The App Idea
I have not built an Android App in years, so one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to build at least one Android App and get it in the Google Play Market by the end of the year. To that end, I’ve started working on an application (which will be mobile and web) that helps rowing teams (a niche I am somewhat familiar with) manage themselves better. Rowing is a team sport and individuals on the team are highly reliant on one another. This application will help rowing coaches and rowers alike communicate better and practice more efficiently.
The application name is ‘Herding Rowing Cats‘. The software is distributed under the terms of the GNU Public License v3 and is being developed in the open at Github. It’s a learning experience for me and the journey’s the thing. Hopefully, it will all turn into something beautiful and usable, improve people’s lives, and make rowers and coaches happy.
The Development Environment
My only computer at the moment is a $250 Acer Chrome Book that I installed chrUbuntu ( 64 bit v. 14.04) on. This laptop has 4GB of RAM, a 270GB hard disk, and an Intel® Celeron(R) CPU 847 @ 1.10GHz × 2. It’s reasonably fast for my purposes and for the price. I told myself I would upgrade to a more capable machine once I figured out a way to start making money on the side with my tech skillz.
I use Android Studio v1.0.2 to do the main Android Application development. I’ve only been using this IDE for about a month now, but so far I really like it. It integrates pretty easily with my github account and makes code commits fairly straight forward (albeit with lots of dialog pop-ups, which get annoying). All in all, though, it’s a great IDE especially considering the price.
I am using a Virgin Atlantic Kyocera Event Android Phone I got free at Wally World (Walmart) during a Black Friday Sale a couple of years ago. Using a real device for local testing, I find, is faster than using an emulator. I don’t think this will be sufficient for real-world testing, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there…Android Application testing scares me, actually, given the large assortment of screen sizes, device types, carriers, etc…
So my total development cost so far, including laptop, phone, hosting and domain name purchase are all probably under $500 at this point (hosting and domain(s) for a year are around ~$160).
Server Side Development
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
I installed a white board in the bedroom in my apartment. I actually drew swim lanes on the board to indicate the backlog, in-progress and complete swim lanes so I could track my user stories. I have written a bunch of user stories on stickies, estimated the stories (with Story Points, not Hours), and stuck them in the backlog swim lane. I am doing two week sprints, and gave my girlfriend a demo of the Android App running on the phone at the end of the first sprint. It was fun and she was impressed. I got a kiss just before I started the second Sprint. Can’t wait to complete all of the story development now, but I digress…
I’m tracking the number of hours I spend on this project just to get a rough idea for how to estimate similar projects moving forward. I will share the hours on this blog as I progress.