“I would like to make development of rich application experiences easier for developers”
We recently caught up with Chet Haase, Lead, Android UI Toolkit , Google in an exclusive interview ahead of his keynote @ Apps World North America.
Chet will be taking to the Droid World stage on Tuesday 12 May at 12:15pm, presenting his keynote on “The State of Android App Development”
Book your free pass here to attend Apps World North America
Of all the new features and updates on Android 5.1, what have been the biggest surprises and successes, in terms of actual customer response and usage?
Though it launched with our L release (5.0), Material Design has had a huge impact, for both the core platform and apps, and for designers and app developers. We’re seeing a very positive response to it. It’s great to have a thorough, consistent design for the platform, along with the richer capabilities that it requires, such as enhanced animations and real time shadows.
How would you define the current stage of Android’s development, and where do you see it going next?
Android is more interesting and capable than ever before, with all kinds of new features in every release. But all of that new functionality means we need to work even harder to make sure that the platform continues to be efficient and robust. Mobile devices continue to operate with a spectrum of performance capabilities and power, so we need the platform to continue to play well across the ecosystem.
And how integral do you think Nexus is to this development? Are they (Nexus/Android) parallel roads for Google, or do you see their future as increasingly intertwined?
I think the Nexus devices are important Android in two respects. First, they act as a reference for hardware, and what is possible at any point in time. But also, they are an important set of devices that we use to show how the operating system can behave on a device, and highlight the features and functionality we build for the platform. For example, it’s useful for us to prove out new and different form factors and hardware features with Nexus devices to make sure that Android will work well on devices that other manufacturers may introduce.
In terms of developers, what would you like to see Android do better in the future, and how are you working to improve things for them?
I would like to make development of rich application experiences easier for developers. One of my ambitions with the animation APIs that I’ve worked on is not just to see more animations in applications, but to make it easier for developers to create those animations. For example, the transition API isn’t so much about creating powerful animations that weren’t already possible, but instead it’s about making animation development simpler and more automatic. If we can make features like this easier to add to applications, then programmers can more easily create rich and intuitive application UIs without taking development time away from the core application logic that needs to work well.
When you look at apps culture right now, what excites you most about it?
I see lots of diversity and so many great ideas. In Google Play and app stores, the options seem limitless. The barrier to entry for writing and publishing applications has lowered dramatically with the mobile marketplace, which has encouraged a huge number of developers to write all kinds of applications. In the old desktop-only software world, it was very difficult to break into market because you had to get your app into sales channels with large distributors, which took time and money that independent developers just didn’t have. Now you can go from a clever idea you had in your dorm room to a published app in a matter of weeks. All of this leads to more innovation and more diverse applications for users. As a user, I’m all in favor of that.
Why are you attending Apps World North America, and why are these events so important to the culture?
I’ve always enjoyed participating in tech conferences. For one thing, it’s a chance to step away from the daily crises at work and focus on learning new and interesting technologies that help broaden us all as software developers. Also, it’s a great opportunity to meet other developers working on cool things. We’re all in this field because of the exciting things that we can do with software; let’s learn from each other and see what else is possible.