Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Android Bugs : How bad is it right now?

A recent Wall Street Journal article about bugs in the Android SDK quoted a developer proclaim that Android is "clearly not ready for prime time". This led to a flurry of follow-up articles in traditional media and the blogosphere which would lead a casual reader to conclude that Android doesn't work!

The reality is not so bad. The WSJ article seems to be based mostly on the writer's interaction with one developer, and most other articles are merely regurgitated versions of the WSJ piece! There is a much better article on Arstechnica which concluded that "it's a mixed bag". This article is different from all the others in one important way: the author himself tried his hand at Android coding before writing the article.

The Arstechnica article quotes a Google developer who aptly sums up what seems to be the main issue facing Android developers right now: "it's a process problem, rather than a technical problem."

Yes, majority of the complaints from developers seems to be about:

1. Lack of 100% documentation about every single feature and functionality in the Android SDK.
2. More importantly, lack of a proper issue/bug tracking system which is public and up-to-date on the status of resolutions.

To make up for the lack no. 2 above, the Android development community has set up an independent Wiki to track known bugs. I am not sure how complete and up-to-date this Wiki is. Nevertheless, it is quite revealing: there are just 6 critical bugs and 24 non-critical bugs listed as of now, in addition to 5 feature requests.

I don't know about you, but being in software development for 10 years, I think those are damn good numbers for a very early, pre-release version of most non-mission critical software. So much for reports that claimed Android doesn't work!

[via Wall Street Journal and Arstechnica]

No comments: