Beginners think that learning android app development is quite complicated work, but actually, it doesn’t have to be.

Now you are thinking about why is it important to learn android application development?

There are a number of good reasons to answer this question. Android is considered the best mobile operating system in terms of sheet number, and it also stands well above IOS. The android operating system does not just run on phones, it is also compatible with televisions, smartwatches, and tablets. Now updated android apps can even run on Chrome OS.

However, this is also the fact that iOS users spend more on their apps, but now this gap is also starting to close, as android users are also willing to disburse for their software.

Android programming is relatively easy to do, but it is not necessarily simpler to code for android software development. Unlike other platforms, there are some barriers to entering android development.

1.     What is an Android?

Android is an open-source, widely used Operating System owned by Google based on Linux Kernel. The OS was initially designed for Mobile devices, but now it has been expanded for Television, Wearable OS, Gaming Console, Cars, PCs and camera devices.

This tutorial/ article will briefly give an overview of Android OS and create a basic Android App using tools like Android Studio.

1.2 History:

Andy Rubin founded Android in October.2003 at Palo Alto in California, United States.

Later, it was acquired by Google in 2005.

In 2007, Open Handset Alliance was formed by Google and Mobile Device companies like HTC, Samsung, Motorola, etc., to promote a unified Android Platform.

On 22nd October 2008, the first Android phone was released in the Market by HTC. In a few years, Android gained massive popularity and became the mainstream and most-used Mobile platform, currently having users in billions.

Initially, Android was written in Java and C++ language, but now many Programming Languages support development for Android. These are Kotlin, Flutter, Dart, JavaScript frameworks (all are open-source).

Android Facts

1.3 Android Features:

Android OS provides many features, some of which are stated below:

  • Multitasking
  • Multi-touch
  • Modern Browser
  • Support for millions of applications
  • Support for multiple media formats
  • Alternate Keyboard
  • Custom ROM
  • Widgets
  • Accessibility
  • Audio/Video Recording
  • Screen Capture
  • Support for wireless communication

Multitasking:

Android lets you simultaneously run multiple apps on your smartphone. When an app isn’t running, it is suspended or is in a sleeping state where you stopped using it. The apps running in the background take space in memory, whereas the app in a sleeping state doesn’t. For example, you can listen to music while browsing through WhatsApp simultaneously. 

Multi-touch:

Multi-touch refers to multiple fingers touching the screen of the phone at the same time. Android supports multi-touch and has built-in libraries for handling multi-touch. Multi-touch functions vary from device to device. Multi-touch helps in faster typing and provides support for games.

Modern Browser:

Android also lets you surf the internet and browse through websites on mobile phones. Most smartphones having Android use the Google Chrome browser, one of the best browsers and is used widely.

Support for millions of applications:

Android is open-source and supports multiple libraries. Thus, it supports millions of apps; you can run office apps, social media apps, and games on your device because of this feature. Android has Google Play Store installed, from where you can download and install millions of apps free or pay for premium apps.

Support for multiple media formats:

Android is based on Java, extensively used in many fields and provides built-in libraries for different media formats. Android support multiple file formats for media files, including video, audio, images. You can create Images videos using a camera and record and play sound files.

Alternate Keyboard:

Android provides a built-in virtual keyboard for typing. Google provides the default keyboard. It also has a speech recognition function and speech-to-text conversion feature. Not only does it lets you type it also allows you to give commands using the speech recognition feature.

Custom ROM:

Since Android is open-source, it means you can edit compile the existing android operating system for enhanced functionality and do more productivity with a better performance. You can uninstall the pre-installed apps or add your own security features to Android. However, it’s recommended that you have intermediate knowledge of Android Development.

Widgets:

Widgets are applications customised for the home screen. You can customise app widgets or resize them according to your preference. There are multiple widgets types supported by Android, including control widgets, information widgets, collection widgets, etc.

Accessibility:

Android is super user-friendly. One of its reason is that it acts according to many compliances for disabled users. The accessibility feature includes magnifying gestures, speech recognition, and speech output. You can also install other accessibility tools in Android as required.

Audio/Video Recording:

Android lets you capture, view, edit pictures and record audio/video using the gallery and camera app through native app development. This also allows you to do audio/video calls with a camera and microphone.

Screen Capture:

In Android smartphones, you can capture screens. A newer version of Android offers a built-in screen recording. If your smartphone does not have the latest version, you can install different apps from Play Store for the recording screen.

Support for wireless communication:

Android also offers networking support. Android Phones uses Bluetooth technology, WIFI, GSM, 3G/4G for wireless communication. Also, it supports cloud storage.

1.4 Android Version

Android OS versions are named after desserts, just like intel named their version after rivers.

