This article originally appeared in issue 89 of Linux User & Developer magazine. Subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.
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Android is changing the way that Linux is perceived. It has become the single most widely adopted type of Linux on embedded devices. It is not only popular in the smartphone space but also expanding its coverage to tablets, set‑top Boxes, televisions and appliances. For an Android application developer, this means a broader market to reach out to. We have already covered the introduction to Android development back in issue 83, so this time we go beyond the ‘hello world’ basics and give you the tips and recipes you need to become a better Android developer…
Using an alternative integrated development environment
an important part of any development platform. The IDE lets you make the most of your time by helping you focus on the code and logic rather than doing redundant tasks. Unlike other platforms, the Android SDK does not come with an IDE. Google provides an Eclipse plug-in called ADT (Android Development Tools) for Eclipse. This lets you use Eclipse as an IDE for Android. While ADT is good at basic tasks, it still is very limited in terms of functionality. As you grow as an Android developer, you’ll need more features and power from an Android IDE. So here are some alternative IDEs available for Android that make development both fun and easy:
MOTODEV Studio for Android (Free)
MOTODEV Studio is from phone maker Motorola. It includes the standard Google ADT and builds on top of it. Motorola has added several features that make Android development easier. Important features are…
1. Code snippets: You can use frequently used parts of code as snippets and use them in any number of applications you want. An example of a code snippet would be a code that is needed to initialise a database connection.
2. Database management tools: You can work with SQLite databases using a GUI interface without leaving the IDE.
3. Localisation file editor: This helps you manage strings to create localised applications.
4. Application creation wizards: It is possible to create essential Android classes – such as Content Provider, Service, Activity and Broadcast Receiver – quickly and easily using application creation wizards.
5. Automated SDK download: MOTODEV Studio is capable of executing automatic download, installation and configuration for the latest Android SDK. This is useful for newbies starting out in Android development.
Other features include application signing, Android Market integration and a built-in emulator. You can download MOTODEV Studio for Android from here.
IntelliJ IDEA (Commercial)
IntelliJ IDEA dares to be different in a world dominated by Eclipse-based IDEs. IntelliJ IDEA supports Android using an open source plug-in called idea-android (now part of the commercial distribution starting from version 9). Important features are:
1. Code insight support including code completion and navigation for Android projects.
2. Seamless Android SDK integration.
3. Android project deployment support.
IntelliJ IDEA is a popular Java IDE and has offers a host of excellent features that apply to most Java projects in general, as well as Android ones. IntelliJ IDEA can be downloaded here.