Android Ecosystem: 2008-2018

Some time in 2018 I realised we’ve reached that point in the Android ecosystem that so many platforms reach as they approach the 10 year mark. There was more stuff coming out than it was possible to keep up with, or even try out.

So I thought, let’s draw up a high level map of most things Android developers have come into contact with, in general, since the start. Links to large-sized files are at the end…

Android Ecosystem: 2008-2018

Roughly speaking as you move out from the centre you are moving forward in time, although to group some items by theme I bend the rules. The lines represent relationships, though not always direct, and the dotted boxes are things that may no longer be in active use. There are also some 3rd-party honourable mentions in there.

I was prompted to finally make good on this diagram when I listened to Donn and Kaushik talking about Imposter Syndrome on Fragmented. Take a look at the image, this isn’t even the complete picture. At the same time many Android developers are doing other stuff; iOS, server-side, web, Flutter. No wonder it’s hard to keep up.

The same thing happened for me around 2008 with Flash. I started with Flash in ’99, there was timeline animation, a scattering of “scripting”, all highly creative. Over the next 10 years it evolved; XML layouts, 2-way data binding, ECMAScript 4th Edition (what eventually became Javascript “Harmony”). It found a home in video, games and the Enterprise; server-side generators came out costing $15,000 per CPU and that was just the start. “RIAs” (Rich Internet Applications, aka thick clients) were lightyears ahead of the rest of the web. In the UK you could command a top-tier day rate working for banks as a freelancer, building internal tools that managed their data and generated reports. Then, as you know, it stopped.

Android is not going to live forever, but things have certainly moved at such a pace to keep things interesting. From phones to TVs, cars, smart speakers and more, the surfaces available have exploded, and the tools also. We’re gonna need a larger sheet of paper.

A huge thank you to the people who make learning this stuff possible. The bloggers, the developer advocates, conference speakers, podcasters and documentation writers. 🙌

Download the source and exported PDF/PNG files from the GitHub repo.