The CommonsBlog


New Subscriber Benefit: Appinars!

Starting with Version 7.2 of The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development, the APK edition of the book contains a new overflow menu option, for what’s known as Community Theater. This gives you access to a small-but-growing library of “appinars”: app-based training modules.

An appinar blends:

  • Video segments
  • Slides with voiceovers
  • Code reviews — including your ability to browse the code on the device
  • Other media, such as screenshots

The net effect is a bit like a conference or Meetup presentation in your pocket. Or, if you install the app on a tablet, it is a presentation in your backpack or purse or briefcase or very large pocket or something.

Appinars run 30-60 minutes apiece, though you can leave and come back later if you do not have that kind of time to spend in one session. In this first official release, there are a total of 11 appinars, and more will be added in each new book update. I hope to have ~50 by the end of 2016.

Compared with the training materials from Google, my approach has its pros and cons. The big benefit is bandwidth: my appinars are about 10% of the size of an equivalent full video, as most of what you are seeing is not in the form of a video, but simply audio with on-device presentation slides in Web format. On the other hand, the production quality is not as slick as what Google offers — for example, I do not plan on traveling to Los Angeles and having a professional makeup artist turn me into a zombie.

I would like to thank the beta testers who tried out Community Theater over the past month or so. Much of their feedback has been incorporated into what you see here, though there is still room for improvement. If you encounter reproducible bugs, the Book Bug Bounty program covers the APK — details are in the book preface.

More information about using Community Theater and watching the appinars can be found in the last chapter of the book (Appendix C in Version 7.2).

My hope is that offering these appinars, in conjunction with the book and other Warescription benefits, will be useful to subscribers. Your feedback is welcome.


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