Android Bootcamp Review

From: Lisa Ridley 
------------------------------------------------------
OK, now that I've had a bit of a chance to rest and recover from the =
week, here's the review I promised some folks on the mailing list of the =
Android Bootcamp I attended in Atlanta.

Last week, I attended Android Bootcamp, put on by the The Big Nerd =
Ranch:  http://www.bignerdranch.com/classes/android

The session began on Monday,  August 22nd and lasted through Friday =
August 26th.  The fee for the course was not cheap ($3,500), but =
included room, board and meals for Sunday night (dinner) through Friday =
(breakfast and lunch), and transportation to/from the Atlanta airport.  =
I did not fly in, but drove down.

Our sessions begin at 9:00 am, and lasted until dinner at 6:30pm.  We =
took a 45 break for lunch, and about an hour break at 4:00 in the =
afternoon.  If we didn't cover sufficient material during the day, we =
would get back together after dinner and work for a couple more hours, =
and one night we stayed downstairs until 10:30pm.

It was a very comprehensive session, but the pace was pretty grueling, =
and by mid-day Thursday my brain was mush.

Knowledge of OO programming is essential, and the more proficient you =
are at Java, the more you'll get out of the sessions.  I'm a novice at =
Java, and some of the syntax and Java-specific stuff wasn't clicking =
until about mid-day Wednesday.

The instructors were great. =20

The amount of material covered was overwhelming.  Also, it would have =
been helpful if they had told us a few things prior to the class:

1.  They used the Eclipse IDE with the Android ADT tools installed, and =
as a result glossed over some things (like compiling packages from the =
command line) that would have been helpful.
2.  One of the exercises required a Flickr API key -- would have been =
great to have known that and acquired it ahead of time
3.  The last three exercises required you to obtain a Google Maps API =
key tied to your Android Developer certificate -- I had not set up my =
certificate, so I didn't actually get to complete the last three =
exercises; by the time I got my certificate set up and requested my =
Google API key, we had covered that material.

The venue left something to be desired.

The session was held at Banning Mills:  =
http://www.historicbanningmills.com/

The food was good, but the meals were a bit heavy.

The place is a bit run down.  If you don't mind sleeping with critters =
in your cabin, the place has some really neat attractions.  If it hadn't =
been so damn hot I would have done the canopy zipline tour, and spent =
some time hiking in the woods to see some of the historic settlement =
ruins in the area.

I had a mouse in my cabin, a couple of centipedes, and several =
cockroaches that would put any palmetto bug to shame.  All of the =
cockroaches were dead when I happened upon them -- most of them were =
missing their heads, courtesy of the brown scorpions in my cabin, of =
which I was blissfully unaware until Wednesday morning at 2:00am when I =
padded to the bathroom, barefoot and encountered one on the bathroom =
floor, blocking my way.  After that I kept my flip flops on when I was =
in the cabin.  The bed was lumpy (although I was so tired each evening =
at bedtime that I didn't notice it until I was up all night Wednesday =
night after I happened on the scorpion in my bathroom).  Oh, and it took =
me complaining for two days before I could get someone out to my cabin =
to check the water heater -- turned out the pilot light was out, but I =
had no hot water from Sunday evening until Tuesday evening.

Cell service was almost non-existent.

With the exception of one jerk in the class who was just a general =
a--hole, everyone in the class was really friendly.  There was a wide =
variety of experience levels in the class - some Java programmers, some =
iOS programmers, some network administrators who were interested in =
picking up mobile programming.

Would I take another class from Big Nerd Ranch?  Absolutely.

Would I take one held at Banning Mills again?  I don't think so.

Big Nerd Ranch holds classes in Boston as well, and some overseas =
venues.  They have acquired some acreage outside of Atlanta to build =
their own campus, but due to the downturn in the economy and the credit =
crunch they have been unable to start construction b/c of lack of =
financing.

The materials provided consisted of the slides presented, solutions to =
the exercises worked in class, and detailed documentation for each =
agenda item covered in the form of a textbook; in fact, the material =
provided will eventually make it into their upcoming Android Programming =
book.

Prior to taking this class, I was trying to struggle my way through =
Beginning Android 3 by Mark Murphy (Apress Publishers); I picked it back =
up today, and I'm getting so much more out of the book.

Hope this was helpful.  Let me know if you have any questions!




=============================================================== From: Ryan Macy ------------------------------------------------------ Very comprehensive -- thank you!

=============================================================== From: GodsMoon ------------------------------------------------------ I'm considering starting a Mobile Monday chapter in Chattanooga. We'd meet once a month and cover stuff like this, but on all mobile platforms. Would you all be interested? week, Android If and and command great exercises; we time cockroaches dead courtesy until was all Oh, my but I a--hole, up the item up

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ ouch, and that doesn't include your travel expenses Would be great if we had a local venue (I almost said the H word) that could provide classes like this, at a fraction of the cost. Heck, we could probably sustain the "H" just from the revenue from the class fees.