Now that the semester is coming to a close it is a good time to reflect on what has worked well and what we could improve on future projects.
Technically we learned a lot during this process. First and foremost was proficiency in Java, a language Chris was a little bit familiar in bit Will was new to. Familiarizing the basics of the Android Platform, activities, views, the onCreate method, resources files and layouts were the next. Third was the Android GoogleMaps API which, of the technologies we used, may have been the most intuitive and well-documented issues.
The biggest lesson that we took away from developing this app was everything takes longer than expected. We had some unforeseen technical glitches at various stages of the project. We were also pleasantly surprised by the willingness of JumpOffCampus to provide us with data, it seemed to be a case of Tufts Alums looking out for Tufts students.
What Ming could have done differently
Ming was really helpful and we enjoyed all of the characteristics of his courses that we have seen before… independence, project based learning, and collaboration. I think the one thing that I would have done differently, it would be to have a few labs or homework assignments at the beginning of the semester designed to get us on our feet with Android Development. This would have ensured that we were all competent in some of the basics. The examples he provided were very helpful but it would have been nice to even give us a list of ideas of super basic apps to build to understand certain elements of Android or Java (an Async task, a maps app, a fragment…).
What we could have done differently
The biggest thing that we could have done differently would have been to be more decisive about the features that we wanted to add to our app. We sort of teetered between a few ideas in the first couple months, starting with wanting to build a receipt splitting app but we found out that we were a little late to that market (5 Apps that Split the Check for you).
A Proposed Change to the Course
As mentioned we thought that a little bit of hands-on development experience before starting with our big project could have been beneficial. This also would have informed our decision of what app we wanted to build (or maybe give us inspiration). That being said, we understand the importance of starting the project early because of how long mobile development takes.
Overall we had a really good experience working together and working in this class. Thanks Ming!