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Introducing Android Instant Apps

#android #news

Last year, Google announced Android Instant Apps at its annual developer meeting. Limited access was only given to a few developers who signed up for an early preview. Instead of downloading and installing an app from the Play Store, Instant Apps allows developers to make their apps launch when a user clicks on a web link from their mobile browser.

This morning I received an email from Google announcing they will start testing Instant Apps for the first time. They also encourage developers to have their apps ready to take advantage of the new feature.

I thought I should make a post to give a quick rundown of the basic steps to follow to help you make sure your app is ready for Instant Apps.

Reduce App's APK size

To improve user experience and to make sure Instant Apps run smoothly for your user, unload some of the unnecessary bulk from your app. Try removing unnecessary permissions, unused components and unneeded third-party dependencies, and libraries.

Support URL-based navigation

Make sure all your website URL navigation implement Digital Asset Links.

Refactor your app, if necessary

Each module of your app needs to be reachable through a URL address. Therefore, each module needs to run independently in response to URL navigation. This gives a fast and responsive experience within a flow and additional modules are downloaded only when the user switches flows.

While you refactor your code, keep in mind some functionality available in installed apps won’t be available in instant apps.

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Seed Stars World Gaborone 2016, Thoughts and Debrief

#Sci-Tech

Me and my partner were luckly to have been selected for the hotly contested competiton with 9 other finalists, selected out of the best startups in Botswana.

Seedstars is a Swedish group which runs global startup competitions across the world spanning more than 65 emerging and developing markets. The annual Gaborone pitch event was organized in collaboration with Stabic Bank, Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) and the support of partners including Microsoft.

The competition was hotly contested with 25 finalists, selected out of 152 e-agriculture startups from across Africa and the Caribbean. Before the announcement of winners, finalists benefited from a training bootcamp on 22nd November at iHub Nairobi, focused on issues related to offering successful business services in e-agriculture; they were also coached on how to pitch effectively. On 23rd November, they presented their services publicly before judges and an audience composed of agriculture and ICT experts and institutions including venture capitals. The panel of judges consisted of; McKenzie Slaughter from Prohaus VC (USA), Niraj Varia from Novastar Ventures (East Africa), Herve Pillaud (Agreenstartup and Chambre d’agriculture de Vendée, France); Jermaine Henry (Devlabs, venture capital firm, Americas), Ralph von Kaufmann (Hakika Ltd, UK), Peris Bosire (FarmDrive, start up, Kenya).

At the end of it all, four startups were selected as official winners: three in the early stage category and one in the advanced stage category.

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The State of Tech Blogging in Botswana and Africa

#Sci-Tech

An influx of online readers in Africa each year are coming into the fold and Google has a neat tool to visualize this data. As a fan of blogging and a reader who prefers the gaming/tech/science sections, I've been keeping an eye on how many science publications occur in Botswana compared to other nations.

Last year

Vs this year

An interesting comparison on how RSA and Nigeria have shown a remarkable increase in the number of Science and Technology publications from a year ago (more than 2-fold). This comes ahead of Botswana hosting the 2016 edition of Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). Its no coincidence that the two countries with the highest publications are also the two largest developing countries in Africa. This could be the smoking gun which should alarm other African leaders to focus more in science and technology or risk being left behind in the tech revolution.

Source

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Learning Object-oriented Programming and Java

#Engineering

I'm not a big fan of Java, I find it too verbose. However, it did give me a break-through in learning some core Object-oriented principles when I was in college.

It is the most taught and practiced programming language in schools and the workplace. The second is Python followed by JavaScript (my bae).

If you have a firm understanding of Object-oriented Programming and after a few years you feel comfortable with its concepts, learning other OOP languages should be a piece of cake. For instance, I have never worked with Apple's Objective-C but the learning curve wasn't too steep thanks to my previous experience with OOP.

So what is an object? The definition is the same in every OOP language. An object simply holds the information of your app and it can receive messages from other objects. The only difference is how each language has chosen to implement the syntax of working with objects

Learning OOP is good entry point towards a good career as a developer. Its not the only programming paradigm around. Another popular way of coding is Functional programming which I use on JavaScript apps.

So if you want to be an Android developer, the best way to start is by taking lessons on OPP and Java. The Android Training website assumes you already have some basic to intermediate knowledge in OOP and the Java API.

I don't have a troll-cave of Java resources but I would say old sensei-google is your most valued player. There is also a cool recent app called Javvy. Enjoy!

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