AAC 2014 – Only Three Days Left!

Only three days left in the Africa Android Challenge
Don't forget to submit your apps!

What about the judging process?

The Judges will evaluate each entry and give it a score from one (1) to five (5) according to specific criterias. The entry with the highest score will receive the first prize;

In the event of a tie between any eligible entries, an additional judge will break the tie based on the criteria outlined below.

The team will create a pool of countries with less than 3 submissions

What about criteria?

  • Effective Use of Google Cloud platform (bonus) Such submissions must have an URL of http://aac2014-[AppName].appspot.com domain for the cloud back-end
  • Usability on multiple screen sizes
  • User-friendliness (Ease of use)
  • Relevance to Country (i.e. value-add to users)
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Execution of idea
  • Use of hardware platform or use of Android's features
  • Branding (clever, catchy, sticky or innovative branding strategy)
  • Necessity (solve a unique problem, meet a need)

How will the developers submit their apps?

Fill form with relevant information in website www.androidchallenge.org.

(Worst case) Sent form with relevant information by email to info@androidchallenge.org.

Form includes field:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Country
  • City
  • Phone
  • User Group (optional)
  • Name of application
  • Category (1 or 2)
  • Description
  • Archive APK or Link to the apps (in case the entry already submitted in Google Play or any Android store)
  • URL of backend (http://aac2014-[AppName].appspot.com domain): (bonus ONLY)
  • Google+ Page of the app
  • Youtube video link of the app

Who is eligible and who is not? What kind of apps are eligible?

  • Anyone who signs up to challenge before deadline
  • Anyone who submits app before deadline
  • All participants who respect the development guidelines of the competition
  • All apps that have been created by the person proposing the app in question to the challenge
  • Submissions should not be more than 1 year old, i.e apps published after January 30th 2013.

How to contact the AAC 2014 Team?

HOA: User Interface & User Experience Design #aac2014

Join a Hangout On Air today at 4pm for a session on User Interface and User Experience Design on Android.

The host of this session is Alex Koller of 22seven.
Sign up for this event to be notified when it's about to start: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/ca9juvjpkgrjvk87mmj6t29o75g
The story of their experience while building the amazing 22seven app.

Google Student Ambassador – Apply Now

If you are a student in a Tertiary Institution and you would like to become a Google's Student Ambassador – then this piece of information is for you:

The Google Student Ambassador Program is an opportunity for students to act as liaisons between Google and their universities. These ambassadors:

  • Learn about innovative Google products and programs.
  • Plan and host fun events on campus.
  • Act as a campus contact for Google teams.
  • Help Google better understand each university’s culture.
Google Ambassadors have the opportunity to enhance their professional development, leadership, and communication skills, and access to a unique network of Google Ambassadors across the world. Plus, there’s swag!

An ideal Student Ambassador is:

  • Enrolled in full-time undergraduate/postgraduate study
  • Available 10 hours per month to spend on Google evangelist work
  • Familiar with Google products including but not limited to Google Docs, Chrome, Search, and YouTube
  • An active Google+ user
  • Involved with student organizations and activities

How Can I Learn to Develop Android Apps ?

    This article was written by Victor Dibia. He is a the lead developer and founder of denvycom – a web and mobile startup company out of lagos. Some of his better known apps include GidigamesPuzzbox Africa  and StyeHouseFiles .He's interested in helping drive quality of apps out of Africa and contributes by providing source code, mentoring and writingYou may kindly reach him at hello[at]denvycom.com .


      How Can I Learn to Develop Android Apps ?

    Screenshot_2014-02-07-02-51-04

This post is inspired by a reply I gave recently on a Google Developer Group forum. A forum member asked for advice and mentorship on how to get started developing great apps for android.  The question was of the following nature :

“I want to delve into the world of programming for android devices with my intermediate skill in java programming. I have taken some steps to download and installed the Android sdk and Eclipes IDE (Using the ADT Bundle). I have tried to run my first android app, but having issues with the Emulator I created. I would like some guidance and mentorship as I go along this journey.  ”

The tips below were my edited responses. As usual, my response is anecdotal and based on my own experience learning to develop apps.

Be tenacious and Passionate

This means that you have made your code vow,  are happy to easily spend 10+ hours a day (assuming you are working on this full time) studying, coding, trying new things, testing, designing, rejoicing at your progress etc. 10-15hrs a day might sound extreme but I’m sure many of the top class programmers here in this forum do it all the time :) . I have seen a few of them do it.

Set Goals and Benchmark  

Goals can be established in different forms. Lines of code written, time spent studying, books/tutorials completed, apps developed etc. My recommended type of goal is to brainstorm on an app idea for implementation and select a similar , successful ,existing app which I call the  benchmark app . When learning a new language, or developing a new app, I search for the best looking app in that genre and start out developing a close clone. And then I make modifications along the way. So I encourage you to have an app idea in mind that you want to build, then go to the play store and select your benchmark app, download and install it, thoroughly inspect it and figure out how the different parts are implemented (widgets etc).
For example, you want to build a slider puzzle game, download and install Gidigames (disclaimer, I built gidigames),
or a Physics Puzzle Game, download and install Cut the Rope.
or a music player app, download and install spinlet .
Its a great and enjoyable learning process!

You. Will. Need to . Patiently. Study.

This means that you will dig deep and find patience to go through those nice tutorials on developer.android.com (or any other developer tutorial platform thats applicable) . If possible, get a  book and study it back to back . Keeping your eyes on the goal above, you will comb every page, test every sample code and celebrate your small successes along the way. Back in 2009 when I set out to build my very first android application, I downloaded the entire developer.android.com as a 70 page pdf which I found online (its much bigger now I suppose) . I remember going through the notepad code line by line and learned so much while implementing it before I even started writing my first app.

Also, If at any moment, you see stuff (java concepts) you don’t understand , its ok to back up and study java for a couple weeks before diving into android .

Stackoverflow is really your friend . Ask Questions .

Along my journey in learning to program (and I still have a long way to go) , I have shamelessly and successfully combed atleast 1000 stackoverflow pages seeking solutions to problems. In my experience, 95% of all problems I encounterered have already been discussed and solved on stackoverflow – and the 5% is my opportunity to contribute a new solution .
As you code, you will get baffled by exceptions/errors, confused by concepts and let down by your own tools (IDE, OS, test device etc) . True story. And as Stackoverflow helped me in such bleak times, I am sure it would be of help to you too if you use it properly. The simplest way to use it is to perform clear specific google searches with your problem statement and add ‘Stackoverlow”.
E.g search for “How to speed up a slow android emulator Stackoverflow” on google . Notice that I didn't search for “Emulator not working fine Stackoverflow” . The results for those two searches can be vastly different . The first one is much more likely to provide real actionable solutions and thats exactly what you want.

On your Next Steps

– I’ll say gobble up the tutorials on developer.android.com (or any other app development platform). By then, you should have at least completed Notepad Exercise 1 , Notepad Exercise 2 , Notepad Exercise 3  anddone the Extra Credit! .Remember step 3 above on patience. Sometimes it would feel like a waste of time, but I assure you its not. And its also ok it this takes a while. Just remain tenacious
– Start work on your goal in step 2 above. Start working on that app idea you have (or create one ) and improve it until it becomes like your model benchmark app.
– If you are interested in game development, Iv written a couple of tutorials with sample code that may be helpful to get started building 2D games using Cocos2D for android.
– Ask questions and keep sharing your progress here.

It WILL take a while, maybe a couple years (it took me years), but it will be interesting and you’ll learn to be proud of your work. And this is a very good thing. Again, feel free to share your progress here and ask questions as you proceed.

This post appeared first on Victor's blog [http://denvycom.com/blog/learn-to-develop-apps/]

Android Challenge – Deadline Extended

Great news – The deadline for submission for the first round for the Africa Android Challenge #aac2014 has been extended from April 10 to April 30th.

This is an opportunity to improve on your apps, add new features, test properly and develop new ones too.
In case you missed the previous messages on the challenge, see the summary below or check out http://androidchallenge.org/overview-en for details
There are two categories:
Category 1:
Education/Not for Profit/Reference/Productivity/Tools Enterprise/Small Business
Category 2:
Games(Arcade/Action)/Social Networking / Lifestyle/Travel/Misc
Judging Criteria:
  • Effective Use of Google Cloud platform (Compulsory)
  • All submissions must have an http://aac2014-[AppName].appspot.com domain
  • Usability on multiple screen sizes
  • User-friendliness (Ease of use)
  • Relevance to Country (i.e. value-add to users)
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Originality of idea
  • Execution of idea (innovative, visionary, etc.)
  • Use of hardware platform or use of Android's features
  • Branding (clever, catchy, sticky or innovative branding strategy)
  • Necessity (solve a unique problem, meet a need)
Prizes
Semi-Finalists get:
    • [Top Android App: Android 4.4 Smartphone / Android 4 Tablet]
    • [Top Android App with Google Cloud backend: Android 4 Smartphone / Android 4.4 Tablet]
  • 1 Winner of each section among semi-finalists gets:
    • [Top Android App: Android 4.4 Smartphone or Android 4 Tablet AND an all-expenses-paid-for trip to Google/Android or Community event in his region]
    • [Top Android App with Google Cloud backend: Android 4 Smartphone or Android 4 Tablet AND an all-expenses-paid-for trip to Google/Android or Community event in his region]
    • Extra rewards: the best video [Android 4 Smartphone or Android 4 Tablet]
The Deadline for submission is April 30th.
If you are looking for resources, here are a few:
May the best apps win!