Google I/O’19 – Chet Haase Interview on Jetpack Compose
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Google I/O’19 – Chet Haase Interview on Jetpack Compose

August 9, 2019


[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER: Welcome back. Our final guest of
the day is Chet Haase, whom you already know if
you’re an Android developer. Though you might not
know that he’s also the author of “Round and Holy– An Homage to Donuts.” Chet, welcome to the show. CHET HAASE: Thanks. SPEAKER: So we already
talked with Dan Galpin about all the announcements
that were in the keynote. CHET HAASE: OK. SPEAKER: So I’m hoping that
we can go more big picture. Is that OK? CHET HAASE: You’re
saying, fast forward. Don’t talk about that stuff. We already heard it. You’re boring me. That’s what I’m hearing. SPEAKER: I mean, I wouldn’t
have put it that way. CHET HAASE: OK. SPEAKER: Anyway, Kotlin First. CHET HAASE: Kotlin First. SPEAKER: What does that mean? And sort of like,
how do we get here? And what does it mean for
developers moving forward? CHET HAASE: Sure. SPEAKER: So big picture. CHET HAASE: Big picture. So the big picture is
we announced Kotlin a couple of years ago. It turns out, people
really like it. A lot of developers really
liked it at that time, anyway. What we announced was, we
understand you like it, and we’re going to support
it as an official language. So it’s a good thing. So people continued to
use it more and more. We agree with everyone. They should be using
it more and more. And now, we want to
invest in it more and more and offer more capabilities for
them to use it more and more. You like that phrase? I like it a lot. I’m using it a lot. So let me give you a
couple of examples. SPEAKER: Yeah. CHET HAASE: So we have this
set of APIs called Jetpack. And increasingly,
a lot of the stuff that we’re doing in
Jetpack, including some of the stuff that’s
coming out at I/O, is going to be coming out
first with Kotlin capabilities, things like coroutine
integration into room, also coroutine deep
integration into life cycle and live data to
make things easier. Kotlin First library is
like the new Jetpack Compose that we just announced
we’re going to be developing in the open today. So we’re going to be
doing much more Kotlin stuff for Kotlin developers
outside of Android as well. We’re also investing in more
training and docs and sample code. Things like, let’s see,
with JetBrains, we’re doing Kotlin Everywhere. It’s this global
series of events, conference-type
educational events. There’s also a new
Udacity course. I think it’s Developing Android
Applications with Kotlin. Just launched all of those
episodes in that course. So just a lot more training
in general to help people learn and use Kotlin
more, because we think they should be doing that. SPEAKER: I think one of
the interesting discoveries I made the other day is that
there are developers now that started as Kotlin
Android developers. CHET HAASE: That blows my mind. SPEAKER: Right? Which is, anyway, that’s cool. You’ve been on Android
for a while now. CHET HAASE: Oh, I was
supposed to fill that in. So I joined actually nine
years ago this month. SPEAKER: Nine years. CHET HAASE: Yeah, 2010. SPEAKER: Sometime. In that time, you’ve, I’m sure,
had a really unique perspective on everything that’s
happened in the developer space for Android. So here’s two relatively
specific questions for you. One, what’s something that’s
super exceptional that you didn’t expect when you
started working on Android? And what’s something
that you still want to make better
after all this time? CHET HAASE: So
super exceptional, there’s a bunch of
things to choose from. There’s all kinds of
interesting features. And development
software is cool, because new stuff
happens all the time. I’m going to pick
Jetpack, because I feel very close to this
because a lot of that work was coming out of the team
that I was working with, the tool kit team, where we
had all these capabilities in Support Library. Worst thing about
Support Library, we called it Support
Library, but it was actually a plural set of libraries. So even the naming of
it was messed up, right? So we had AppCompat, and then
we had specific utilities. SPEAKER: Yeah. CHET HAASE: Recycler
View was in there, all these different things. SPEAKER: It was a lot of stuff. CHET HAASE: It was a sandbox
of stuff, all very useful. What we’re doing with Jetpack
is putting it together into cohesive parts, right? So there are these modules that
you can use either together or separately. We’re shipping it in a more
robust and predictable manner. We made sense out of the APIs. We refactored it with a
namespace that made sense. We took a lot of the
capabilities that we had, and we put it into a
