AnDevCon Boston 2014 Intel Keynote: Going Native

If you were lucky enough to attend AnDevCon Boston 2014, hopefully you got a chance to listen to Jeff McVeigh’s keynote titled “Going Native – Delivering Exceptional User Experiences with Cross-Platform Native Development Tools”.  The entire keynote can be viewed below:

Here is a brief synopsis of the keynote:

“Native Android apps – those based, at least partially, on the NDK – occupy more than 60% of the current Top 1000 list. The reason for this growth is simple: developers need to make their apps stand out by delivering exceptional experiences with silky-smooth responsiveness, real-time interaction for rich 3D games and immersive video, and high-throughput for batch jobs like automated image search. These performance-oriented experiences are best delivered through highly optimized C/C++ code that taps into the unique capabilities of the underlying hardware. However, existing tools to support these developer needs on Android are at best rudimentary, leading to long development cycles, lackluster apps, and general frustration for the developer and end user. In his keynote, Jeff will describe Intel’s efforts to raise the bar for native development with consistent compilers, debuggers, analyzers and libraries that allow for efficient code reuse and app tuning to bring new experiences to market faster. Join in to learn about the Intel Integrated Native Developer Experience (INDE), a complete tool suite for cross-OS native app development on both x86 and ARM architectures. Lean in. Stand out. Go Native.” – AnDevCon Boston 2014

Mountain race teaches some tough lessons

Mr. McVeigh started his keynote with an intriguing story of a very challenging race on Mt. Hood. While the experience was pretty humbling, he did come away with a few lessons that he applied to Android* development, namely:

  • don't underestimate the competition
  • challenge yourself quickly to gain experience
  • optimize for the critical bottlenecks
  • choose equipment and tools wisely

How to set your app apart?

Mr. McVeigh went to state that when Dalvik* came out it was seen as the solution for many issues in Android development. It still is, but NDK development is getting the bulk of developer time. There are lots of apps in the app store, how do you set yours apart? The number of apps is not going to slow down. How do you rise above the noise? Part of it is take advantage of what the platform can do for you, specifically NDK.

It's a multi-OS device world; Android has had an incredible rise in installations, and the same is happening to a certain extent with Mac and Windows. Developers can’t afford to just focus on Android – they have to look across operating systems and create apps that will span those experiences. Multi-platform, multi-OS is the critical element that will help your app stand apart.

Multi-platform app development critical for successful developers

For the most part, consumers aren’t really interested in platforms, hardware, specs, or other details of the computing framework. What they want to know is how they can use apps to accomplish a task, on whatever form factor they might pick up. An app that offers simple usability, cross-platform support, and transparent use of information will be the one that consumers will keep around.  For developers, the resources dedicated to developing a single product for a single platform can be substantial, which makes for fewer resources dedicated to developing multiple apps across multiple platforms.

The three main subjects that Mr. McVeigh emphasized here were:

  • Target multi-platform to increase awareness and reach
  • Develop scalable apps to exploit device capabilities
  • Utilize cross-platform tools for productivity and differentiation, reduce costs and increase speed development

Intel offers several tools to make these goals more attainable, among them the Intel XDK and the Intel INDE.  

Intel® XDK

The Intel Android* XDK is a cross-platform solution enables developers to write web and hybrid apps once, and deploy across many app stores and form factor devices. Mr.McVeigh went over some of the built-in developer tools in his keynote, which include:

  • Quick start theme templates, samples, and demos to speed app design
  • App Designer UI builder, a drag & drop round-trip capable tool
    • Supports jQuery* Mobile, App Framework*, Twitter Bootstrap*, Topcoat*
  • Brackets* editor with auto-completion and syntax-highlighting
  • Apache Cordova* 3.x API support for Android and Windows 8 Store
  • Integrated GIT source code repository support with the editor
  • Use your favorite JS or CSS library
  • Web RTC, Vimeo* YouTube* data stream widget support, plus Twitter* feeds within Intel XDK

For much more detailed information and a free download, visit the official Intel XDK page.

Intel INDE

Intel®INDE is a native cross-platform productivity suite supporting Intel® Architecture and ARM*. It is a beta release of a powerful cross-platform productivity suite to quickly & easily create applications targeting Android* and Windows* devices with native performance, outstanding battery-life, and exposure to unique platform capabilities. Intel® INDE integrates into popular IDEs and provides a complete and consistent set of C++/Java* tools, libraries & samples for environment setup, code creation, compilation, debugging and analysis for apps on Intel® architecture-based devices, and select capabilities on ARM*-based Android* devices.

Features of the Intel INDE include:

  • Cross-Platform meets Performance: C++/Java* native tools & samples for Android* on ARM* and Intel® Architecture, & Microsoft Windows*.
  • Develop Quickly: integration of tools into popular IDEs: Microsoft Visual Studio*, Eclipse* & Android Studio*
  • Future Proof: automatic updates to the latest tools & technology

For much more detailed information, check out the official Intel INDE page.

How to push the Android* envelope?

Mr. McVeigh ended his keynote stating that lots of great new Android devices continue to be pushed out, and that Intel has a focus on understanding developers’ needs and wants to help them be successful.  Were you at Boston AnDevCon? Share your thoughts on this keynote or other Android* events you especially enjoyed in the comments below.