Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Intern Story: Begining Android Development (first hand experience)

1:23 AM


Before starting developing Android apps, the development environment is set up. I found it a bit of a hassle, but once it sets up, it works really well. Eclipse is the IDE that I use. I am following the Android training from developer.android.com. Android applications are built in Java and uses XML. The first day is stressful as the vocabulary from the Java and the Android SDK is completely new to me. It takes time to understand and get acquainted with the new vocabulary.

The XML part is straight forward, but linking things like links in websites is a fiddly job. As we can make html pages in website for each page in an Android application we make an Activity. And we can link between activities like we can do in website, which can be done by intent. Intent is an intention to do an action. It is a message from an application saying it wants to perform an action. It lets the applications to interact with each activity and share data. This is a useful feature that helps to move swiftly between the activities, and notify application & user of various events. The activities we link to/from are capable to listen to the intents and respond to them.

The next chapter in developer.android.com is, I feel, not as good as the first because it does not give us the step by step guide of everything in detail. I felt the need to find some other tutorials which could be handy for a beginner like me where every small element is described with examples.

Layouts are the essential things to know when we start learning android. Android layouts are written in XML. It is a resource that defines what to see on the screen which organizes the child controls such as button or text controls or images. I found it easy to start building layouts in XML. There are a number of different layout types that can be used to organize controls on a screen and we can choose the appropriate layout in accordance with our requirement. Layouts can be nested if needed.

I can use the style resource to define the format and look for a UI and the style can be applied to an individual View or to an entire Activity or application. Android uses XML for styles. Android also uses XML for strings, colors and others. A string resource provides text strings for application with optional text styling and formatting.

What I came to know as a thing of vital importance is Android development platform helps to make the application work itself across all the devices with wide variety of resolution, screen sizes, and screen densities by performing scaling and resizing to give user the feeling that using android is one fluid experience. For this, all the images for different screen densities are saved in the drawable resources folder and the system will pick the correct one. The same thing can be done with the layouts, different layouts for small and large screens can be used, and system will use the right one, simply just to fit the screen.

Overall, I'm beginning to grasp Android quickly. I could grasp wee bit of everything I learned. So in my view, through self-learning, Android Development will be challenging and exciting task to do but not a problematic and impossible task. I think, this is the era for the android developers as more and more versatile and powerful smartphones are built on android platforms. We just have to clear our mind and have the “let’s just do it” attitude to self-learn to develop android applications. I do really enjoy working with Android, and will definitely continue to do so in the future.

Written By:Bibash Shrestha
Android Apps / Game Development Intern
After his first week @ first hand experience in Android development

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