Hello World!

A bit of background is probably in order, before I launch into my most recent adventure. Despite being a language-oriented person, I somehow stumbled into a career in web application development. No one was more surprised by this than I was, but the year was 2000. Even more to my surprise, I turned out to be a pretty good developer. My favorite part is database development (SQL/datastructures), but I’m also strong through the middle tier and display layer in a dissed programming language called Coldfusion. Javascript and I have an uneasy truce much relieved by the introduction of packages like jQuery and PrototypeJS. I spent 10 years as a full time developer.

But I always thought to myself, “I have a windy tongue! I am a people person! I therefore cannot really be a coder.” And so I got a job that used all my people skillz and none of my technology skillz. I thought with a pang at how hard I’d worked, but this seemed the way to go.

Now I’m leaving that job, and going to one where I will be much, much closer to the technology. My new boss already sent me the APIs, and I’m extremely and muchly excited to get back to technology – much to my surprise! I mean, who knew I really like code and technology and programming?

In the lull between jobs, in addition to reading novels, taking naps, and cleaning the attic… I thought I would crack open the ol’ development tools and remind myself of the problems and delights of code, if only for a few days.

So our heroine began here: http://developer.android.com/resources/tutorials/hello-world.html

Here’s a secret: the very hardest part of starting to do development (if you are not already a developer) is getting your development environment up and running. I mean, I am a programmer and the computer I’m working on used to be my dev environment. But I needed a new version of Eclipse (free & not so hard), a JDK (very very hard – I have a 32 bit Windows computer and you have to KNOW which JDK will work for a 32 bit computer and everyone who writes stuff for programming assumes that you have this perfectly obvious to them piece of knowledge and Google was failing me and I even ordered a new computer because then I could get 64 bit Windows and plus I need a new computer anyway but its not here yet and my time is running out and my husband who is of the programming cognoscenti finally helped me identify a sufficiently up to date version of the JDK I could install – but it still took several days) and the Android SDK. And you have to pray that you configured them all correctly so they can talk.

What is the right JDK if I have 32 bit Windows?
The right JDK for 32 bit Windows users is Windows x86.
Windows x86 76.81 MB jdk-6u29-windows-i586.exe
Windows 32 bit JDK for JDK 6.0 is Windows x86

(I mean, isn’t it perfectly obvious that you need x86 if you have 32 bit Windows? No? Yeah, not for me either.)

Once you’ve done all that, three lines of code take a base application and turn it into “Hello World.” With no further ado, I give you:

Hello World!
Hello World!

Yay! I have an app in mind (A Christmas list manager, to help you figure out who you’re buying for, what your budget is and how you’re doing vs. budget. Also to help you so you have equal number of presents per child and do not find a bag of presents in your closet a month later… WHICH I JUST DID.) I do not believe this app will take the app world by storm, but at least it’s a quasi useful something to work on with a very simple first stage and a lot of opportunity for me to muck around. Actually, in all truth, I do not believe I will ever finish this app but I MIGHT! And if I did, I could actually use it.

Now all I have to do is figure out what mobile app developers use instead of databases. I’ve spent my entire professional life clinging tightly to databases, but I think it’s different out here in the wild wild west. I need to figure out a whole new paradigm for display – I’m REALLY hoping it’s easier to make an average looking app than it is an average looking website. I am not so good at making pretty stuff online. Also, DROID app development is based on JAVA, and I’m not really a JAVA programmer. I mean, some of my best friends are JAVA and all. Coldfusion is written in JAVA and some of the advanced development is more or less JAVA… and I took a class on JAVA 2 in college which introduced stuff like inheritance… but yeah. I’m not a JAVA developer.

But hey. I got my development environment working after five days of intermittent effort, so how hard can the rest be?

Now that the half of you who are my developer buddies are rolling your eyes at my naivete and the other half of you who read for cute kid anecdotes are completely lost, I will leave you there. Because the next stage is to use XML to handle my layout instead of doing it directly in the JAVA. Ooooooohhhhh…..

Yours in supreme geeky bliss,


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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

One thought on “Hello World!”

  1. I gave it all up when I realized my arcane knowledge of basic was no longer applicable. All those DOS commands! I went from the local guru that actually knew how the ‘debil machine’ worked to a guy that enjoys point n’ click, plug n’ play,(sounds kinda Fischer-Price) and all the joys without the hassle. I wish you well. I no longer wake up in a cold sweat imagining I forgot the difference between fdisk and chkdsk, and I love being part of the horde! Keep on progarmming. I just got rid of my last floppy disk, as well…had to explain it to my kids.


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