Friday, September 28, 2012

Getting Started with Android Development

Recently I had project to build Android App. So, here's some notes on starting out with Android Development.


Development Environment

First things first, the development environment setup. I look up for a good IDE to work with Android and it seems Eclipse is de-facto standard so it's not a hard choice. However, choosing which package of Eclipse to download is overwhelming and there does not seem to be a good convention for it around the net. I decided to got with "Eclipse for Mobile Developers" since it has "Mobile" word in it and from the package description it seems light enough. So far, I think it's a good choice and I don't have any serious problem with it.

The next step is installing Android Development Tool from Eclipse's built-in marketplace. It's a breeze though since the installation process from the marketplace took care of almost anything needed. It setting up the brand new Eclipse install into an environment ready for Android App development including including Emulator, Debugger, etc. The only thing I need to do is checking up some license agreement and clicking next.

Not all is rosy though. As I start testing making the first app...

First App and Emulator Issue

My first test code does not run and it turns out I had to install system image first. I installed through Android SDK Manager and after it the "Hello World" app finally ran.

The default emulator setup is quite slow though so you need to tweak it in AVD Manager, adding GPU, storage and stuff to to the virtual device accomodate the testing better. It ran very well afterwards.


The Development Resources

For development resources, Android Developers page is quite indispensable. That and some googling (which many times point me to Stack Overflow discussion) is pretty much what I need to get things done so far.

Also, along the way I find a nice little xml-serialization/object-mapping library called Simple (a pretty simple name :) ). It's java-based but the binary already compatible for the use in Android development. I haves used it since and it rocks!, no need to deal with xml parser if I don't really really have to. 

It's been a pretty nice experience of developing on Android. I probably starting out when many parts of the development has quite mature so it flows quite nicely. Also, Eclipse is a great IDE and very helpful. It's a little on the "heavy" side but still very usable and has tons of useful features which make it's heaviness issue negligible.

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