Android is an open-source project, which has a bunch of cultural and economic consequences. I’m going to ignore those today, and describe how I use the source code to get work done.
Getting the Source · Before you can do anything with the source code, you have to go get it. This could be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with what a “case-sensitive filesystem” is, or how to use the git distributed version control system.
I’d advise you, if you’re doing anything substantial with Android, to go grab that source code. It takes less than 10G of disk space, and if you haven’t done this kind of thing before, you might find that it feels empowering.
Learning By Example · The Android SDK documentation is, by the standards of commercial APIs, pretty good. By the standards of open-source projects, it’s excellent. But it’s not complete. It’s very hard to combine reference rigor (describing exactly what some method does, with tutorial hand-holding (teaching why and how you’d go about using that method).
In a lot of cases, no documentation can substitute for the experience of looking at how someone who knows what they’re doing has used the piece of the framework that’s puzzling you. That’s what the Android source is good for.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
no documentation can substitute for the experience of looking at how someone who knows what they’re doing has used the piece of the framework that’s puzzling you