The number of available Mobile Apps on Google Play store reached 1.4m last month. Mobile Apps have been downloaded over 60bn times by Android users through the Play Store. Android’s market share has increased to 58.1% across the globe in the smartphone segment. These numbers indicate the opportunity available for developers to reach out to a larger audience. After helping our customers to successfully launch over 1000 Mobile Apps, we are excited to share the baby steps involved in Android App Development, which should help all of you get started.
Apart from the developers environment and the coding language, the process of developing an Android Application is no different from making a Mobile App on any other platform. Before getting into the development part, you should understand the basic process that goes into developing an App. The best practice which is followed by developers starts with ideation, i.e to understand and scope the project requirements followed by prototyping, developing and finally testing.
Now let’s get started with what skills you need before developing your first android app.
1. Get Acquainted with Android Devices
If you’re somebody who rarely used an Android Device, it’s a must that you should get used to Android Devices. Explore the operating system and hardware keys. Unlike Apple Devices, Android Devices have multiple functional hardware keys to navigate. It’s essential that you have a basic understanding of the key differences in using an Android Device. Try and learn as much as you can from the device capabilities. It’d be ideal if you can use a device which has the latest Operating System (currently Android Lollipop).
2. Learn Java!
Java Language is the bread and butter for developing an Android App. It’s important that you get the basics right in Java. Though the Android operating system is built on the Linux kernel, it is largely written in C. The Android Software Development Kit (SDK) uses the Java language as the base for Android applications. There are several tools and tutorials available online to learn Java Language.
3. Get Started with Android Studio and Eclipse:
Once you get hands on with Java Language, get started with the Android Studio. Android Studio is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Android Application Development. However, Android App Development is not limited to the Android Studio. There are several challenges that you might face with the Android Studio emulator with respect to the speed and multitasking. Once you open a project, you will have to open another window to open another Android App Project. An alternative to Android Studio is Eclipse. Eclipse is also a widely used IDE for developing Android Applications. The advantage over using Eclipse is that you can open multiple projects at the same time, and navigating between them is easy! Migrating the codes from Eclipse to the Android Studio is easy. However, when you migrate codes from Eclipse to the Android studio, it is going to look like the codes for an entirely new Mobile App Project. The migration to eclipse will take away all the best coding practices like intended forms.
And of course Google, the developers of Android, will give you all the necessary training for setting up the environment: http://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/index.html
4. Start with Small Projects
Don’t push yourself to build your first Android App to compete with Uber or WhatsApp or Instagram. Start with super small projects to get used to the Android environment. Basic projects like calculator, flashlight, alarm clock, expense manager are a good way to start developing Android Apps. This will eventually help you be a master of App development for standalone apps. Standalone Apps are referred to as the mobile apps that do not need to be connected over a server or a database. For beginners, these projects will be sufficient.
5. User Interface
Activity in Android App Development is very important when you get started. There is no better explanation of Activity than how the developers page has explained it, ‘An Activity is an application component that provides a screen with which users can interact in order to do something, such as dial the phone, take a photo, send an email, or view a map. Each activity is given a window in which to draw its user interface. The window typically fills the screen, but may be smaller than the screen and float on top of other windows.’, read more about Activity here: http://developer.android.com/guide/components/activities.html
There are millions of Android devices with multiple screen sizes available in the market. When developing an Android App, the user experience should support all the different screen sizes. This is very critical and this is something that every developer should master. Every pixel that you create for the User Experience of your mobile App should look seamlessly in all the Android run devices, whatever being the screen size.
Use Espresso and UI Automator provided by Android to test the same. You can find them here:
Test your App!! This is the crucial and most important step before launching your Mobile App. Read what other fellow developers has to talk about. Get active on android developers forums, share and learn from others. You’ll easily learn the best practices for each stage eventually. You don’t want your first mobile App to have bugs when you show it to your friends. Likewise, when you start working on larger projects, you definitely don’t want your App to crash. Quality Assurance of the App before launching will help you identify bugs or errors in the code, so you can correct them. Monkey tool is a widely popular tool that you can use to test your Android App.
And that is here is https://developer.android.com/tools/help/monkey.html
In short, take it slow and get excited when you want to build any mobile App. Keep the enthusiasm going whenever you want build a mobile App. Start with small projects and small Applications and master all off it. Build more exciting and challenging Applications. Read developer forums, share ideas, and learn what other Android developers have to say. There might be simple hacks for lengthier code lines. Learn, share and care to become the best Android App developer. Go get ‘em champ!
We’ve made some incredibly beautiful Android Apps! If you’re looking for a partner to build your Android App,
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