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Sat, 11 Jun 2016

Modern Android programming

What is modern Android programming exactly? It's hard to tell. It's hard to tell what to do. You go to developer.android.com and click develop and click Training right under that - but the training is out of date. It's been that way for the past five years, from the tutorial of five years ago, up to the tutorial there today.

So you go to developer.android.com, click Develop, then Training. There is a Getting Started section, a Building Your First App section, a Supporting Different Devices section, and a Managing the Activity Lifecycle section. Then there is a Building a Dynamic UI with Fragments section. That has a subsection called Communicating with Other Fragments, with a sub-section called Define an Interface. It has example code suggesting:

public class HeadlinesFragment extends ListFragment { /* ... removed code for brevity ... */ @Override public void onAttach(Activity activity) { super.onAttach(activity); /* ... removed code for brevity ... */ } }

So we put that in Android Studio and...a flag comes up. It is deprecated! We look at the reference API and see it was deprecated in API level 23.

So now what the hell do we do? Five sections into the training for beginners, and it's telling us not to do what the training tutorial said to do. Where do we go from here?

I stumbled on this, because I am trying to write a simple app with three tabs on top. However, how to go about getting this working is a completely convoluted mess. The training manual is deprecated (like this section), the sample code is deprecated, like many things in Android, it is near impossible to figure out how the modern Android programmer, one who doesn't want to use deprecated methods, should proceed. It is doable, but the Android core team doesn't seem very shy about breaking the API, or at least deprecating it. Often we're told to do something, such as setting up tabs, via a certain method. So we go to do it the way we were told, but learn that method was deprecated, another method is suggested. So we go to use that new method but find out that now THAT method is deprecated as well - and if we're told where to proceed from that point we're lucky.

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