Android Application Development

Getting The Right Tools



Android it's a very interesting and powerful mobile platform, which have been spreading all around the world since 2007. Today, we can find it everywhere, from smartphones to watches, from tv to cars, etc. For that reason, developers who target to Android development, have a really big world to explore, and we're gonna start exploring it. But, before we start developing, we need tools to do it, tools that let us design and develop those apps.

From the text readed before, maybe we have a basic question: "Which Tools Do We Need?".

Well, those tools are:

    1-Java Development Kit (JDK)
    2-Android SDK
    3-An Integrated Development Enviroment (IDE)

Each one have it's elemental function on the development process, so it's important to have them all installed and ready to work.


The Java Development Kit (JDK)

This is the elemental component that we need, because this is the component that allow us to programm using the Java Programming Languaje, without JDK, we can't compile any java code, and either any Android app. JDK it self just enable our computer to compile Java code to be run on it's runtime called JRE, using the JDK we can create any Java application but having just the JDK we can't create any Android project.

To compile an Android project, we need a version of the JDK, which may be JDK 6 or JDK 7. JDK 6 it's used to compile for Android versions below KitKat (Android 4.4.x), and JDK 7 it's used to compile projects for Android Above KitKat, which means that, if we want to write an app that runs on the new Android Lollipop (Android 5.0.x) we need to use the JDK 7.

You can build Android apps for devices running versions below the KitKat using the JDK 7, but keeping Java code compatibility, that means, writing your app using only features from the JDK 6.

I have installed the lastest version of the last 3 JDK's, i mean, JDK 6U45, JDK 7U72 and JDK 8U25, the last one it's just for Java projects, not related with Android, so, don't mind about it.

With all that said, let's download the JDK's we need:



NOTE: In the JDK 7 download page, the first version we see it's the JDK7U71, go down on the page and you will find the JDK7U72.


The Android SDK

This element enable the JDK to compile Android apps, it contains all Android APIS, which makes a lot easier the task of developing an app.

It also includes the Android Emulator, which we can use to emulate any device and test on them without having them in our hands, for example, you can build an app and test it on a Nexus 5 or 6 without the phone. This is a very useful tool, specially for developers who target a wide range of devices.

Now, let's download the Android SDK:



The Integrated Development Enviroment (IDE)

We can create an Android app just using the JDK and the Android SDK, so, why do we need an IDE?
Well, most people use an IDE to develop any app because it has a friendly User Interface, that makes our life easier than develop all the project on the console. There are so many IDE we can use, Eclipse, IntelliJ, NetBeans, etc.

So, which IDE will we use?
The Android team recomends to use the Android Studio, which is a modified version of the IntelliJ IDE, some time ago they had Eclipse and Android Studio on the official Android Developers Page, but now they just give us the Android Studio, which it's harder to use than Eclipse, best known as ADT, so we're gonna use Android Studio, but we're gonna use Eclipse on some projects too.

Now let's download the Android Studio:



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