Android, this curious term have been used to describe humanoid like robots that would be able to do things better than actual humans with no possible cause for exhaustion. Through the years though, technology allowed us to develop and shift this term into referring something that would prove to be more useful for us humans while maintaining dominance over technologyâ€”the Google Android OS.
Timeline-wise, the shift from one event to another on the improvement of the worldâ€™s most celebrated mobile OS today is interesting. It has improved one lifestyle to another and even helped open up millions of jobs to people all over the world. So what exactly is the Android OS?
Android is the operating system made by Google specifically catered to run on mobile phones. This allows the mobile to use all of its hardware to optimal use. The platform made by the Android OS, allows the phone to run software called Applications to make the mobile phone more useful than just being a communication device. For example, after taking pictures, you donâ€™t need to transfer the image file onto a computer for Photoshop editing. You can just choose â€œscreensâ€ from a certain application called Instagram that would do the editing for you. There are also more sophisticated image editing, and video editing applications you can use on mobile phones with higher capacity hardware. This is just a speck of what Android can do. In the coming years, you wouldn’t be surprised if you can possibly predict the weather using an Android device.
Hoping you got enticed into the exciting new world of Android, you probably are interested in making one right? For starters, Android applications are made using the Java programming language and the Android Development Kit , an open source software made by Google to cater for Android developers. For testing, you would need the Android Virtual Device (AVD), an emulator made for application testing purposes. Or if you need more hardware, and properly divulge customer acceptability, you can pick from the thousands of available Android devices in the market.
Preparing your development system
Step 1: Check / Download JDK
So to start developing Android applications, you should first check if your system has the necessary requirements. To be able to run and develop applications based on Java, you should first have a JDK installed on your system. A Java Development Kit should already be installed on your system if you have developed Java applications. To check if you do have Java or to check which version of Java you have on your system, open up a CMD window and type in â€œwhich javaâ€.Â Enter the directory printed on the screen and type in the commands â€œjava- versionâ€ to see which version is installed.
If you have to ask, you wouldnâ€™t find any directory to go to if you donâ€™t have Java. You can download the JDK from Oracle.com and install if for your specific purpose.
Step 2: Download and Install Eclipse
Next, to develop an Android application you need to have a programming interface. Java runs on many interfaces since it is an open source software. As such, you can also develop Android applications on many platforms. For this specific tutorial, it is recommended that you use the Java Eclipse platform.
Download the classic version of Eclipse from this link: http://www.eclipse.org/downloads
You need to configure something in Eclipse first before you can develop Android applications so better to have a Start Menu shortcut or a desktop shortcut for Eclipse.
Step 3: Download and Install the Android SDK
This is what we were talking about earlier. Download the SDK from: http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html and unzip it. Make sure that you remember where the SDK is. Preferably, you should create a folder dedicated to the Android SDK on your â€œC:\â€ folder so you will quickly be able to locate it. Once unzipped, and execute the AVD and SDK Manager.
Step 4: Download Android Packages
Now once you execute the SDK Manager you will be able to choose which SDKâ€™s you want your application to run on. Having a certain SDK allows you to develop applications for phones having the same Android version on their phones. So, if you have an Android phone with you and want to test your applications right on your phone, verify your phoneâ€™s version by going to Settings\About phone\Android.
To download Android SDK packages, click on Available Packages and download the SDKâ€™s you want your application to run on.
Step 5: Install the Android Development Tools (ADT) Plug-in
The ADT is the interface you will use to develop Android applications on Eclipse. To do this, execute Eclipse and go to Help then click â€œInstall New Softwareâ€. Then click the â€œADDâ€ button on the window that will appear. After that, insert this link: https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse/ then check the Developer Tools option. Then finish the application by going through the install wizard that is provided. There will be a prompt to restart Eclipse after installation. Click Ok. After you restart Eclipse it will look for the Android SDK directory. Choose â€œExisting SDKâ€™sâ€, and select the folder where you installed the Android SDK, which would preferably be at your C:\ folder. After the Android ADK is confirmed you can now start developing for Android!