Almost 10 years after its launch in 2009, Android, through Google Play, has since evolved to cater to more than 2 million apps worldwide. According to Statista, there is an immense 174-fold increase from 16,000 apps in the first year it was launched. No wonder why job opportunities for Android app development have increased over the past few years.
If you are a seasoned developer who’s thinking of switching to Android app development, or a new developer who wants to grow initially in this specialization, this article will guide you on how to start your quest towards developing your first Android app.
Below are some of the basic things to brush up on if you want to become an Android app developer.
Install Your Software Development Kit (SDK) and Integrated Development Environment Software (IDE) for Android Development
When choosing an SDK and IDE, it is important to know what kind of app you want to develop and for what Android version and/or device you want your app to run on. Both differ in so many aspects such as debugging features, language support, plug-ins, and user interface complexity.
Remember that SDKs are more fundamental as compared to IDEs. IDEs just make programming easier as they are where you can accommodate all your app development tools. Some developers opt to use SDK software alone, but you can also explore the following SDK + IDE bundles for your Android app development:
Android SDK + Android Studio
The latest version of Android SDK is already included in Android Studio, so you don’t have to worry about installing separate applications.
When building an Android app, it is convenient to use an IDE that has smart code completion features and accessible code templates. Android Studio allows this for Java, Kotlin and C/C++ languages. When you finish building your own features, make sure to save your codes in a Git repository (found in the VSC Tab > import version control), so when you create another app with similar features, it’ll be easier to incorporate.
Visual Studio + Xamarin
Visual Studio utilizes Xamarin as its sole-compatible IDE. With Xamarin, you will need the C# development skills. A cross-platform development tool, it allows creating not only Android apps, but also iOS, Windows, watchOS, and more. You may also need third-party code libraries when using this platform. Xamarin can be operated in all three editions of Visual Studio 2017 and 2019 (Enterprise, Professional, and Community). We recommend using the Visual Studio Community Edition first, as it is for free.
Android SDK + IntelliJ IDEA
IntelliJ IDEA is an IDE that comes in two editions, the Ultimate and the Community Edition. The Community Edition is a free version of the IntelliJ package that’s readily useful for professional app developers. It features basic coding assistance, debugging, GIT Support and JUnit testing to name a few. For professionals who are seeking to develop commercial Apps, the Ultimate Edition is a better choice because of its more advanced tools. It just comes at a price though.
Write Your Codes
Obviously, your codes depend on what app features you are planning to have. Do you want your app to work while offline? Do you need geolocation features? Maybe you would like to upload videos to your app.
In order to make the development process fast and easy, there are numerous Android libraries available for your use. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Android KTX
Test Run Your App
You need to test your app on various Android devices or/and use an emulator. It is convenient as you can edit your code right away. Android Studio has a fast emulator that lets you simulate even ARCore apps. However, note that not all IDEs have a built-in emulator. Here are some popular external Android emulators you can use:
- Bluestacks – good for gaming apps
- MEmu – good for gaming apps
- Andy – good for testing app launch definitions and productivity apps
Developing an Android App might be challenging at first, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
If you face any kind of trouble along the way, professional Android app development services are always available to help you.