Below mentioned are Android OS versions up till now:

Android 1.1Petit Four
Android 1.5Cupcake
Android 1.6Donut
Android 2.0/2.1Eclairs
Android 2.2Froyo
Android 2.3/2.4Ginger Bread
Android 3.0/3.1/3.2Honeycomb
Android 4.0Ice-cream Sandwich
Android 4.1Jelly Bean
Android 4.3/4.4KitKat
Android 5.XLollipop
Android 6.XMarshmallow
Android 7.XNougat
Android 8.XOreo
Android 9.XPie
Android 10.XQ

2. How is it easy to create something popular on Android?

Before proceeding with the android app development for beginners, it is necessary to install the Android SDK, and you can download Android JDK set up online. It’s all free. Invest a few minutes in reading this blog, and you will see how easy that is to set up soon.

The more you read this blog, the more you will know that android app development isn’t that hard. Most of the time, you can do this task through a visual designer, or still, if you are stuck, then plenty of tutorials are available online to guide you, to teach you every step of developing android apps.

After getting your app in working condition, it’s very simple to make its APK, submit it to the google play store, allow other people to install and use it. Google play store will charge once for uploading apps, and then you’ll be able to upload apps.

Important Information: APK is a file that contains your app, ready to install and run.

After an auto review process, you will see your app within a few hours at the Google play store. The google play store makes it easy for people to find and download the app of their choice and need. Instead of a route to market, it is very easy to write out a word at the search bar of the google play store, select the app and start enjoying android app developers’ creations.

You can create something popular according to the country’s situation or leading matter and get success in a few days. It is easier to create something on Android than having success on a PC or MAC.

You can make a career by polishing your skills in basic application development. You just need to get a basic knowledge of android programming and a little bit of practice, then you will be able to create a professional-looking android app. Just release it on google play store and get billions of audiences in no time.

However, Java is considered the official programming language of Android; kotlin is another official language of Android. It is very similar to Java and C#. So, if you want to change your platform of coding language, you can easily transfer your skills to other roles.

The ease of use makes Android a perfect development platform. It is difficult to find a compatible platform if you develop a PC. It is considerably harder for the audience to get the app released on iOS, which means fewer audiences attract.

Android development means building an app for portable devices in our pocket or placing our app on the store so that many people can check, install and run whenever they want.

3.      What Is Best to Choose: Kotlin Or Java?

Before starting android app development, you need to learn the best programming language like Java or Kotlin. Kotlin is used as an alternative to Java, both are performing the same work, but kotlin can reduce the amount of code you need to write.

However, Java is widely used and recognised by android app developers. Nowadays, Google is pushing hard to use kotlin for android development; that’s why more coders are switching from Java to kotlin.

4.      Overview of android app development for beginners:

  • Firstly, you need a computer with some decent specifications; then you will need to install a few things:
  • Android studio.
  • Android SDK.
  • Java JDK.
  • Download the latest version of android studio at the time of writing this blog, the latest version of android studio is 3.2.1; however, it changes rapidly. You can check and install online the latest version of an android studio at Developer.Android.
  • Now android SDK comes with the android studio, so you don’t need to download it separately.
  • Just download Android studio and Java JDK, then start working.

3.1 What is JDK?

JDK is the Java development kit used to enable the computer to understand and interpret java code. You will need JDK for the rest of android development because your app will be written in java language. Once JDK downloads and starts working properly, you don’t need to touch this again until you change your working device.

3.2 What is Android Studio?

Android studio is used as an integrated development environment for mobile app development. Android studio will act as a central hub for developing android apps. This is the path you can use to write java code and run and debug apps. Android studio can also allow the users to manage all project files and provide the interface for coding and testing, but in order to do this, it requires some other elements.

3.3 What is the SDK?

The short form of the software development kit, SDK, consists of selecting tools required for android development. SDK will serve as a bridge between the java and android devices, as it contains features that will help compile and run your app’s Java code.

Benefits of SDK:

The SDK comes with the android studio, so you just need to install an android studio and start doing your work. As with the JDK, you don’t need to interact directly. The android studio will do this for you. Other than JDK installation, the android studio will also handle most of the other installations and set them up on your behalf.

4 Tools and Technologies for Android:

There are many tools for developing applications in Android. One of these is the Android Studio. Android Studio is the official IDE for building applications targeted for the Android platform. It is based on JetBrains IntelliJ Idea. Android Studio provides a robust environment for instantly developing apps in Android with a built-in emulator, testing frameworks and tools for version compatibility.

Let’s build an app in Android Studio

Android Studio

5.      Building a Basic App

Once you have installed Android Studio, JDK and JRE, you are ready to develop your first Android App.

