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Android App Developer: The OS is 'Hideous'

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 24 comments

Seems as though programmer Joe Hewitt would rather work on a "hideous" platform than within Apple's controlled environment.

Software programmer Joe Hewitt, known for his work on the Firefox web browser and creating the Facebook app for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, recently slammed the Android platform, calling it "hideous." He also added that the OS reminded him of Windows--a developer-friendly platform but "sloppily designed."

"Android tools are horrendous, OS is hideous, but the absence of big brother telling me what to do gives it a slight edge," he said on Twitter.

The "big brother" aspect refers to Apple and its controlled environment with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Hewitt ceased development on the Facebook app back in November 2009, citing Apple's strict policies for his reason in abandoning the platform.

"I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process," he said last year. "I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer."

Although he seemingly applauds Google's openness with the Android platform, he apparently doesn't like anything else about it. "Once a day or so it hits me that I am writing Java (which is the Android programming language), and I cry a little," he has stated on Twitter. "The more I work with Android the more it reminds me of Windows...as in, it's really flexible, agnostic, and developer-friendly, but also really sloppily designed."

Hewitt suggested that iPhone users should stick with their phones and not move to the Droid X. He also said that Google still hasn't provided a solution for the Android fragmentation problem. "Android fragmentation will hopefully stabilize within 2 years, and if not, at least people upgrade phones much more often than computers," he said.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    bsbsbsbs , August 26, 2010 11:13 PM
    Less time crying, more time creating good apps Joe.

    You sound like me when I CBF working.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    bsbsbsbs , August 26, 2010 11:13 PM
    Less time crying, more time creating good apps Joe.

    You sound like me when I CBF working.
  • 0 Hide
    Assmar , August 26, 2010 11:15 PM
    He spelled it incorrectly as well?
  • 1 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 26, 2010 11:18 PM
    Yes but will it blend..
    http://www.willitblend.com/videos.aspx?type=unsafe&video=iphone4

    If somone ask's if it plays Crysis I will pull a "Jay and Silent Bob strike back" on your ass!
  • 1 Hide
    nevertell , August 26, 2010 11:23 PM
    Wait, does android SDK is based on java ? Can I like compile stuff with gcc/g++ and run that ?
  • 2 Hide
    kyeana , August 26, 2010 11:27 PM
    nevertellWait, does android SDK is based on java ? Can I like compile stuff with gcc/g++ and run that ?


    To my understanding, it is natively java (with an android specific api), but i have heard rumor that it does support compiling and running C(++). Don't hold me to that though.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2010 11:33 PM
    GNU/Linux is a huge mess itself. You have thousands of different minds with different ideas (most of them being hobbyists) all developing/contributing to an OS. The advantage M$, Apple and Berkeley all have over Linux/Linus is that they all have a group of engineers that accomplish things with a unified goal by goal basis.

    This makes GNU/Linus very messy, not necessarily worse, just messy.
  • 1 Hide
    IM0001 , August 26, 2010 11:50 PM
    Any idea if he is going to give WP7 a try? Kinda a middle ground but I believe Microsoft did a good job of making things powerful yet tidy.
  • 5 Hide
    Shadow703793 , August 26, 2010 11:58 PM
    I some what agree with him (and yes, I have done/working on a few apps for personal use for my self). One of the problems is that Android deviates quite a lot from standard Java ME and Java SE. The lack good examples and documentation in the official Android API don't help either.

    kyeanaTo my understanding, it is natively java (with an android specific api), but i have heard rumor that it does support compiling and running C(++). Don't hold me to that though.

    What you are talking about is probably the Android NDK which can create native ARM executables. The NDK does use of SOME C++ libraries,headers,etc.
    See: http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/index.html
  • 1 Hide
    AMDnoob , August 27, 2010 12:05 AM
    I agree with him. I'm all for Android for the sole purpose of beating Apple's iOS to the ground and pissing all over it. But the GUI is FUUUUGLY. I never realized how unintuitive and sloppy and gets in some areas. HTC's Sense UI is a step in the right direction, much prettier, easier on the eyes and consistent for the most part. The stock camera app however is atrocious, the disgusting black liner around the viewing window is just so ugly. And the music app is hardly anything to be proud of. Andriod's UI needs an overhaul. Want to see a beautiful GUI, WebOS, that's where the shits at.
  • 3 Hide
    matt87_50 , August 27, 2010 12:20 AM
    you can use c++, using the NDK, but as he says, the tools are a horrible pain in the arse, and the c++ implementation doesn't even have the STL libraries!

    things like file access, you have to call out to java routines because you can't do that from within c++.

    the guy is right. JAVA can go **** it's self, especially on these performance/efficiency critical devices. the whole thing is just a mess, yet still preferable to iPhone...
  • -1 Hide
    matt87_50 , August 27, 2010 12:23 AM
    bsbsbsbsLess time crying, more time creating good apps Joe. You sound like me when I CBF working.



