Developing applications for Android devices is facilitated by a group of tools that are provided with the SDK. You can access these tools through an Eclipse plugin called ADT (Android Development Tools) or from the command line. Developing with Eclipse is the preferred method because it can directly invoke the tools that you need while developing applications.
However, you may choose to develop with another IDE or a simple text editor and invoke the tools on the command line or with scripts. This is a less streamlined way to develop because you will sometimes have to call command line tools manually, but you will have access to the same number of features that you would have in Eclipse.
Note: Before you begin developing Android applications, make sure you have gone through all of the steps outlined in Installing the SDK.
The basic steps for developing applications with or without Eclipse are the same:
You need to create Android Virtual Devices (AVD) or connect hardware devices on which you will install your applications.
An Android project contains all source code and resource files for your application. It is built into an
.apk package that you can install on Android devices.
If you are using Eclipse, builds are generated each time you save changes and you can install your application on a device by clicking Run. If you're using another IDE, you can build your project using Ant and install it on a device using
Debugging your application involves using a JDWP-compliant debugger along with the debugging and logging tools that are provided with the Android SDK. Eclipse already comes packaged with a compatible debugger.
The Android SDK provides a testing and instrumnetation framework to help you set up and run tests within an emulator or device.
When developing in IDEs or editors other than Eclipse, be familiar with all of the tools below, because you will have to run them from the command line.
In addition to the above tools that are included with the SDK, you need the following open source and third-party tools:
If you are using Eclipse and ADT, tools such as
adb and the
android are called by Eclipse and ADT under the hood or similar functionality is provided within Eclipse. You need to be familiar with
adb, however, because certain functions are not accessible from Eclipse, such as the
adb shell commands. You might also need to call Keytool and Jarsigner to sign your applications, but you can set up Eclipse to do this automatically as well.
For more information on the tools provided with the Android SDK, see the Tools section of the documentation.
The tools described in this section are not developed by the Android SDK team. The Android Dev Guide does not provide documentation for these tools. Please refer to the linked documents in each section for documentation.
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The IDE ensures compatibility with the latest Android SDK and offers a smart code editor with completion, quick navigation between code and resources, a graphical debugger, unit testing support using Android Testing Framework, and the ability to run applications in either the emulator or a USB-connected device.