This chapter is an introduction to building a complete Android app. The chapter includes creating a new app project, exploring the components of an Android app, setting up the emulator to run and test apps, and building a variation of the traditional Hello World app. This and the following chapters in this part assume that you have access to Eclipse and that it is set up for Android development.
If this is not the case, refer to Appendix A, “Installing Eclipse and Setup for Android Development” before continuing. Starting a New Project Eclipse is a powerful, open source, integrated development environment (IDE) that facilitates the creation of desktop, mobile, and web applications. Eclipse is a highly versatile and adaptable tool. Many types of applications and programming languages can be used by adding different “plug-ins.”
For example, plug-ins are available for a very large number of programming languages as diverse as COBOL, PHP, Java, Ruby, and C++, to name a few. Additionally, plugins provide the capability to develop for different platforms, such as Android, Blackberry, and Windows. Many of the tools in the Eclipse IDE will be explained through the act of developing an Android app. Android is a mobile operating system designed for smartphones and tablets.
The operating system is very powerful, enabling access to a diverse set of hardware resources on a smartphone or tablet. Android is provided by Google and is continually updated, improved, and extended. This makes the development of apps for Android smartphones and tablets both exciting and challenging.
As with Eclipse, the many features of the Android environment are best explained through the act of developing an app. 97803e21947864_Book 1.indb 31 11/21/13 2:56 PM ptg11524036 32 Chapter 3 Using Eclipse for Android Development Setting up the Workspace Eclipse uses the concept of a workspace for organizing projects.
Because Eclipse can be used to develop many types of applications, this is very useful. A workspace, in reality, is just a folder on some drive on your computer. The folder contains the application’s code and resources, code libraries used by the application (or references to them), and metadata that is used to keep track of environment information for the workspace.