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How to create an Android app, part 1 of 3

Authored by: Mattia Mercato — Jun 10, 2014

Has it ever been your dream to translate one of your own amazing ideas into your very own Android app, which would then be of use to your friends, family and millions of other users, like 2048? The dream can be yours if you follow the steps in our three-part article series. You don’t need to be a programmer, it is easier than you think. Here is how to create your first Android app.

app tutorial 1 teaser
© AndroidPIT

Materials needed

  • JDK: Java Development Kit
  • ADT Bundle: Android Development Tools

1. JDK

What is it?

JDK stands for Java Development Kit and is a set of tools used to create Java applications. In fact, the Android language is nothing more than a "dialect" of Java. JDK contains both build tools and the translator of the bytecode, called Java Runtime Environment (JRE) or the Java virtual machine.

What is its purpose?

The JDK contains all the necessary tools to develop in Java. This tool is indispensable because Android is programmed in Java, and without a JDK, it wouldn’t be possible to compile the code.

How to install

Download the latest version of the JDK from the official website by going to the Oracle website.

tutorial app 1 download jdk
Accept the license agreement and choose the JDK for your operating system. / © AndroidPIT

After you have accepted the contract and downloaded the correct version for your PC, you simply open it to start the installation (note: if you change the destination, you have to remember the path, because it will serve a purpose in one of the next steps).

2. ADT Bundle

What is an ADT Bundle?

The ADT Bundle is an acronym for Android Development Tools and is a package that provides all the tools needed to start developing Android applications. This package contains:

  • Eclipse: An integrated multi-language, multi-platform development environment (IDE), which is only used for Android.
  • ADT plug-in: Android Development Tools, an add-on needed for Eclipse to develop Android applications.
  • AVD: Android Virtual Device, an emulator for any Android device with which we can test our app (for example, you can to test them on a smartphone that you don’t have on hand).
  • API libraries, documentation, Android, licensing information, and more.

What is it used for?

Virtually everything. The ADT Bundle is the heart of Android, and without it, it is impossible to create an application. As you have already read, it contains Eclipse, the program that we use to create our own app: it is a convenient and super customizable emulator with detailed documentation of each version of Android that we want to program (discussed below).

How to install

Download the package from the Android developer site.

tutorial app 1 download adt
You have to accept the conditions here too and choose the 32 or 64-bit architecture./ © AndroidPIT

It's so simple that you don’t even need to install it! After it is finished downloading, extract the zip file with any file manager (such as WinRAR or 7-Zip) in a folder of your choice. I created the folder "Android Development Tools" inside "C:\Program Files\", but anywhere is fine.

As a last step, look for the file "eclipse.exe" in the "eclipse" folder and create a shortcut on your desktop or wherever you prefer. From now on, everything we do to program in Android starts by double-clicking on that link.

Finished! Now we have all the necessary materials to create our first Android app. In the following guide you will learn how to configure the emulator in order to test your future apps. If you have any questions, you can ask in the comments below!

A big fan of computer science and videogames for as long as he remembers, Mattia now has the chance to cultivate his passion developing apps and games for Android. His deep interest for the open source operating system goes from hardware specs to software procedures like rooting and bug fixing, or simply by trying out new apps and features.


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