Getting Started with Android App Development
In this article, We will introduce you to the software platform and basics of it to get started with Android Development. We assume that you have the basic knowledge of operating a computer and its directories. We also assume that you know the very basic context of what programming and coding are and that these keywords are not totally unknown to you. If you have no idea what these things mean then we suggest you research and learn basics of Java and get back here to start developing your first Android app.
Now for those who have knowledge about the things we mentioned above, this guide will take you through the very initial steps about how to install the required software to start Android app development and how to initialize the process to start your first app. Let’s get some pre-requisites first. Read on!
You are going to need an IDE to get started with app development or in fact any kind of process related to an app. Let’s understand what an IDE is first and then we shall proceed into what software we require to start developing an Android App. An IDE, which stands for Integrated Development Environment is a software package which provides you with tools and utilities with which you can write and develop an app.
Android Studio was officially released by Google in 2014 for the sole purpose of Android Development. Before it, there were multiple IDEs which could be used for developing an app on Android but they were all very complicated and certainly not user-friendly. Android Studio is just very user-friendly compared to the old utilities used to develop Android apps. Now, in this guide, we are going to use Android Studio because it is the most easily available and user-friendly IDE dedicated to Android development. Let’s get started.
Setting up Android Studio on your PC
You need to download the complete package of Android Studio which will contain all the essential things like Android SDK and many other essential utilities. You can download the complete Android Studio from this link. Just follow the simple instructions and install Android Studio on your PC. Make sure you check for Android SDK installation as well when starting the installation.
Before you launch Android Studio, you will also need to install Java on your machine, more specifically the JDK i.e. Java Development Kit. You can download and install it from this link. The Android Studio will only provide you with an interface to write your Android apps but it will use JAVA in JDK to compile them.
Creating your first app
- Step 1: Launch Android Studio and choose‘Start a new Project’.
- Step 2: Enter the name you want to give your app and company name. These will be merged to name your app package like this: com.companyname.appname so you may not want to give any funny names.
- Step 3: In the next step, you have to enter the directory where you want to save all the files related to your app.
- Step 4: Now you have to choose which kind of device you are creating your app for, example: tablet or phone. There are numerous options like Android TV, Wear OS, Glass,etc. But since this is your first app, you may want to choose phone as that is the type of device most people use.
- Step 5: In this step, you have to decide which version of Android you want to support most. We suggest you select the ‘Minimum SDK’ as that will support most of the devices. Now you may ask that why shouldn’t you select the latest Android Oreo, well that’s because the majority of devices are still running on old versions of Android and we want to target more users here.
- Step 6: Now, you will be presented to choose the layout of your app i.e. how you want your app to look. This will decide the look of ‘Main Activity Module’ which is basically the home page of your app. Think of these layouts like theming options for your app. There will be options like what you want to display at the top of your application, maybe the app name for an example. There are some advanced options as well, like adding google maps via google play services but they are complicated so you shall learn them later.
You should know that your app can have multiple pages just like websites and each page could be customized for a different layout according to its function. These different pages are called activities and each activity will have a different file in your app package.
For your first app, we suggest you create a simple basic activity page which will only perform a basic task like maybe adding two numbers. Name your activity and finish this initial process.
Now, these were just the basic initial steps to start creating your first android app. You can further explore the Android Studio, write your code for different instances of the app and maybe, change the world with your killer idea.
We are glad to get you started on your Android app development journey and hope you will do great.