An Introduction to Android Application Development
Android: the world’s most widely used mobile operating system. With over 24,000 types of distinct Android devices made available by a broad range of manufacturers, it is a direct competitor of Apple. Android is designed primarily for smartphones, tablets, and other touchscreen devices. But its reach also extends to consoles and domestic robots.
When it comes to setting up the development environment, you will need to download Android Studio and the Android SDK (Software Development Kit), both of which come packaged together. Let’s define both.
Android Studio is an IDE (integrated development environment), fundamentally an interface that allows access to all necessary development tools, once you enter your code (Java, Kotlin, etc.).
Android SDK is the collection of all the tools, libraries and APIs (application programming interfaces) that you will need to build your application and test it, while you debug your code.
Thorough planning, research, and focus is central to the development process. For producing a successful application, the development cycle can be broken down into stages such as:
Planning – Even before you begin with the development process, the desired target audience, a clear vision, and the required functionality of the application needs to be defined explicitly. This is achievable through extensive market research and preparation of terms of reference (TOR).
Design – Create a mockup and user interface. Once approved, the designer should work on the final look of the application. This is what the users will potentially experience on their devices.
Development – This is where the programmers come in. An application is created, using the approved design as a blueprint.
Testing – A quality assurance engineer must inspect the app thoroughly following its development. The app’s functionality must be tested and any errors must be eliminated.
Launch & Maintenance – After effective testing, the app is ready to be released into the Android marketplace, commonly as Google Play. On-demand technical support, efforts for improved performance, and addition of new features must follow suit after launch for consistent and efficient maintenance.
Zooming in on the actual development, there are plenty of programming languages that can be used for creating an Android application. The two most popularly used are:
Java – Designed 25 years ago, it’s an object-oriented, cross-platform language and the official and primary programming language for Android apps. Programming with Java is an intensive process that requires a lot of time and experience. If wanting to get into professional development, this is the language to choose. It’s also by far one of the most in-demand languages in the world.
Kotlin – Relatively much newer (with it only being released in 2016), it’s much more comfortable to use and easier to learn for complete novices. In fact, Kotlin has now become Google’s preferred choice for Android app development and is destined to become even more common going forward.
Easy App Acceptability – Android’s quality assurance system is not very stringent, especially when compared to Apple’s, and provides a very favorable and simple app acceptance process. The marketplace allows for audience sneak peeks and is much more cost-efficient.
Hardware Independence – Java’s cross-platform process minimizes any hardware requirements for Android app development. Moreover, all Android development tools can be downloaded and used on Windows, Mac OS, Linux.
Learning Resources – As of now, Google offers its very own Android development training program for beginners, established engineers, and other programming enthusiasts. Their interactive course, coupled with their training bootcamp experience, provides an easy-to-learn self-study opportunity.
Instant Apps – Aimed at enabling customers to try out applications before installing them on their devices, Instant Apps are much faster, more easily available, and substantially engaging. It gives users a valuable preview of the paid app. They’re also easily shareable. The building process is fairly easy too, since only minor configurations are required for publishing. More importantly, Instant Apps provide an additional entry point for the users, which brings us to our next point.
Multiple Entry Points – Built as a blend of different components that can be summoned individually, Android apps provide users multiple entry points for a single application. One component can either be used to start another component, or a component can be started in a different app altogether.
High Adaptability – Android provides a very adaptive application framework. This permits the use of unique resources for distinct device configurations. For instance, XML (Extensible Markup Language) layout files can be created for various screen sizes. The system then analyzes the current device’s size in order to apply a specific layout to it.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) – Finally, the rife use of AI-based apps like FaceApp and Prisma and an increased development and incorporation of features like chatbots, smart predictions, and voice translations, is helping us accomplish a plethora of tasks on a daily basis.
All in all, it’s more important now than ever, to leverage and reap the benefits of Android app development. It’s a must for new and growing businesses to cease the operational and strategic advantages offered by this platform, and exponentiate business revenue.
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