Lesson 0.2: Notepad for Android developers – Eclipse or Android Studio (so called ADT, ADK, IDE or SDK)
We’ve learn what type of tools we need to start app development, so now is a right time to install them.
Unfortunately a tool to create a code for Android apps isn’t preinstalled in your computer. So you have to download and install it. Don’t worry it’s very simple.
The most popular program for developers is called Eclipse, but recently Google introduced its own tool called Android Studio. Both of them have everything you need and are available for various editions of Windows, Linux and Mac OS X totally for free.
This tutorial is based on Android Studio for Windows, but you could also use Eclipse (it’s possible to migrate later projects from Eclipse to Android Studio). We have chosen Android Studio as it is brand new Google IDE (Integrated Development Environment) dedicated only for Android (Eclipse is universal tool not only for Android applications). Be aware that Android Studio is still early beta version so it has (probably) errors.
By the way – sometimes you could find the name SDK (Software Development Kit) instead of IDE. IDE is usually used for something more complex than SDK, with many helpful tools for developers. But we could simplify and say that IDE and SDK just refers to tools you need to create your apps. Google uses also names Android Development Kit (ADK) or Android Developer Tools (ADT).
Eclipse is served by many websites, but we highly recommend to download it from Google website for Android developers: developer.android.com – choose in menu Develop | Tools | Download (direct link http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html). There you find the whole package Android Developer Tools that includes preconfigured Eclipse for Android apps development.
Android Studio is it in the same section of developer.android.com website as Eclipse (direct link http://developer.android.com/sdk/installing/studio.html).
In both cases you download one file and then follow standard installation process. This process is quite smooth, but in case you have any problems, read instructions available on mentioned above download pages.
Because apps for Android are written in Java programming language (we will come back to Java later) the part of installation process has to be installation of Java Development Kit. This step should be automated, but if you see error that JDK is missing just install it for free from Oracle Java Download website (direct link http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html).
Sometimes Android Studio or Eclipse couldn’t find installed JDK. If you encounter this problem, you need to set an environment variable pointing to JDK folder. There are just a few steps to do it. Right click on Computer icon in Windows and choose System Properties (or Properties in Windows 8). Now click Advanced System Properties (on the left of the window). At the bottom you should have a button: Environment Variables (it’s in the default tab called Advanced). Click it and choose New button located under Environment Variables section. Variable name should be JAVA_HOME and the value JDK folder – something like C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_21 (it depends on Java version – go into Java folder and copy the current value). Now choose OK and OK. It should help immediately, but as always restarting a PC also could be helpful.
After finishing installation of IDE, we’re finally ready to start apps developing.