ChicagoRoboto 2018

ChicagoRoboto is an annual Android conference held in Chicago IL. It's currently in its second year and in this post I'll cover some of the highlights from 2018.

Cameron Barrie Posted 2nd May 2018
Articles, Conferences

ChicagoRoboto is an annual Android conference held in Chicago IL. It’s currently in its second year and in this post I’ll cover some of the highlights from 2018.

The speaker lineup once again is top notch, ChicagoRoboto does a great job of enticing the best speakers from around the globe to attend and present. This year’s speakers included Googlers, Google Developer Experts and other Android Community members.

Not all of the talks were tech focused, some highlighted how we can grow the Android community and how we can give back to make things better for everyone.

Speakers 2018

No More – Mastering Emoji on Android

“Tofus are representations used when a specific character (like an Emoji) cannot be displayed. You have seen them, and so your users.

Thanks to EmojiCompat, now Android developers have a way to provide Emoji compatibility for older devices, but does it solve all the issues developers have with Emoji?

Have you wondered why Twitter counts characters differently depending on the Emoji? Or how gender and skin tone Emoji modifiers work? How can I have similar functionality as Slack on my app with custom Emoji? Do all your users see the same Emoji?”

Click to view slides

Espresso Patronum: The Magic Of The Robot Pattern

“Are you one of the numerous developers who want to implement Espresso testing but hasn’t? Perhaps it’s for one of the common reasons – not enough expertise or time, it feels like a daunting task, or it feels downright tedious. I have personally felt each of those things. All of that changed once I learned about the robot pattern.”

Click to view slides

The Road to Kotlintown III: Delegate 95 to Coroutine 66

“Even if you’re brand new to Kotlin, you might know that you can right-click any Java file and convert it automatically. Score! But wait, what are all these “!!” and why is the code littered with “?”.

Sure, the code compiles, but how do you make the code not just compile but follow best practices? How do you get closer to making your code idiomatic?

In the third part of our series on learning the cool and idiomatic parts of Kotlin, we’re going to look at some intermediate Kotlin topics.”

ConstraintLayout 2.0

“ConstraintLayout 2.0 will be introduced in early 2018, with many new features. This talk will present those new features and concepts.”

Click to view slides

Rinsing the Brush: Picasso 3.0

“Picasso is a powerful image downloading and caching library for Android but since its launch in 2013, other libraries have improved or entered the scene and new requirements have come up.

In this talk, we’ll:

Dig into the internals of Picasso works
Compare and contrast to other image libraries
Discuss latest improvements as we push to 3.0″

Click to view slides

In-depth path morphing w/ Shape Shifter

“Writing high-quality path morphing animations for Android is a near impossible task. In order to morph one shape into another, the SVG paths describing the two must be compatible with each other—that is, they need to have the same number and type of drawing commands. Unfortunately popular design tools, such as Sketch and Illustrator, do not take this into account, and as a result engineers will often have to spend time tweaking the raw SVGs given to them by designers before they can be morphed. To address this issue, I built a web app called Shape Shifter (, a tool that helps developers and designers to more easily create path morphing animations for their Android apps.”

Click to view slides

Videos of the sessions will be available in a few weeks, so keep an eye out for those is you want to learn more about the sessions listed above, or any of the other sessions presented this year.

If you missed the conference in 2017, you can watch and listen to the sessions on YouTube

Key learnings and take-aways

The conference presented lots of useful information, its great to see that Picasso is getting an update and the features its going to include look great, especially since they’ll make use of the new ImageDecoder APIs in Android P.

ConstraintLayout 2.0 takes what is already a great library and elevates it even further, the new Helpers and Decorators should allow for some interesting new layout features, they just need to work out how people can package these up as libraries for use by others.

The talk by Alex Lockwood on ShapeShifter and SVG Path morphing was very interesting, digging into how SVG files are structured and the problems that arise when trying to morph between 2 shapes was really well presented.

The conference had about 160 people in attendance and the general feeling in the room on both days was very positive, there was lots of discussion outside of the conference as well which was great.

Chicago is a long way to travel from Sydney but this conference is definitely worth checking out if you don’t mind the 20hrs travel time to get there.

Random photos from 2018

Here are some photos I took outside and around the conference.

Ryan, John and Jerrell – the Organisers
Lego – After Party @ The Nerdery
VR Beer Pong – After Party @ The Nerdery

One final story from the conference

As we were leaving the after party several of us got stuck in the lift/elevator and were rescued an hour later by the fire brigade. Nervous humour kept our spirits up, thankfully we didn’t have to resort to eating anyone to stay alive. This took place on the evening of the first day and several of the occupants of the lift were speaking the next day, the whole fate of the conference rested in the hands of the firemen/women who came to our rescue. Thanks!

Trapped... but with Wifi ;)

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