5 Tips to Get Started on Android App Development
The Android OS is used on more mobile devices than any other OS. That means you can reach the biggest audience with an Android app. That is, if you can successfully compete with the thousands of already existing apps. So, if you’re ready to get started, take a look at these five Android app development tips to steer you in the right direction.
Get Familiar with Your Android Development Environment
You can’t build an app without the right tools and knowledge. First, download the Android SDK. Then, get the ADT plugin for Eclipse and use the SDK manager to get all of the latest developer tools. An alternative to Eclipse is Netbeans. Of course, you’ll also need to know Java and automation tools like Apache Maven, Apache Ant, and Gradie. Developing Android apps isn’t hard, but you need all the right tools and some know-how. If you’ve never programmed anything before, you’ll want to watch some videos and experiment with all of the tools before you get started.
Pattern Your App After Sample Code
It’s really hard to build an app from the ground up, and why should you when there are several samples in the Android SDK? You can grab all of the major functionalities you want for your app from the Demos and then modify your app from there. There are also more complicated Android projects on the Google Code site to help you out even further. Just make sure to check the code license and give credit where credit is due. There’s no harm in using sample code as a starting point. As a matter of fact, it’s the best way for a beginner to get started. Sample code will save you a lot of time and make your apps turn out better.
Consider Device Orientation and Screen Size
One common mistake people make when developing apps is that they only design for one device without realizing that it will look different on a bigger screen or different layout. Avoid this problem by coding in parameters that adjust for screen size as well as orientation. For instance, choose bitmaps that scale correctly and configure the UI layout to accommodate your needs. Look up the “fill_parent” and “wrap_content” codes. Then, don’t forget to test your app on several different devices to make sure it works on all of them. If it doesn’t, you put yourself at risk of getting bad reviews. There are app emulators to help you do the testing.
Implement Android Features Users Have Come to Expect
Android developers have access to lots of fancy features, but there are a few that users have come to expect out of all good apps. For instance, text-to-speech, speech recognition, and Google Maps are considered standard on Android phones. These are all features you need to implement in your app. Even if you’re just designing a simple app, users get frustrated when they try to use common Android features and find out they are unable to do so.
Avoid Images to Make Your App Run Smoother.
Using an image for a button or background might make your app look cool, but it will also make it run slow. When possible, avoid using images. When you have to use them, opt for low resolution images that minimize load time. Users get annoyed when they have to wait for something to load. Plus, images can be distracting from the purpose of your app. Of course, Android does has multiple states of view, so you can use images for some parts of your app and eliminate them for others. Large images also risk the problem of ANR (Application Not Responding) dialog. Images are just plain bad news of Android apps.
These are just a few tips to help you get started as an Android app developer. You’ll have to spend a lot of time experimenting to get the results you want. Just remember that there are a lot of tools and samples at your disposal if you get stuck. Developing apps is a useful skill that can take a business or any other venture to a new level. Good luck!