Android Overview Tutorial: Development Environment


Developers (using Java) need to use the Android SDK in order to build Android apps. As for the development environment, Google recommends developers to use the Eclipse IDE along with the ADT Plugin for Android development. This section talks about how to install the Android SDK, Eclipse IDE and the ADT Plugin in order to complete the Android development environment setup

Android SDK

Android SDK Download

The Android SDK can be downloaded free from the Android Developer website. The Android SDK is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms. For Windows, Google recommends downloading the Android SDK installer.

Android SDK installer

Android SDK Tools Setup

Once you’ve downloaded the installer, launch the Android SDK Tools Setup as shown below.

SDK Tools Setup

The installer tries to detect a valid Java Development Kit installation (JDK) on your computer. If you do not have a JDK installed, you can download it from the Oracle Java Downloads page.

SDK Tools Setup1

In the next step, the installer prompts you to choose the location where to install the Android SDK. Unless you want to use another drive/ directory, it is recommended that you use the standard path chosen by the installer as shown below.

SDK Tools Setup2

In the next step, the installer prompts you to confirm whether you want to create a Start Menu folder for Android SDK Tools.

SDK Tools Setup3

If you do not want to create a shortcut, check the ‘Do not create shortcuts’ checkbox as shown below.

SDK Tools Setup4

Once you click ‘Next’, the installer copies the required files and creates the required shortcuts on your computer.

SDK Tools Setup5

That’s it – the Android SDK Tools installer has completed and the next step is to run the SDK Manager to download appropriate Android SDK.

SDK Tools Setup6

Android SDK Manager

The Android SDK Manager shows a listing of various Android SDKs (along with corresponding API levels) and their installation status. By default, it will show the ‘Android SDK Tools’ as Installed and all other components as Not Installed.

SDK Manager

Unless you want to develop for a specific Android version, it is recommended to choose the latest Android SDK (4.0 in this case). Click the ‘Install 6 packages’ button in order to start installing the appropriate SDK. The Installer will list the various components chosen for installation and prompt you to accept the license terms as shown below.

SDK Manager1

Click on the ‘Install’ button to start the SDK installation. The installer shows a progress bar reflecting the status of installation as well as the expected completion time.

SDK Manager2

You can see the installation logs by clicking on the log window icon at the bottom right of the window.

SDK Manager Logs

Once the installation completes, it will prompt you to restart ADB.

ADB restart

Click on ‘Yes’ and the log window will show that the Android SDK installation has been completed successfully. Click the Close button in order to exit the installer.

Android SDK installation

Installing Eclipse

Most Java developers are familiar with Eclipse. The installation of Eclipse is beyond the scope of this tutorial. If you do not have Eclipse already installed on your computer, download the ‘Eclipse IDE for Java Developers‘ installer and follow the standard installation steps.

Installing ADT Plugin for Eclipse

Google provides the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin for Eclipse IDE for Java developers as it provides a powerful, integrated environment in which to build Android applications. ADT provides several useful tools including build, debug, and simulation of your Android apps. The system requirements for installing ADT Plugin are listed on the System Requirements page on Android Developer website.

In order to install ADT, launch Eclipse and select the Help -> Install New Software option as shown below.

Java Eclipse Installation

Click the ‘Add’ button on the subsequent screen.

Java Eclipse Installation1

Add the following values on the ‘Add Repository’ popup.

Java Eclipse Installation1-1

Once you click the ‘OK’ button, Eclipse fetches the ADT Plugin information from the specified URL. It provides a list of tools available for installation as shown below.

Java Eclipse Installation2

Select the ‘Developer Tools’ and click the ‘Next’ button to begin the ADT plugin installation. The installer then calculates dependencies and generates a list of components that will be installed as shown below.

Java Eclipse Installation3

Click on ‘Next’ and then check the ‘I accept the terms of the license agreement’ radio button to continue the installation.

Java Eclipse Installation4

Click on ‘Finish’ to proceed. The installer will show a progress bar indicating the installation status as shown below.

Java Eclipse Installation5

Eclipse may prompt you that you’re installing software that contains unsigned content. Click ‘OK’ to continue the installation.

Java Eclipse Installation6

Once the installation completes, the installer will prompt you to restart Eclipse.

Java Eclipse Installation7

Restart Eclipse and that’s it – your ADT plugin is installed.