*If you find this Guide Thread helpful, feel free to hit the "thanks" button below!What is Android SDK?
Everyone wants to program on Android; unfortunately, not everyone knows quite how to get started with their development environment. Google has put out both the Android SDK and the Android ADT in order to help developers integrate Android into their dev environment as well as facilitate more Android development. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to set up a development environment for Android so you can start creating projects. Android SDK and Android ADT are essentials that you will need to include in your Android Developer Toolbox for use with many things, and can be a very powerful set of components from the simple, to the complicated. When it comes to Android modding, most novice users are confused or left wondering by reference over reference to a certain “adb”. This is specially true when you are looking up something on modding your device, or root it in particular. ADB is the wonder toy of Android and everyone seems to love it, so lets have a look at understanding what it is and why you need it, and how you can get it.What is ADT?
ADT (Android Developer Tools) is a plugin for Eclipse that provides a suite of tools that are integrated with the Eclipse IDE. It offers you access to many features that help you develop Android applications quickly. ADT provides GUI access to many of the command line SDK tools as well as a UI design tool for rapid prototyping, designing, and building of your application's user interface. Because ADT is a plugin for Eclipse, you get the functionality of a well-established IDE, along with Android-specific features that are bundled with ADT. The following describes important features of Eclipse and ADT:
Integrated Android project creation, building, packaging, installation, and debugging
SDK Tools integration
- ADT integrates many development workflow tasks into Eclipse, making it easy for you to rapidly develop and test your Android applications.
Java programming language and XML editors
- Many of the SDK tools are integrated into Eclipse's menus, perspectives, or as a part of background processes ran by ADT.
You can access documentation by hovering over classes, methods, or variables.
- The Java programming language editor contains common IDE features such as compile time syntax checking, auto-completion, and integrated documentation for the Android framework APIs. ADT also provides custom XML editors that let you edit Android-specific XML files in a form-based UI. A graphical layout editor lets you design user interfaces with a drag and drop interface.
- Integrated documentation for Android framework APIsWhat is ADB?
ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge. It comes as a part of the standard Android SDK, which you can grab here in this guide. Basically, it provides a terminal-based interface for interacting with your phone’s file system. Since Android platform is based on Linux, command-line is sometimes the only way to obtain and manipulate root access often required to perform certain advanced operations on your device using root access. While these things can be done directly on the device itself using some terminal emulator, it will be rather difficult to execute complex commands on such a small screen. ADB provides the bridge between your machine and your computer.
Preface: Dev Environment Notes:
Just a general rule to reduce headaches, if you're serious about Android development, your development machine should primarily be a development machine, as installation of other various programs may clutter it up and produce unexpected errors or other bizarre happenings. While this is rare, it’s not uncommon, and an exclusive development machine is recommended. If an extra machine is not available, a virtual machine used as a development machine works very well also. If this isn't an option either, you can always install Ubuntu 12.04 on your Windows PC and select whichever operating system you'd like at boot/reboot. The latter is my setup, since I run Windows 7 primarily, and Ubuntu for selected other functions -namely Android SDK. It's all your preference here, but keep in mind that if you start getting too deep in the rabbit hole with your Android development, you may want to consider a dedicated dev machine, or re-partition your Ubuntu setup to allow for more capabilities within it.
Step 1: Install the JDK
Most of you probably have the Java JRE installed, but Android requires the JDK “Java Development Kit” to compile Java programs. The JDK is available on Oracle’s Java webpage. Install the version of the JDK appropriate for your OS; the Java EE 6 bundle is recommended, but you can install any bundle you like so long as it contains the JDK.
(Getting started on Ubuntu, see THIS PAGE)
Getting started on Windows:
Your download package is an executable file that starts an installer. The installer checks your machine for required tools, such as the proper Java SE Development Kit (JDK) and installs it if necessary. The installer then saves the Android SDK Tools into a default location (or you can specify the location). Make a note of the name and location of the SDK directory on your system—you will need to refer to the SDK directory later, when setting up the ADT plugin and when using the SDK tools from the command line. Once the tools are installed, the installer offers to start the Android SDK Manager. Start it and continue with the installation guide by clicking the Next link on the right. The Android SDK requires JDK version 5 or version 6. If you already have one of those installed, skip to the next step. In particular, Mac OS X comes with the JDK version 5 already installed, and many Linux distributions include a JDK. If the JDK is not installed, go to http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads and you'll see a list of Java products to download.
Linux users: Many Linux distributions come with an open source variant of the JDK, like OpenJDK or IcedTea. While you may be tempted to use these in support of open-source or for whatever reason, for maximum compatibility install the official Oracle JDK. You may choose to ignore this warning, but you may end up encountering obscure, strange errors because of it; if you do, most likely it’s some minor difference in the two JDKs.
Step 2: Install Your IDE of Choice
You can by all means code straight up in Emacs or Vi; if you prefer doing that, this guide is not for you. For the rest of us, install a Java IDE; Eclipse is recommended as it is the IDE that the Android developers use and the IDE with official plugin support from Google. The rest of this guide will assume Eclipse is the IDE you’re using, but NetBeans has Android plugin support for it as well. When you download Eclipse, make sure to download Eclipse Classic or Eclipse for Java EE developers; there are quite a few flavors of Eclipse for download on their page, and you don’t want to end up with the C++ or PHP versions of Eclipse.
