Android Development

As the development of Android applications are growing in the recent years it’s good to know about android development. This tutorial on android application development gives a good understanding about android sdk tools and android app development.

Android development tools (ADT) is a type of plug in for the Eclipse IDE and it is a powerful, integrated environment in which to build android applications. To develop android applications with eclipse Google provides the android development tools (ADT). ADT is set of plug- INS components and these components are extending the Eclipse IDE with android development capabilities. ADT provides all required functionalities to create, compile, debug and deploy android applications from the Eclipse IDE and from the command line and it also provide an android device emulator because the android applications can be tested without a real android phone. ADT exports signed or unsigned .apk files to distribute our application. Android applications are written in the Java programming language. The Java source files are converted to Java class files by using the Java compiler.

Android uses a “dx” tool and this tool helps to converts Java files into dex (Dalvik Executable) file. For each application the corresponding class files are compressed .dex file and redundant information in the class files are optimized in the .dex file. The dex files are smaller in size than the corresponding class files.

Eg: – The same string is found in different class files the .dex file consists of one reference of this string.

The dex file and the resources like images named XML files are packed into an android package called .apk file. This packaging operations are handled by a program called aapt (Android Asset Packaging Tool). The .apk file includes all the necessary data for running the android applications and also it can be deployed to an android device through “adb” tool.

READ  Android Architecture

Applications are defined to Android via the android manifest file, located in the root of the Eclipse project definition (AndroidManifest.xml). An Android application is a collection of activities; an activity correlates to a screen or form that is presented to the user. For the fastest way to get started we are using the development tool like Eclipse with ADT.

An android SDK uses two different tools for developing mobile applications for the android platform.

1)      SDK tools

The SDK tools are platform independent and are demand no matter which android platform we are developing on.

2)      Platform tools

The android platform tools are updated every time when we install a new SDK platform and each updated platform tools is backward compatible with older platforms. The Android Debug Bridge (adb) is the mainly used platform tools and it helps to manage the state of an emulator instance or Android powered device. The other platform tools are aidl, aapt, dexdump, and dx. We can also call as android build tools or Android Development Tools (ADT).

The features of Eclipse and ADT are given below.

1)      Integrated Android project creation, building, packaging, installation, and debugging:-

ADT integrates many development workflow tasks into Eclipse, making it easy for you to rapidly develop and test your Android applications.

2)      SDK Tools integration

We are integrating different SDK tools into Eclipse’s menus, perspectives, or as a part of background processes ran by ADT. Mainly used SDK tools are listed below.

1)       Traceview: It permits you to profile your program’s execution (Window > Open Perspective > Traceview).

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2)      android: Provides access to the Android SDK Manager and AVD Manager. Other android features such as creating or updating projects (application and library) are integrated throughout the Eclipse IDE.

3)      Hierarchy Viewer: Allows you to visualize your application’s view hierarchy to find inefficiencies (Window > Open Perspective > Hierarchy Viewer).

4)       Pixel Perfect: Permits you to closely examine your UI to help with designing and building. (Window > Open Perspective > Pixel Perfect).

5)       DDMS: Provides debugging features including: screen capturing, thread and heap information, and logcat (Window > Open Perspective > DDMS).

6)       adb: Provides access to a device from your development system. Some features of adb are integrated into ADT such as project installation (Eclipse run menu), file transfer, device enumeration, and logcat (DDMS). You must access the more advanced features of adb, such as shell commands, from the command line.

7)      ProGuard: Allows code obfuscation, shrinking, and optimization. ADT integrates ProGuard as part of the build, if you enable it.

3)      Java programming language and XML editors

The following are the features of Java programming language.

1)      Compile time syntax checking

2)      Auto completion

3)      Integrated documentation for the android framework API.ADT handle the custom XML editors’ mechanism and by using this mechanism we can edit android specific XML files in a form based UI. A graphical layout editor helps to design user interfaces with drag and drop interface.

4)      Integrated documentation for Android framework APIs

We can access documentation by hovering over classes, methods, or variables.