How I met Android: Part 1

Android is a pretty new platform for me. I’d like to share how I learned about the platform and began developing for it.

Understanding the platform

I think google has done a good job explaining Android in the first part of theĀ developers guide. The What is Android? page gives a short overview targeted at developers. On the Application Fundamentals page you can find an overview of the core concepts that make up an Android application. It’s a long page, but I really recommend reading it completely, as every important concept is presented and explained.

First experiments with Android

I’m a pretty visual person when it comes to programming. I can get a feel for a programming language or a project like Android a lot faster when I just go and experiment with it.

At this point I installed the Software Development Kit. My main OS is Ubuntu, and it’s really easy to get the SDK up and running with Android’s recommended editor, Eclipse. Just follow the Installation Instructions.

Although Android is a pretty big project and the “just experiment”-approach won’t let me understand everything, it has been helpful for me to do the first two tutorials from the Developers Guide, the Hello World and the Hello Views tutorials.

The Reference

In those two tutorials you’re also presented with some links to the Reference, which is the API Documentation. In the reference you can look up any package, interface or class and find out what its classes, methods, arguments etc. are, mean and do.

The Reference is a really useful resource for finding out more about a certain class or method. It also helps in understanding what is happening in tutorials or code you find online. When writing code I often find myself browsing the Reference to find useful methods or related classes.

More Developers Guide

After reading a bit and getting your feet wet in actually programming for Android, I think it’s useful to watch a few videos in the Video section of the developers site and read a lot more in theĀ Dev Guide. Getting through the Dev Guide is a lot of reading and takes a bit of concentration, it’s much easier when already having some experience.

I just combined the reading with experimenting, being stuck in the following loop for a while:

  1. Read about a subject
  2. Write some code that does something with the subject, using something you’ve just read about
  3. Goto 1

I can’t say I’ve read the whole Dev Guide, nor that I read it in the order you’re supposed to read it, but I think I’ve read most of it and got quite a bit more insight in Android by just doing that.

Next time

Next time I’ll explain how I began developing games for Android and which references I used.

3 Responses to “How I met Android: Part 1”

  1. akaIDIOT says:

    Point 3 in your discovery loop of course inevitably leads to unwanted velociraptors, but nice collection links. I’m guessing every starting Android developer would find some refs and sense in what you’re saying :)

  2. Kapil Malani says:

    I really love your game and will review it fully on my little website. Thanks for such a beaut game.

    That apart, I would like some help from you regarding app/game development on android. First of all, I am from commerce, so don’t know anything about coding and all that. Never read one word about Java, CSS, etc etc languages or whatever you call them.

    But, I am very very keen on learning anything that would make me able to make android apps and games. So, would you tell me what languages / stuff I exactly need to learn to equip myself. Like which languages are a must? Plz tell me everything I need to know about.

    I don’t care even if it takes 1-2 years. But with full dedication and self study (I don’t rely on tuition, classes, etc for learning anything, books are my friend!) I believe I can learn all the required stuff in a matter of months. Just what I thought!

    Please let me know. I will be watching this comment thread daily.

    Big thanks!

  3. Roy says:

    Kapil,

    Thanks for the compliment.

    You’ll need to learn programming in general, after that some game-specific programming, then learn Android and write your game ;) I can’t really tell you everything you need to know, there is no set path or anything.

    Just do a lot of self-study in the area of programming and game programming and you’ll learn quite a lot.

    Good luck!

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