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How to Create Your Own Android Application

Tuesday, August 06, 2013   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Paul Bihn, Twin City Chapter
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Developing Android applications can be easy and fun. There is a whole website devoted to teaching you how to get the free tools, how to setup the environment, how to program, how to run and test, and finally how to publish your app. Hopefully this article will help you navigate thru the website by keeping a few basic concepts in mind. I even give you more specific instructions on how to publish to an actual device!

First of all the website is http://developer.android.com/index.html.

Feel free to browse around, but to make it simple for you, I will give you the links you need for each concept I present, so you can quickly get started and have a reference to come back to.

1. Download and Install the Free Tools
http://developer.android.com/sdk/installing/bundle.html 
This link will walk you thru how to download the free bundle file, and how to install it.

2. Setup the environment

http://developer.android.com/tools/help/sdk-manager.html 
http://developer.android.com/tools/devices/managing-avds.html
 
These links help you setup two major tools you need before you start developing. 
Each tool can be invoked from the menu at the top as follows:

The Android SDK Manager is indicated below.

And the Android Virtual Device Manager.

 

3. Create the project 
http://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/creating-project.html 
I would just follow the instructions for Eclipse and ignore the ones for the command line :)

4. Run the application 
http://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/running-app.html

For now, just skip the 'Run on Real Device' unless you want to do that. The 'Run on the Emulator' section will show you how to create a new emulator if you haven't already – for more details see this link I already included earlier – http://developer.android.com/tools/devices/managing-avds.html. For the most part, to run an application, you just right click on the project, choose 'run', then choose 'Android Application'. Usually it chooses the correct emulator depending on the type of project, but sometimes it may ask which one.

5. Develop the project 
This link gets you started with the basics such as text boxes, strings, buttons, etc.
http://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/building-ui.html.

This link continues with more advanced topics such as events, activities, etc. 
http://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/starting-activity.html.

You may have noticed at the bottom of the pages, there is a 'next' link, you can click to get to more concepts.

 

You can also look at the left-hand side to jump to a particular topic.


6. Publish your application 
This link discusses the various options of publishing 
http://developer.android.com/tools/publishing/publishing_overview.html.

Don't forget to allow installation of 'unknown sources' 
http://developer.android.com/tools/publishing/publishing_overview.html#unknown-sources
On my Android 2.3 phone, this setting is found in Settings, Applications.
On my Android 4.0 Ice Cream sandwich tablet, this setting is found in Settings, Security.
Your device may vary from the above 2 :)

However, if you just want to quickly publish to an actual device: 
First, use the Eclipse wizard to compile, sign, and create the apk
http://developer.android.com/tools/publishing/app-signing.html#ExportWizard.

Follow the instructions to choose 'Export Android Application', then this will appear:

Now click next.

Enter a location to store your keystore, and enter a password for it (twice). 
Note: Next time, you can just choose 'use existing keystore'. 
Now click next.

Enter the fields shown above, but with your own values (these are only suggested). 
Note: You must enter alias, password, confirm (same as password) and validity. Then enter at least one of the other fields (e.g. 'First and Last Name').
Now click next.

Click browse and enter the name you want to store the .apk file as (which is the final product). 
Then click Finish. 
Then email the .apk file to your Google account. 
Use the native Gmail application on your Android device so that it recognizes the .apk file. 
Now pull up the email and click on the install button.

After you click on install, you may need to click another button to verify, then it will install the app!      

Comments...

John Haushalter says...
Posted Monday, August 19, 2013
Nice high level overview Paul!
Kira Kellerman says...
Posted Thursday, August 08, 2013
Awesome, Paul!

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