Many people have coding-background but they have not done an Android development before. This tutorial is aimed at those who do not know how to start with the process. It doesn’t teach how to learn coding but it guides in how to start with an Android app.
Writing apps for Android is complex. It’s beyond learning code syntax. Here is the link to start with the process if you do not know coding. You can find plenty of resources here. But if you already know coding, there may be a lot of tools and resources you might not familiar with. You will need to learn these things to make Android apps.
Note: It’s not a comprehensive guide detailing everything about applications and resources. Instead, it provides resources where you can find all the information you will need to build Android apps.
The Android Software Development Kit (or SDK)
To make Android apps, you will need a lot of tools and that’s what Android Software Development Kit is made for. It’s the collection of tools required in making of Android apps. Here are the stuffs you can find in the SDK:
You will need an integrated development environment to begin with the process. An IDE is the software where the code written and put together with an app. It also helps in organizing and editing files of various types in an app, managing and supporting the required libraries, and testing an app on emulators / real devices.
The Eclipse has been used as the default IDE for several years. You can modify Java and XML files using this software. Also, you can organize different pieces of your application along with several other operations.
Now Android Studio is the default IDE because it’s made by Google itself. It provides an excellent pool of tools for creating apps for almost all sorts of Android devices. It’s an excellent editing, debugging and performance-checking tool. It’s a quite flexible system allowing developers focusing on creating high quality apps. Now, developers around the world have started using Android Studio as the primary IDE for Android development. But in case you need to use Native Development Kit for gaming apps, using Eclipse is compulsory. So the use of an IDE is completely case specific.
Whether you use Android Studio or Eclipse, you will see that its operation is similar to the Photoshop. It can do a number of tasks but in the beginning, you have to start with basic tools for your Android development. Some excellent tutorials are already available to begin with IDE:
- Android Developer Training: Google itself has documented a complete set of tutorials. They help you thoroughly learn the basics of IDE. Of course it will not make you a master dev if you do not have experience in developing apps, but it’s a fairly good tool to begin with the process.
- Udacity – Developing Android Apps: It’s an 8-week online course with plenty of things to learn. Instructed by Google’s engineers, the course is available with a good number of free elements. It helps you learn fundamental things and features to start the process of development.
- Vogella: It’s a massive set of tutorials and you can find almost everything you want to learn. If above mentioned tutorials do not cover any of the basic questions, Vogella certainly does.
Android Debug Bridge – ADB
As it’s named itself suggests, ADB is basically a tool to aid the development. It is a part of Android SDK. It can be used to load software or make changes to device when it’s connected to your computer. Some basic tools which can be used with Android Debug Bridge as follows:
- ADB Documentation: It is key resource by Google explaining what ADB is. It also explains the functioning of ADB. It teaches everything what ADB is capable of doing.
- Vogella – Using the Android Debug Bridge: As I mentioned Vogella is an all-inclusive source for Android app development and so it offers Tutorial for ADB too. It provides basics of ADB and what are the things can be done using it.
Android Developer Guidelines
If you are new to Android development, it is necessary that you learn about guidelines so that you will not end up with an app that App Store does not accept.
- Google Services: It’s the place where you can check what’s happening in Google’s Android world. Here you can get updates about a variety of features which you may otherwise need to built or sign-in services.
- API Guides: This place provides updates about the API Guides which cover from code to creating basic level animations, to the internet. Here you can find a wide range of information which aid functionalities to an app.
- Sample Code: Sample helps you discover about the fundamental ways of doing things. Here you can get a number of code-samples for different functions. You can see how it works. Also you can use the code if it fulfills your needs so that you will not reinvent it.
Android Design Guidelines
You will also need to learn the Android Design Guidelines which are as important as Developer Guidelines. Google has provided enough materials on how to make apps that look good and works well. It covers a number of basic things like buttons, simple animation and whatnot. It’s second key sub-part of Google’s official documentation. If you do not have much knowledge about what great design actually means, it’s the best thing recommended for you.
But if you are sure about how you will look like, you would probably not need this. Here are the areas you can start with;
- Devices: Android isn’t merely a phone OS. Other devices like tablets, wearable and TVs may also be powered by it. In this section you can learn about the interfaces of other sorts of devices.
- Patterns: In pattern section you will learn the building-blocks of how apps work so that you can design the frameworks accordingly. By learning it you can keep your apps always on the top.
- Material Design Documentation: Google now promotes the concept of material design. Here you can thoroughly read what exactly is meant by the concept of Material Design. You can learn how a design fits these guidelines.
You will also need to manage a lot of files during the development of an app. GitHub provides support for the same. It’s the most regularly used protocol in latest versions or changes to existing software. Of course it’s a complicated platform to fulfill this purpose. But at the same time, its flexibility lets you manage more than one branch of an app, along with pulling from older versions in case anything goes wrong.
There are two places with Git – Github and BitBucket for this purpose. Both are based on similar protocol. They can also be integrated to both Android Studio and Eclipse. While using BitBucket, you will have private repositories without any charge. On the other hand, if you want the same private repository at GitHub without paying any charge, you have to publicly list all your files.
The best of the resources to start with Git:
BitBucket Tutorials: The maker of BitBucket, Atlassian offers a series of tutorials that explains how you can start with the platform. The guide is much easier for a new Android developer.
GitHub Guides: There are also some tutorials for GitHub. They explain how you can set its services.
Vogella Git Tutorial: Again, Vogella has the best explanations about how to manage your project with Git.
Developing Android app is more than knowing Java. You will need to know a lot of things to become a successful Android developer. This guide provides the best of the helps.