What is it like getting back to coding after β‰ˆ2y

First impression of someone who barely code for 2 years coming back: Android developer ecosystem changes quite a lot, and also developer experience are pretty slow these days.

What is it like getting back to coding after β‰ˆ2y
Photo by Louis Tsai i.e. me! / Unsplash

For close to 2 years, I hopped over to be a team lead instead of a developer (story for another time). And now that I am back for about 3 months, just want to write down a few surprises and discoveries so far. Also this forces me to write something.

The Android ecosystem changed a lot

Even though I wrote quite a few posts about Jetpack Compose back then, they were mostly high level concepts, and some basic examples. Now that I jump back in and got to do some real features in Compose, I definitely discovered that I am pretty out-of-touch with how things are done these days.

And to some extend it also includes everything else. Google have been doing the "Modern Android Development" push, and a lot of the things there are new to me as well. Technically I can use everything I know from 2 years ago to build all the features, but they are not gonna be code people gonna be maintaining very soon, and that includes me. That's kinda the live of developer these days, tech stack move, and for most people you just have to move along with it.

Screenshot of a YouTube video by "Android Developers", titled "Introduction to MAD Skills". Uploaded in Oct 13, 2020.
Oct 2020, the time when I was being a temp-team-lead

Why things feel a lot slower? 🐌

Back in my days, every Android project has 1 app module and that's all. And then modualization happens, we all dealt with it at one point, and that's suppose to make things fast again. But now in 2023, I feel like things are just as slow if not worse than 2019, even with the new Apple Silicon chip, which is AMAZING. Things often take minutes to compile, and sometimes things get flaky and I have to recompile the whole world again.

I understand the part where we have also grown our team, code base, everything for the last 2 years, but even just navigating in Android Studio feels like a hassle sometimes, even just playing with my pet project Metro-Compose, which is in no way a big project, has more random Gradle / Android Studio issues and failed to resolve dependencies or something. WTF is happening?

This is in no way a comprehensive view on what is it like back to coding, but if I don't click publish now, I will put it in draft for 2 years until I forgot. So this is probably a good point to take a break, and prepare myself to actually start writing something technical again soon.