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Manchester, United Kingdom


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GeneralGetting started with Android for Microsoft Developers Pin
Brian Herbert19-Jul-12 4:51
Brian Herbert19-Jul-12 4:51 
Most of the articles about Android development assume that the reader has some knowledge of Java development however this is not the case for many people. I have been developing software with the Microsoft stack for a few years however I am interested in learning about as many technologies as possible. Android is a fairly good way to get a taste for Java if you have not tried it before, the main problem seems to be the development environment. With Microsoft development most of the 'housekeeping' tasks are done in the background so the developer does not need to worry about them (until something goes wrong) which makes it easier to get started.

Making it Simple
So the question is; how do we get started with Java and how do we select the tools to use? The idea is that we can start by developing a basic Android App and in doing so we get to see some Java tools in action. With Microsoft development you depend on Visual Studio and you probably want something similar to help streamline development for Android. Eclipse is a very popular IDE for Java development and the Android website suggests that we can use Eclipse if we want to have a graphical user interface.

The following tools are required for basic Java development.
* Java SE - Java runtime environment Standard Edition. The Microsoft equivalent would be the .NET framework.
* JDK - Java Development Kit. The Microsoft equivalent would be the .NET SDK which is included in Visual Studio.
* Eclipse - Unlike Visual Studio Eclipse is based around an extensive set of plug-ins. It also uses an xcopy install so you just copy the files onto your local drive.
* Eclipse MPC - The Marketplace Client makes it easy to find and install new plug-ins for Eclipse and is similar to the Extension Manager in Visual Studio 2010.

In addition the following tools are required for Android development.
* Android SDK - This includes core components, documentation etc which is essential for all Android development.
* Eclipse ADT - The Android Development Toolkit is a plug-in for Eclipse that creates projects, automates builds, debugging etc. Obviously this would not be required for Java developers who do not bother with Eclipse.

How To Install The Tools
1. Download and install the JDK from Oracle. This is about 82 MB and it includes the Java runtime environment so you do not need to download it separately.
2. Download the latest version of Eclipse which is called Juno. There are many Eclipse packages to choose from, each package is customised for a specific type of development. There is a package called Eclipse For Mobile Developers however this includes a number of components that are not required for Android. Google recommends the Eclipse Classic package which I have used.
3. Extract the Eclipse download into a folder and open the executable file.
3a. If you downloaded the Eclipse Classic package then I would recommend that you install the Marketplace Client (MPC) plug-in for Eclipse as this is useful for the following steps. MPC is included in all other packages.
Select Help >> Install New Software... so that you can install the Marketplace Client. Enter the URL
for the Eclipse repository and the select MPC under General Purpose Tools from the list of components. After the MPC has installed, it should appear under the Help menu.
4. Select Help >> Eclipse Marketplace... so that you can easily find Eclipse plug-ins. If you search for Android you will find the ADK. On the Android website the instructions tell you to install the SDK before the ADK however this is not necessarily the easiest way to do it. Installing the ADK plug-in for Eclipse will automatically prompt you to download the SDK for Android.

After you have completed all of these steps and solved any problems that crop up while getting used to a completely new IDE you should be able to start learning about the Android SDK and Java.
Pie Man

modified 19-Jul-12 10:59am.

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