    he complains, they fix it, the next 10,000 awesome android apps are created twice as fast because its a nice platform.

    shit dev platforms mean apps take longer to make. simple as that.

    for instance: porting iphone to another c++ mobile platform, including Android once you've figured out the quirks, can take a matter of days. porting to windows phone 7 because they force you to use c#, takes literally months. its just stupid.
  • -2 Hide
    bebangs , August 27, 2010 1:00 AM
    >> reminds me of Windows...as in, it's really flexible, agnostic, and developer-friendly, but also really sloppily designed."

    antonyms...
    Apple , as in:
    it's really inflexible
    Not Agnostic - defines that that god is knowable. and that is SJobs.
    Not friendly to developers - use mac only. no mac - no developers.
    Really beautifully designed - Apple standards only, no flash or other 3rd party tools allowed.

    Who's horrible and hideous now?
  • 2 Hide
    palladin9479 , August 27, 2010 1:01 AM
    Android use's a customized version of Java VM for running its apps. It takes a hit on performance but the apps are device agnostic supposedly because the JVM does all the hardware interaction. Its usually a good idea to do this for the majority of apps, their not usually resource heavy. Now if your making an app that requires quite a bit of resources you might want to use the NDK which is kinda sorta C++, but that thing is horrendous and lacking many library's and functions that the dev community is used to. Google already said they've been trying to clean up the NDK and add more functionality to it. The show stopper there is the different phone manufactures tend to use different hardware so getting a unified driver / library base is a PITA.
  • 1 Hide
    rhangman , August 27, 2010 1:53 AM
    Maybe he should switch to Samsung's Bada OS? Android isn't the only Apple competitor.
  • -7 Hide
    BadCommand , August 27, 2010 2:15 AM
    Hey Joe- You sound like a big enough blowhard whiner that you should be doing ibone apps.

    Now shut up and get to work biatch!
  • 3 Hide
    Stryter , August 27, 2010 2:19 AM
    I have to agree with him to an extent on this one. I installed the android sdk a couple months ago and took a stab at writing a basic app. I didn't care for it at all. I thought maybe it was just my dislike for java programming, but now that I think about it... it was just the way the sdk was set up, the documentation, the organization of the libraries. It was not that easy to work with and it did feel sloppy at times.

    Compared to C# and the XNA framework (which is what I have been doing most of my programming in lately), XNA is leaps and bounds over the android sdk. Since WP7 will be utlizing XNA for app development, I'd have to say that developers may find it much easier working with WP7 than either android or apple.
  • 1 Hide
    Abrahm , August 27, 2010 2:35 AM
    "Android tools are horrendous, OS is hideous"

    What? No doubt the OS is a work in progress, and it definitely has it's quirks, but is he seriously implying that X Code is better than Eclipse for development??? I've worked with both, and X Code is a nightmare. Terrible.

    Developing for Android is a lot, lot easier than for the iOS.
  • 0 Hide
    matt87_50 , August 27, 2010 3:31 AM
    StryterCompared to C# and the XNA framework, XNA is leaps and bounds over the android sdk. Since WP7 will be utlizing XNA for app development, I'd have to say that developers may find it much easier working with WP7 than either android or apple.


    this is very true, if you are starting from scratch, but not if you are porting. though, for performance critical things (like games) it remains to be seen if you can really get the level of performance that you can with native code. there are some very worrying things in the documentation about the lack of optimization. but as a dev platform, as you would expect from MS, WP7 is the nicest.

    rhangmanMaybe he should switch to Samsung's Bada OS? Android isn't the only Apple competitor.


    +1 on this. Bada is simple, just c/c++, no horrible java or objective C getting in the way. nice integrated eclipse IDE and simulator, definitely a go for your c++ coding needs. also, webOS looks promising on this front too. it should say something that Angry birds has been ported to WebOS before being ported to android.
  • 0 Hide
    martel80 , August 27, 2010 7:42 AM
    Why does Android even need to use Java when all the devices use ARM anyway? Couldn't they just create a native code marketplace where each app would be a container with multiple binaries for each CPU platform? They could easily handle this in build tools (make all the necessary binaries on release build and package them).
    It already works this way for Linux repositories (x86/x64/PPC/etc. branches).
  • 1 Hide
    nevertell , August 27, 2010 11:23 AM
    The only thing that is a mess in linux is sound. With all the pulseaudio/alsa BS, I can't have sound if I want to wine games. BUT, for example, the big stuff like X.org and many kernel segments are managed by professionals, like some apple dude is managing X.org at the moment, whilst nokia/intel are developing new modules for it. It is not just some god damn nerds in a basement that are dev'ing linux, it's all of the major companies that are using it AND the enthusiasts, mainly because the big companies benefit from it. And it sort of is like a big (but slow) grow cycle, companies dev it further, more "civic" people use it, percentage of them start to dev it further, companies see more potential in it so they dev further.
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