Now that we’ve got all the Java jdk stuff out of the way, it’s time to install the IDE, Android Studio.
But Gavin, I like simple editors! Couldn’t I just use one of those?
Theoretically, yes, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In Android, there are plenty of files, folders, and subfolders needed in a project for it to run as a native Android app, and you won’t need to touch a good bit of them. There’s also Gradle, a build system for Android that comes rolled in with Android Studio, a pretty big necessity. Finally, most of the community developing for Android natively(not a word, I know) uses Android Studio, and you’ll see a lot of community support in that vein.
Alright, alright. You sold me. Now how do I get Android Studio?
Since Android Studio is Google’s flagship IDE, you can get it by heading over to the Android Developer’s Site to download and install it.
What comes with Android Studio?
By default, you’ll get the IDE, the Android SDK, and an Android Virtual Device. The Virtual Device is an emulator made for testing, though it’s infamous for being slow and clunky. Don’t you worry, there’ll be more posts on other options, but for now, go ahead and leave it be.
Okay, so I installed it. Now what?
Kick up a new project, silly! Like most programs, you can do this by clicking ol’ reliable “File-> New”. You’ll be asked to give the application name and the company domain for your app. The convention for this is to use whatever the domain is for the app’s promotional website.
Clicking “Next” will bring you to a dialog that asks which platforms your all will run on. Android is pretty cool in that nowadays, it can run on your phone, tablet, wrist, and tv. Targeting different platforms and different versions of the platform allow you to make your app as high-reaching as possible. Choosing the minimum sdk tells you the earliest version of Android your app will support. There’s also a handy feature wherein we’re told how many devices are running which version of the OS.
After all that’s done, you’re finally in the development environment. Much like Visual Studio with Windows app development, Android Studio gives you the benefit of creating files and dependencies needed for your Android app. You can also do things like design the UI of your app with either the design view or the editor and incorporate packages into your app from the development environment.