One hundred and fifty enthusiasts with a small green robot in their pockets, who instead of sun tanning by the lake spend a sunny Saturday in a dark auditorium in order to pick up new skills and knowledge so that they can improve their mobile applications? Yes, that’s exactly what last Saturday looked like as the first Czech conference for Android developers, the Android Devcamp, was held in Prague.
More than 150 Android developers in one room.
The idea to hold such an event was already around for a long time, but only the Google Developer Day 2010 conference turned out to be the right impulse to actually launch organization efforts. There was a huge amount of interest at GDD 2010 in Android presentations as well as in the exhibition of Android phones, and from discussions with the participants it became more than obvious that many of them would appreciate an event focused on Android developers.
We’ve been developing Android applications at Inmite since the very beginning, and we are always very glad for every opportunity to pass our experience on. Moreover, the conference was an excellent opportunity to meet many other developers who are just as enthusiastic about the little green robot as we are. We were joined in the organization of the event by the well known Czech blogger and also organizer of many geeky events, Martin Hassman.
Organizing such an event was a big challenge for us and we were surprised by how many things must be arranged and decided. If you ever embark on a similar adventure, here are a few tips on what to keep in mind: selecting a suitable venue, arranging equipment (cameras, visualizer), coordinating with the event partners, preparing the conference microsite (ours is at http://www.adevcamp.cz/), selecting a registration system (of course we developed our own customized solution, but it was a ton of work), arranging catering, preparing the afterparty, and – above all – putting together an interesting program and inviting awesome speakers…
Android mascot who attended the conference as well :)
For the main set of presentations we invited the leading Czech and Slovak developers: Pavel Petřek from Inmite talked about his experience in the professional development of Android applications acquired during three years of active development, Tomáš Zvěřina took his listeners on a dive into the dark recesses of several unknown Android API’s and Martin Hejna demonstrated during the morning segment what developing in Android NDK looks like. Just before lunch, our colleagues from Vodafone (the conference’s main partner) made a brief presentation and introduced their big competition for Czech developers.
Lunch was followed by Juraj Michálek’s presentation on Air as well as by probably the most eagerly anticipated speech of the day: Martin Adámek’s talk about monetizing Android applications (Martin is one of the most qualified developers to speak on this topic, as his APNdroid application has already been downloaded by more than one million users worldwide). In order to make the program of the full-day conference as attractive as possible, we also decided to include two special segments in the afternoon program in addition to standard presentations:
Enthusiastic discussions after Martin's talk about monetization.
Lightning talks – during which 6 different speakers made 6 ten-minute presentations, so in quick succession we heard about the automatization of Android builds, the QT framework, developing one’s own activity chooser, writing location based services, the ObjectForms framework as well as about foundations of Android GUI design.
App Contest – competition for the best Android application. Already before the conference developers had the opportunity to enter their applications into the competition. During the event, seven authors had the opportunity to present their applications to other developers in the audience and, in addition to presenting their work, they also always showed something interesting from their developer kitchen. The public then selected David Vávra’s Settle Up application as the very best one, and David was awarded an Android tablet by the Samsung company.
But there were also other interesting things happening at the conference in addition to the presentations. Our friends from the SvetAndroida.cz portal prepared the accompanying program, and they managed – for example – to get the Android controlled AR.Drone “quadricopter” (officially not yet supported by Android, but with a little bit of effort it is possible to get the drivers going :) for the event, as well as several attractive Android devices (including the new hot Samsung tablets).
And how did it all turn out? Over 150 developers hungry for new information met in the full auditorium, many interesting discussions were held during the breaks and the community of Czecho-Slovak Android developers was thus perfectly united. The whole event received very positive feedback that has already convinced us now that we will definitely consider organizing another event next year.
Closing panel discussion (and partner logos on the wall – Big Thanks!).