You will create your basic Hello World app by using a template. The app prints Hello World on the screen. The output Screen for the app will look like, as mentioned in the screenshot below:

Basic Android App

Open the Android Studio installed in the previous step.

  • Select Start a new Android Studio Project from the main Welcome to the Android Studio window.
Android Studio
  • Set Application Name as Hello World in Create Android Project Window and click Next.Select Start a new Android Studio Project from the main Welcome to the Android Studio window.
Android Project

Note: Make sure the location you have set for Project location by default has enough space or change the directory according to your preference.

You will be prompted to another window in which you will be selecting targeted Android Devices.

  • Select the Target Platform as Phone and Tablet and your desired API level. For this tutorial, we are using Android 4.0.3 IceCreamSandwich. Select Next.
Android Devices

Add the Activity window appears.

  • Select Empty Activity from the Activity Templates provided and click Next.
Mobile Activity

Once the Activity template has been selected, you will be prompted to another window for Configuring Activity.

  • Verify that the Activity Name is set as MainActivity. Click Finish.
Configure Activity

You will be prompted to the Android Studio editor and create the project folder, including all project resources and building Project with Gradle (it can take some time based on the efficiency of your system). Useful tips and shortcuts can be seen when your project loads, thus making Android Studio beginner-friendly.

  • Select activity_main.xml if not already selected. The layout editor shows a graphical interpretation of your main screen.
App Design
  • Select MainActivity. Java to view code for the screen.
App Development

You have viewed the Layout window and Code Editing window. Let’s explore other Android Studio features to understand better creating a simple android app.

The Android Pane contains three tabs Project, Structures and Captures if Project Pane is not open by default, select Project Pane from the vertical left tab.

To view project in Standard hierarchy

  • At the top of the project pane, select Android from the pop-up menu.
Android

There is an app folder and the Gradle folder in the Project hierarchy, which contains external binaries and library modules required for your app to work successfully.

Scripts
  • Select the build.Gradle(Project: HelloWorld) file to view its properties
Build Gradle

This file contains common configuration options for your project

Repositories
  1. Similarly, click build.gradle(Module: app) to view its properties.
Build Gradle

Build.Gradle(Module:app) opens. This file is often the file to be edited when modifying app-level settings, like declaring dependencies in the chapter on dependencies. You can declare a library dependency using one of several distinct dependence settings. Each setup of dependency offers Gradle with different instructions on using the library.

Plugin

Next, expand the App folder to view app folders and files. The app folder contains two folders, Manifests and java folder. Java folder contains packages required for your application, and MainActivity.java class is present in this folder. All the backend code files will be placed here.

Main Activity

Expand the res folder to view its subfolders and files. The res folder contains XML files or layout files. Using drag and drop features, you can add elements to your android screen, which are added in this XML file.

App Layout

You have successfully learned about Folder hierarchy and how these work in Android Studio for the Simple Hello world app.

In the current section, we will study creating a Virtual Device. Next, you will learn how you can test or validate your application. For this, you can either create a virtual device in Android Studio or test by installing an APK file on your phone.

To create an Android Virtual Device,

  • From Top Menu Bar in Android Studio, Tools → Android → AVD Manager.

The virtual Device dialog box opens and displays virtual devices available.

  • Click Create Virtual Device.
Virtual Devices

A new dialog box opens displaying Select Hardware options. Hardware Devices downloaded displays. Dimensions for each device are also displayed.

  • Select a Device from the given Hardware devices and select Next.
Hardware Selection

System Image dialog box appears.

  • Verify that the Recommended tab is selected. Then select Version for Android for your Virtual device. For these tutorials, Oreo is selected. Click Next.
System Image

Once you have selected configuration, click Finish to proceed.

You have successfully learned how to create an Android Virtual Device using the Android Virtual Device Manager (AVD). Next, let’s test or run your Hello World App.

To run Hello World App,

  • Select Run → Run app or click  Run Icon.

Select Deployment Target dialog appears.

  • Select the virtual device you created in previous steps from the devices available section and click OK.
USB Devices

The Emulator boots, just like smartphones, starts. Depending upon the performance and speed of the local machine, the emulator will load faster. Once the emulator starts, your app will be launched in the device and can be seen in the screenshot below:

Hello World

You have successfully learned to test your application using the emulator.

For mobile app development, you need to write code in Java or kotlin language. Java provides additional functionalities like various images, music, layout files, and other resource files. You can write your code in an android studio, hit the run or export button your written code or all assets are placed in one zip file called APK. This APK is compressed and like a.exe, which works as an installation file. After creating APK, you just need to share and run a single file. It is an easy way to distribute your program.