Android is to be the world’s most popular phone OS. The population of Android users grows every day creating a market for both software and hardware developers. Currently, in the market, there are numerous devices that use Android. The features and capabilities of these devices get better with the release of new Android versions.
Android appeals to both the consumers and developers alike. In fact, Android users download more than 1.5 billion apps and games from Google Play each month. This has led to an increased number of Android developers.
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As a developer, working with Android is efficient and fulfilling. Android lets you build numerous applications that are in sync with the current technology. You also get a ready-made platform to market and sell your app in form of the Google Play Store and other app stores like Amazon AppStore which host Android applications.
The cherry on top is the tools you get for creating apps that will look good and take advantage of the hardware capabilities of the device.
The Android developer tools, help you to come up with apps that will run on the OS with ease. Choosing a developer tool to work with can be challenging since there are a number of them in the market. Still, there are a number of Android developer tools you just cannot miss. Here is a look at some of them.
- Android Studio.
This is the fundamental and official IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for Android. It provides the fastest tools for building apps for every type of Android device. This IDE permits you to reach entirely what you need without a requirement to leave the IDE itself.
Android Studio has features which enable the development of unique and high-quality apps. Key among them are;
- Instant Run- It significantly increases the speed of your development process like editing, runs and build cycles.
- Intelligent Code Editor-It enables you to be more productive, writing better codes faster.
- Android Emulator 2.0 – It allows for a faster installation and running of apps better than what you can achieve on a physical device. It also allows testing of apps on any android configuration.
- A strong and flexible build System-It simplifies configuration to include code libraries and creation of multiple build variants from a single project.
- Google Cloud Platform compatibility-It easily integrates Google Cloud messaging with app engine.
The programming languages that can be used are Java, C, C++, and Kotlin. Android Studio runs on OS like Windows, macOS, and Linux
Working with Android emulator can be a bit hectic. Starting the emulator and running an app is an extremely slow and tedious process. Genymotion provides features that solve this problem.
- It comes with a Java API which enables you to configure virtual device sensors without ever having to change the main Android application code.
- Genymotion cloud is free to use allowing for easy integration with popular IDEs such as Android Studio.
- Gradle plugin-With Genymotion you get to work with Gradle build system. This plugin makes it easy to write and test codes.
- Continuous Integration Support offers you the convenience of using your preferred CI infrastructure with android virtual devices hosted on the Genymotion
- Live Sharing-You get to demo the android applications functionality, through web browser enabling you to get market feedback before application is complete
- Android Virtual Device Sharing-Developers working on the same projects, get to easily share custom Android virtual device configurations faster.
The programming languages that can use include java, python, ruby and others It runs OS like windows, macOS, Linux
- Android Debug Bridge (ADB)
This is a command-line tool that can be used to communicate with or run on a connected Android device which can either be virtual or physical. ADB is a client-based based program whereby the client sends commands, the daemon runs the commands on the Android device and the server oversees the client and daemon communication. Other than making debugging an Android Wear app easier, ADB has other vital command-based features;
- Install command-allows you to install an APK on a connected device or on an emulator.
- Forward command-allows you to forward requests on a certain host port to a different port on a device.
- Push and Pull command allows you to copy files to or from a device.
- ADB Kill-server command –allows you to stop ADB server when you need to terminate and restart ADB server to solve a problem.
- ADB commands Reference-You can issue ADB commands from the machine or from script
ADB runs on windows, macOS, and Linux. Java and Python programming languages can be used.
PhoneGap has a command line interface, a GUI and a mobile app that simplifies development. You can create apps that can run on multiple mobile platforms. Its cross-platform application framework has not only ensured efficiency but also the quality development of high-end apps. Due to this and features discussed below, is the reason its popularly used.
- The robust backend reduces development efforts.
- Open source nature allows you to pick up new codes and modules for free
- Its flexibility enables development of any type and category of mobile application with minimal efforts
- Easy to install and use.
- The Large plug-in library provides you with a lot of options for development.
HTML, CSS and JAVA Script programming languages can be used. It runs on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Windows phone
Before the onset of Android Studio, Eclipse was the primary development tool. It allows you to contribute to projects without necessarily installing the software. It is majorly used to develop java apps but through plug-in, it can be used to develop apps in other languages. Eclipse has vital features discussed below;
- Desktop IDEs allow combination of various languages support and other features
- Cloud IDEs which allow you to develop your app even when on the move
- IDE Platforms which enable extensive customization abilities
- A Large market for IDEs at Eclipse Marketplace Client t for new plugins.
- Extensive customization Abilities-Eclipse Market Place allows virtually unlimited customization and extension.
- Visual Studio (with Xamarin)
Visual Studio can be used to develop cross-platform apps when integrated with Xamarin.It is majorly used to create native iOS, windows and android apps with c#/.NET code base. The best thing about this app is its ability to reuse codes across platforms. The following are its features;
- Support for multiple Languages-It gives you the luxury of working with the programming language of choice
- Cross-platform mobile development Support-It saves time and resources by allowing reuse of codes
- It uses refactoring source analysis which makes re-organizing code simpler.
- Xamarin Inspector integrates with the debugging app making it possible to debug and inspect the running up simultaneously
- It comes with Integrated testing
It supports dozens of programming languages and runs on windows, macOS, and Linux
Basic for Android (B4A) is rapid application development tool for development of Android apps. Just as the name suggests basic programming language is used, making android programming simpler. B4a happens to an active tool for development due to the following features;
- Compiles to native bytecode-due to this feature no runtime libraries are required
- Uses object-oriented programming Languages which are easy to write
- Simple and powerful RAD tool for developing native Android applications
- Has a rapid debugger for quick deployment, code swapping, and expression watches.
- Powerful designer script feature which allows one to create sophisticated layouts.
Uses Python, Java, Ruby and other Objected Oriented Programming languages. Majorly runs on Windows and Linux
- App Inventor for Android
This is a developer tool that is aimed at helping novice developers, including children, create their first app. This is possible since it uses block-based programs. It allows development of complex, high impact apps in a very short time. Its ease of use is due to the features explained below
- Browser-based development- You can use this tool directly from the browser hence saving you a lot of storage space.
- Drag and drop interface enhances the speed and ease of app development
- Tutorials for new users-one can easily learn on their how to develop apps easily and within a short time.
- Tools for packaging and sharing apps-an app in source code form is loaded into an app inventor and remixed.
- Resources for Educators-It has libraries that can guide android developer educators to teach with ease.
Runs on few operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS.Kawa is the programming language that is used.
According to App Annie’s market forecast, consumers are likely to spend $139billion by 2021.This explains the increased number of developers targeting the mobile platform. As developers strive to create apps that satisfy the consumers, they are faced with the challenge of choosing the IDE to work with.
It becomes vital for you to learn and understand the various developer tools that exist so as to make an informed decision. You should settle for nothing less than a developer tool that is efficient and aids in delivering quality apps.
Over the many years we’ve been in operation, ITI College has built a solid reputation for itself in the tech space teaching inquisitive minds the latest in technology development.