more sensible form that solves one of the biggest
problems with Android for developers,
which is, how do I develop for multiple
versions of Android? Because that is the
developer reality. Right? So the ability to actually
write to a single API and have it work on releases
all the way back to API 14 right now, I think is huge. And for us to be able
to do that in a way where they can make
sense out of those APIs and the documentation
and the Maven artifacts that they have to get,
I think is really huge. What was the other question? SPEAKER: Something that you
still want to make better. CHET HAASE: Everything. I want to make
everything better. This is software. We have bugs. We have features
we want to work on. We have APIs that we regret,
because that’s how APIs work. SPEAKER: Yeah. CHET HAASE: So
honestly, everything can get better all the time. I feel good about where
we’re at, especially given where we were coming from. But I also feel like we
have a lot further to go. SPEAKER: OK. That’s fair. All right, so your
Twitter profile, which I looked at recently– CHET HAASE: It
must be the truth. SPEAKER: –on research
for this interview. It says you’re the lead
for the Android UI toolkit. CHET HAASE: Yes. SPEAKER: So what’s that like? CHET HAASE: So the
first thing that tells me is that I need to
go update my Twitter profile. SPEAKER: This is my
subtle way of saying that. CHET HAASE: Yes. It is out of date. So I was the lead for the
Android UI toolkit team. So when I joined in 2010, I
joined the UI toolkit team. I worked on animations and
graphics and performance and UI stuff and eventually managed
the team for about the last five years as the team was
growing, doing things like Jetpack and architecture
components and all the normal platform
toolkit stuff. And then about three months ago,
I made a change and moved to– it’s a team called
Developer Relations. I don’t know if you
know what that is. SPEAKER: I’ve heard of them. CHET HAASE: Yeah. SPEAKER: Sure. CHET HAASE: So I
made that switch, dropped all my management
responsibilities on the floor. And I’m now a developer
advocate in Dev Rel. SPEAKER: Well, that’s great. CHET HAASE: I think so. SPEAKER: Welcome to the
light side or dark side? CHET HAASE: I consider
it the light side, because you know what? New jobs always look better. And then, they become old jobs. SPEAKER: Well, let’s
hope this one stays the light side for some time. CHET HAASE: No. I’m excited about it. So the way I look
at the job change is, I now get to do my
hobby as my real job. I was doing Dev Rel stuff. I was doing a bunch of outreach. SPEAKER: Don’t say
that on camera. Don’t tell them. CHET HAASE: Why? My bosses won’t watch it. It doesn’t matter. But I’ve been doing Dev Rel
since I got here, right? I really love doing the
outreach stuff with developers, but I always felt
guilty about that because that wasn’t
actually my day job. And now it is. SPEAKER: Now it is. You’re welcome, world. OK. Something else that you
do that I want to mention is the ADB podcast, the
Android Developers Backstage. CHET HAASE: Yes. SPEAKER: So for the
handful of people watching that haven’t subscribed
to that podcast– CHET HAASE: Wait. What? SPEAKER: There
could be a couple. What episode is your favorite
that they should start with? CHET HAASE: OK, I’m
going to start by saying, they are all my
children, and there is no favorite among them. But if I had to pick, I would
go way back in the archives to back when our audio quality,
frankly, was very poor. So you’re going to have
to suffer through it. It’s going to sound
like one of those 1930s just pass the talky
transition movies. But we talked to Anwar,
who was, at that time, managing the art team. We talked to him about how
garbage collectors work, and it was so fascinating. So my favorite thing
about doing ADB is we get to learn how stuff works. We are not talking to people
about stuff that we know. We’re talking about stuff
that we don’t by definition. Oh, I’d like to learn more about
[INAUDIBLE] or art or Android Studio or performance
or whatever. We grab people on the team that
know more about that stuff, and we have a
conversation with them. So we had a
conversation with Anwar. And we were so interested that
our little 45-minute episode stretched onto an
hour and a half before we ran out of words. And we cut it into two episodes. So probably my favorite
because it best represents the, oh my gosh, do we
get into the details part. SPEAKER: OK. The art episodes. CHET HAASE: Art episodes. There’s two. It’s like 30s,
somewhere in the 30s. And we’re now at 112. SPEAKER: OK. CHET HAASE: All right. SPEAKER: Thanks for
joining us, Chet. CHET HAASE: Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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