IAP Africa: Week 2 Summary

Kenya IAP 2011 Blog

Written by: Anshul Bhagi

Jan. 21, 2011

We have now reached the end of the 2nd week of the 3-week Android + entrepreneurship course, and I'm extremely pleased with the progress.

By the end of week 1, the students had learned basics of Android programming (designing user interfaces, event handling, multiple-page apps); narrowed down their ideas for Android applications to one feasible, socially impactful, and monetizable project; paper prototyped their applications and presented their visions via 60-second Elevator Pitches (which were judged by Kenyan entrepreneur/investor Martin Mbaya). During this time, they completed various mini-projects (one per day), two of which were an Android calculator application and an Android surveying app that gathers information from the user via a simple form.

Week 2 was even more efficient and eventful than the first, partly because we had already overcome the logistical challenges of the first week (finding an available room at Strathmore for the course, installing necessary software, setting up the Nexus One devices provided by Google, obtaining SIM cards from Safaricom, etc.). The second week went as follows:

Day 1: Intro to complex UI (scrollable lists, image galleries, drop-downs), and reading/writing from local databases on the phone.

Project/Lab: A Notes application that lets users create notes and save them onto a local database on the phone so that they can be viewed or edited later.

Day 2: Location-detection using GPS and Network (WiFi, GSM), and displaying information on interactive Maps. On this day, there were also three guest speaker presentations (two from Google Africa representatives, and one from an expert mobile developer from London; I'll include pictures of these in a separate blog post).

Project/Lab: A location-tracking Android application that obtains the user's latitude and longitude and displays it on Google Maps, along with some other points of interest.

Day 3: Reading data from external SQL Databases; Web services and XML parsing with Android.

Project/Lab: Android app that parses XML data from an external PHP script and displays it on a scrollable list.

Day 4: Groups started formally working on their apps. They created timelines, divided responsibilities, and submitted brief summaries of the technical and business aspects of their projects (which I've posted as a separate blog entry). We also worked individually with groups on topics such as 2D Graphics, Splash Screens, and Audio playback.

Day 5: Groups continued work on projects, with help from instructors (Austin and me) and Dominic, one of the two course TAs.