Code Monkey learns with Learnaroo

On again off again. I seem to go through phases where I really want to learn this stuff and then I always peter out on it. That’s OK. Somewhere in my mind I always have a desire to learn it, I just don’t always have the focus to turn that desire into time and action. A few days ago I got the focus again. I had heard about Codecademy in the past and that it was the best free way to learn how to code. They don’t teach Java. That was sad. I played around with the idea of just using it to learn a different language, but ultimatley decided that I needed to work specifically towards what I actually want to do, code Android apps. For reference, Codecademy currently has tracks for Web Fundamentals, jQuery, JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby. I also thought about going back to Treehouse. I really loved the style of that site, the fun videos and how quickly I was learning. The code challenges are great too. I just can’t afford the $25 dollars a month. Diapers and baby food are more important than me learning a new hobby. I highly recommend the site to anyone who can afford it though! Treehouse has tracks for Android Development, Web Design, Web Development, Rails Development, iOS Development, PHP Development, WordPress Development and even Starting a Business. You can use this link to get a free month’s subscription to try it out (it also gives me $5 off for every month you are subscribed!).

Okay, enough with the sites I am not currently learning! I found Learneroo. It seems alright so far. It doesn’t offer as many options as Codecademy or Treehouse do, but it does offer Java. The rest of what it offers are more nebulous. Here is the list of their modules: About Programming, Combinations & Permutations, Learn Programming with Java and Logic and Loops Practice. I started with the “About Programming” module which I found to be quite good. It didn’t really go over anything I didn’t already know, except an over view of the most popular languages and what you should learn based on what you want to do. They had a flow chart that pointed me to Java. Then I moved onto the Learn Programming with Java section. I’ve been working through it off and on for about a day. My attention is divided between it, my baby girl and a house full of company so it’s slow going, but I thought I would stop and revive this blog.

I’ve also started looking into ways to make a bit of cash on the side online. I’ve found a few site that pay you to do simple things. I figure if I can pay for my Netflix every month and get a bit in my paypal account it can’t hurt. Hopefully when I’m ready to publish my first app I’ll have enough to pay for the dev membership to the play store. I made a quick blog that talks about the sites. Feel free to check it out here.

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Finally

I love it when a plan comes together. The last issue I ran into (there being no options for SDK when creating a new Android project in eclipse) was caused by an empty Android SDK. I thought I had downloaded a few API’s but I guess I had not. That must have been on one of the numerous previous installations of the Android SDK. By the way, SDK = Software Development Kit. So, with that little issue out of the way late last night, I was able to wake up this morning and succefully create a sample Android Project. I was in a pretty good mood as I headed out to work for the day. I couldn’t wait to get home and start working through tutorials.
First thing at work I’m told I have to become Apple Online Sales Gold Certified by 2 pm. I’m not exactly what you would call an Apple Fan so this didn’t put me in a great mood… From 9:30 am to 1:55 pm I did nothing but read Apple training and answer questions. Then after mentioning to my manager that I got the Gold level just before the deadline he tells me I have to hit the next level (Apple Product Professional) before I head out for the weekend… Great. I hit that level as well and I guess I get a pin for it. Yay… OK, so that last part wasn’t important to the story of becoming an Android Application Developer…
My current set up where I develop. The PC powering the monitors is an Acer with an i7, 8gb RAM and decent GFX Card. And 80gb HDD...

Ah, Android and Windows. 🙂

It felt really good to get home and create an Android Emulation Device and run my sample program in it. After I got that out of the way I went through the first lesson on Google’s Android Developer page. In it I learned how to create a basic User Interface including an Edit text field and a button, start a new activity (which makes a new screen), and get to the new screen from the first one while taking information from the first one with you to the second one. It really wasn’t that hard, and this is actually my second time going through this lesson. The first time was on my tablet using AIDE and it resulted in 34 errors. I’m happy to announce that this time, using Eclipse IDE, I came up with zero errors and an App that works as it is supposed to. After going through the lesson 2 times I still could not reproduce it on my own. Or in other words if you came up to me and said, “Hey, I want you to build an Android App where a user enters text on one screen and then the app displays that text on a new screen.” I wouldn’t know how to do it. Even though I have already built that app I couldn’t do it at this point with out the step by step instruction. At the moment I will assume that in time I will be start to truly put together what I am doing and part of it will become memory. I understand what almost all the code I used means so that isn’t the problem. It’s just knowing what to use when and where without the instruction. Again, I assume that will come with practice. Patience my young apprentice.
I’d like to take a moment to mention that the troubles I had setting up Eclipse for Android Development are apparently not the norm. I’ve got a friend that’s into development, but hadn’t done much if any Android work until I mentioned I was going to work on it. After hearing about my woes with environment set up he said he had no problem installing the SDK and ADT Plugin for Eclipse. I wanted to mention that so it didn’t discourage any one out there from looking into Android Development.
I wonder if this will work... ?

First Activity of my first App

It worked!!

Second Activity

My next steps are to continue the lessons on Google’s Android Development site and see if a completed program’s source files can run in AIDE on my tab. 🙂