is Robolectric, which allows you to unit test directly in your IDE — fancy debugging and everything.

I’ve been kicking around the idea for a while to create katas to practice technique and help others start out with the tool. I didn’t want them to go through the same pain of spending several minutes (or hours) trying to piece together disparate suggestions for how to test something simple!
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Kata: Robolectric Integration

A coding kata is a way to practice something to get better at it — just like the karate counterpart. I also use katas to get familiar with new tools and approaches.

In Android, it’s difficult to get started with TDD because JUnit isn’t supported natively in the JVM. Robolectric gets around this restriction, but must be configured each time.

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Formatting Paths, Menus, and Key Shortcuts in Softcover

One of the last tasks on the agenda before shipping my books is to make the formatting support the material instead of making it harder to understand.

Softcover is nice because it lets you stay mostly in Markdown, but you can drop in LaTex for more advanced formatting needs. I started by using inline code formatting for everything from function names, API calls, code snippets, to file paths. For UI instructions, I was using double quotes and a mixture of inline stuff.

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2014, A Retrospective

In 2013, I learned I could take a break. In 2014, I learned to set my own course.

I led a team of Android developers, started a consulting businessventured into startup land, joined the board of a non-profit (we opened computer labs in Mexico and Morocco), expanded the Google Developer Group (GDG), and started hosting on AirBnB.

I taught a 3-week class in Gainesville. I created training workbooks. I took the 30×500 class. I’m writing a book.

I was free to spend most of June abroad and saw the northern lights in October. I spoke in Stockholm and Amsterdam. I attended Droid NYC, Google I/O, and two GDG conferences. I mentored at LadyHacks and inspired others to speak at conferences.

Excited to see this foundation grow in 2015.

12 Resources for Android Beginners


If you are already a programmer by trade, an excellent resource is Professional Android 4 Application Development.* It set a high bar and teaches Android in an approachable fashion.

I got my start with version 2, in the time before Fragments and tablets. The book was updated for Ice Cream Sandwich, but a lot has changed in the last few years. Hopefully there’s a new version on the way.

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6 Tips For Speaking at Conferences

Have you wanted to get started with a conference speaking career but don’t know how? It’s a lot easier than it appears on the outside!

Own Your Expertise. We are all experts of our own experience. Sharing our path, passion, and knowledge inspires others. We don’t need to know everything about a topic to have something valuable to say!

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Barcamp Philly 2014

I was inspired by three different sources to give a talk at Barcamp this past Saturday.

First, I attended the inaugural Write/Speak/Code conference last year. During the Write day, we learned how to own our expertise and write op ed columns (something that’s on my short term goal list). The Speak day was all about the mechanics of drafting and submitting talks. (Pam Selle and I spoke on the Code day about feminist models for open source participation).
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Conference Speaking 101

I gave a workshop today at Barcamp Philly that heavily drew from Julie Pagano’s workshop and slides. I reorganized the time frame (her workshop is a whole day and walks you through many more steps of conference presenting) and made it fit in a 45 minute time frame.

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