These alternatives may be available to obtain a copy of Eclipse for installation:
- Download a current stable build of Eclipse from the Eclipse Web Site; note that the installation file is large (over 120 MB)
- For the recommended package to download and install, click the link Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers on the Eclipse Packages page. For the reason why this is the recommendation, see the following bullets:
- There are a number of downloadable packages available, each a different "flavor" of Eclipse, which can be compared and contrasted from the Compared Eclipse Packages page. The recommended Eclipse package is the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers. This recommendation is made for those who develop in other languages / on other platforms as well, for the following reasons:
- The "slimmer" Eclipse IDE for Java Developers lacks data tools, testing support, and parts of the Web Standard Tookit useful to all Java web application developers
- The Eclipse Classic seems like it ought to be "slimmer" but in fact it is a larger download than the JEE package. Downloading and installing this package, then picking and choosing among additional packages described on the Eclipse Classic page is a viable alternative, but requires each developer to spend time researching the contents and utility of the multiple options.
There is no installer (executable program) used to install Eclipse. The process described below involves un-archiving (unzipping) a directory tree of files and placing it in an appropriate location on your hard disk. It is very strongly recommended that you locate the eclipse\ directory at the root of your computer's hard drive; or, minimally, on a directory path with no spaces in its name (e.g., C:\mystuff\eclipse\. It is worth noting that Eclipse does not write entries to the Windows registry; therefore, you can simply delete (or move) the installed files, shortcuts, and/or the workspace: there is no executable uninstaller either.
- Unzip (or copy/unjar/check-out) the software into an appropriate location on your hard disk (e.g., C:\eclipse).
- These instructions are written assuming that you are running eclipse from C:\eclipse; if you are using a different path, adjust accordingly.
- Once the unzipped (copied/unjarred/checked-out) files are located on your filesystem, get started using Eclipse:
- Run Eclipse by running C:\eclipse\eclipse.exe
- The first time you run Eclipse, you will be prompted to identify a location for your Eclipse workspace. This is where local copies of your projects (files you check in and/or out of code repositories) will live on your file system. Do not create the workspace in a directory path that has spaces in it - i.e., not in the default C:\Documents and Settings\... directory presented by default on the first startup of Eclipse. Instead, it is recommended that your workspace be located at the root of your machine's hard disk, e.g., C:\workspace.
- It is advisable to pass JVM arguments to Eclipse at startup to reserve a larger memory space for the IDE than the default. To, specify recommended JVM arguments, create a shortcut (probably on your desktop) with the following target (modified if you're using different directories):
Code:C:\eclipse\eclipse.exe -jvmargs -Xms128m -Xmx512m -XX:MaxPermSize=128m
Step 3: Install the Android SDK
Now it’s time to install the Android SDK. You can grab it from the Android Developer website at:
Download the installer for your particular operating system, and open it up when you’re done:
Android SDK Manager
The Android SDK Manager is modular, meaning that you download the initial package and then download separate packages within the framework in order to provide more functionality. This lets the SDK be more flexible, as you don’t need to keep downloading entire packages every time a new version comes out; you can simply download the latest module and pop it into the SDK. You can pick and choose which modules to install, but if you’ve got the hard drive space I recommend installing all of the different flavors of Android; it will help later when debugging apps, especially on older Android OSes.
Step 4: Install the Android ADT for Eclipse
NOTE: if you’re using NetBeans, you want the nbandroid plugin, found here:
Now that the SDK is installed, you should install the Android ADT plugin. It’s not strictly necessary to do so, but the ADT offers powerful integration with many of the Android tools, including the SDK Manager, the AVD Manager, and DDMS, or dynamic debugging. All of these are extremely useful to have when creating an Android application, and if you want to skip them you should do so at your own peril!
Eclipse ADT Plugin
To install the ADT, you’re going to have to add a custom software package to Eclipse. To do so, head over to the “Help” button on Eclipse’s menu and click the “Install New Software” button. Click “Available Software”, click “Add Remote Site”, and pop in this URL:
Occasionally, for whatever reason, some people have trouble downloading the ADT from that secure site. If you’re having issues downloading the ADT, simply remove the “s” off the end of the “https”, and the download should work as intended. Once that’s done, head back over to the Available Software tab and check the boxes for Developer Tools, Android DDMS, and Android Development Tools; again, none of these are mandatory, but they’re all going to be very useful later on. The packages will take a bit to download; once they’re done, restart Eclipse!
Step 5: Create an Android Virtual Device (or AVD)
Like the previous step, this step isn’t entirely necessary; you could do all your debugging and development work on an actual Android handset. Creating AVDs is a great way to see how your application might work across different operating systems and handset types, as AVDs can mimic not only different Android OSes but also different hardware; you can change such settings as heap size, display type, and maximum memory, making it useful to try and figure out where bugs are happening when you don’t own a multitude of different handsets to test on! To create an AVD, you can open the Android AVD manager from Eclipse from the “Window” button on the top bar, and go to “Virtual Devices”. From there, you can add, configure and delete them:
Android Virtual Device (AVD) Manager
NOTE: This isn’t IDE specific. For those of you running a different IDE, the AVD Manager can be accessed in the same manner as the Android SDK is accessed outside of Eclipse; this is just a very easy shortcut for those with the Android ADT installed. Need More Help? Try this 30-minute video put together by Guy Cole, that walks you through the complete step-by-step setup.