Getting started with Android Development

Part 1: Setting up the Environment

So you want to give Android app development a try? The first step, and one that can seem more complicated than it needs to be, is getting your development environment ready to go.

To set up your development environment, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the Java Developers’ Kit (JDK)
  2. Download and install the Android Software Developers’ Kit (SDK), and remember or write down the installation path which we’ll need later
  3. Download and install Eclipse (select “Eclipse Classic”), which is what you’ll be using as your IDE (“integrated development environment”) and where all your work will be done.
  4. Download and install the ADT Plugin for Eclipse:
    1. Start Eclipse (which was installed in step 3)
    2. Open menu Help > Install New Software…
    3. Click Add in the top-right corner
    4. A dialog titled Add Repository should appear. Enter “ADT Plugin” as the name, and this url for the location: https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse/
    5. Click OK
    6. In the Available Software dialog, click the checkbox next to Developer Tools and click Next
    7. Now you should see a list of items to be downloaded. Click Next
    8. Read and accept the license agreement, then click Finish
    9. When complete, restart Eclipse
  5. Configure the ADT Plugin for Eclipse:
    1. Open menu Window > Preferences
    2. Select Android from the left side
    3. For the SDK Location in the main panel and click Browse…
    4. Navigate to the Android SDK installation path we wrote down in step 2, then click Apply
  6. Download the Android APIs:
    1. In Eclipse, go to menu Window > Android SDK Manager
    2. Select the versions you want to develop apps for. API level 10 is Android 2.3 (aka Gingerbread), API level 14 is Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich). Click the checkboxes to the left of the version(s) you want, then Install X Package(s). These APIs are fairly large, so once you select the version(s) you want, it may take a while to download and set up
  7. Set up virtual Android device(s):
    1. In Eclipse, go to menu Window > AVD Manager
    2. On the right, click New…
    3. Name the virtual device whatever you like, descriptive names are always good
    4. Select the target API level, depending on which version of Android you want to develop for. Note: The only options that will be displayed will be API levels that you downloaded/installed in the SDK Manager step above
    5. Choose a size for the virtual device’s internal storage. The default unit is “MiB”, which is the same as “MB” or “megabytes”. 4 gigabytes is sufficient, so enter 4096 in that field. If you prefer a little more breathing room, you can enter 8 gigabytes, which would be 8192
    6. You can accept all the other options as they’re currently set, so go ahead and click Create AVD
    7. Once created, you can test it out by clicking on it on the left side, then click Start… on the right. If everything was set up correctly, after about 5 minutes you should have a fresh Android virtual device at the lock screen.
  8. Now you’re ready to develop an Android application! Check back for basic tutorials on how to create, code and publish an Android app that you can install on your phone.

2 thoughts on “Getting started with Android Development

    • You’re right – I had already set it up on my PC before I started the post, instead of taking screenshots as I go along. I’ll update the page with screenshots for most steps (if not every step).

      Thanks for your feedback!

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