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Apps development for Android step by step

Lesson 0.4: Basic information about structure of a project and Android Studio interface: what is what

Ugly gray screen and confusing information “No files are open” – that’s all we can see after establishing the first app (creating a new project). Probably Google should spend more time on User Experience, but we’re here not to complain about the interface. So where to start?

Step 1: Click the project tab on the left of the screen.

Click the Project tab to see project tree of your app (Android Studio)

Click the Project tab to see project tree of your app (Android Studio)

Step 2: When you expand first element yuo will see a big tree of various folders and file. Ignore 99% of them. You have to navigate to layout folder which includes files describing what would be visible on the device screen. There is some heavy clicking in front of us: double click MyFirstAndroidAppProject  (or your project name), double click MyFirstAndroidApp (or your app name), double click src folder, double click res folder, double click layout folder and finally double click activity_main.xml file.

Navigate through the project tree to activity_main.xml file in Layout folder (Android Studio)

Navigate through the project tree to activity_main.xml file in Layout folder (Android Studio)

Step 3: Wow – almost a Xmas tree in front of us! But calm down at this stage we don’t need to know what are all those options. We have just opened the file with the layout of our first app and that was our goal. This app does one thing – displays on the screen text “Hello world!”. This simple function was already implemented – we would modify it later on our own.

This is a design view of your app. You could hide unnecessary panels by clicking Hide Icon in the left corners of them (Android Studio)

This is a design view of your app. You could hide unnecessary panels by clicking Hide Icon in the left corners of them (Android Studio)

There are many various tabs and windows visible which we will familiarize in not so far future. At this stage just for better orientation we have:

  • main menu in the top with many, many not needed now options
  • file & folders list below menu just for better orientation where is located opened file
  • tabs on left & right edges of the screen (like Palette or Designer)
  • windows in the middle (Palette, Project, activity_main.xml file preview, Component Tree, Properties); we could click on marked tabs on left and right or click hide icons to leave only windows we need
  • some additional options at the bottom not important now
Android Studio interface has many options, but we will need only a few at the beginning

Android Studio interface has many options, but we will need only a few at the beginning

At the beginning all we need is the window with activity_main.xml file (the rest we could hide). This would be our first work area.

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