Configuring Your Development Environment - Android

To write Android applications, you must configure your programming environment for Java development. The software is available online for download at no cost.Android applications can be developed on Windows, Macintosh, or Linux systems.

To develop Android applications, you need to have the following software installed on your computer:

  • The Java Development Kit (JDK) Version 5 or 6, available for download.
  • A compatible Java IDE such as Eclipse along with its JDT plug-in, available for download.
  • The Android SDK, tools and documentation, available for download .
  • The Android Development Tools (ADT) plug-in for Eclipse, available for download through the Eclipse software update mechanism. For instructions on how to install. Although this tool is optional for development, we highly recommend it and will use its features frequently throughout this book.

A complete list of Android development system requirements is available.

Configuring Your Operating System for Device Debugging

To install and debug Android applications on Android devices, you need to configure your operating system to access the phone via the USB cable. On some operating systems, such as Mac OS, this may just work. However, for Windows installations, you need to install the appropriate USB driver. You can download the Windows USB driver.

Android application debugging using the emulator and an Android handset.

Android application debugging using the emulator and an Android handset.

Configuring Your Android Hardware for Debugging

Android devices have debugging disabled by default. Your Android device must be enabled for debugging via a USB connection in order to develop applications and run them on the device.

First, you need to enable your device to install Android applications other than those from the Android Market. This setting is reached by selecting Home, Menu, Settings, Applications. Here you should check (enable) the option called Unknown Sources.

More important development settings are available on the Android device by selecting Home, Menu, Settings, Applications, Development. Here you should enable the following options:

  • USB Debugging: This setting enables you to debug your applications via the USB connection.
  • Stay Awake: This convenient setting keeps the phone from sleeping in the middle of your development work, as long as the device is plugged in.
  • Allow Mock Locations: This setting enables you to send mock location information to the phone for development purposes and is very convenient for applications using location-based services (LBS).

Android debug settings.

Android debug settings

Upgrading the Android SDK

The Android SDK is upgraded from time to time. You can easily upgrade the Android SDK and tools from within Eclipse using the Android SDK and AVD Manager, which is installed as part of the ADT plug-in for Eclipse.

Changes to the Android SDK might include addition, update, and removal of features; package name changes; and updated tools. With each new version of the SDK, Google provides the following useful documents:

  • An Overview of Changes: A brief description of major changes to the SDK.
  • An API Diff Report: A complete list of specific changes to the SDK.
  • Release Notes: A list of known issues with the SDK.

You can find out more about adding and updating SDK components .

Problems with the Android Software Development Kit

Because the Android SDK is constantly under active development, you might come across problems with the SDK. If you think you’ve found a problem, you can find a list of open issues and their status at the Android project Issue Tracker website. You can also submit new issues for review.

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