Android is the world's most used mobile software system, that's why Google has been hard at work to make its development much easier. Hence, the introduction of the Android Software Kit. Before you can start developing, there are a number of ways you need to download the Android SDK as well as some necessary prerequisites. Here is what you need:
Prepare your computer
Before you begin your Android SDK installation, you need to get your computer up and running and ready to go.
Firstly, start by downloading the Java Development Kit designed for the latest version of Java 7. If you choose to work with Java 8 then it won't be as effective, however having them both installed will not cause any issues. In terms of an operating system, most operating systems are likely to work, this includes systems such as x86_64 (64bit) and x86 (32bit) that are powered by Linux and Windows and Macs based on x86_64 Intel. Google has done a great deal to ensure that it works well enough on any system, so you shouldn't encounter any issue.
Installation of the Android SDK
The Android SDK can be installed in two simple ways, you can choose to install the SDK on its own, or alternatively install the Android Studio which the SDK included.
The Android Studio Installation
Google launched an all round software for developers which incorporates essentials such as a virtual machine manager, a full blown IDE, not to mention, the Android SDK. This serves as the simplest form and most likely the best method of using Android SDK. First, download the Android Studio from here and then follow the prompts that pop up on the screen. It is that straightforward, and once everything is set up you can search online for more ways to make the best out of Android Studio.
Installation of the Android SDK package itself
This process is a bit tricky but easy to do. Note however, that downloading the stand alone SDK program has no real added advantage. If you prefer using this approach, download the SDK package from here. Once the package is downloaded, unzip it and move to an easily accessible folder.
Opening of the Android SDK greatly depends on the operating system you are using.
For those running on Windows, simply navigate to the root of the SDKdirectory and double-click on the SDKManager.exe file.
As for Linux and OS X, in the SDK, head into the tools/ folder and launch up a terminal window and key in 'android' to open up the SDK Manager. If this doesn't work however, drag and drop the android executable into the launched terminal window and tap 'enter'.
Once its opened, ensure that the packages listed below are also installed, including other packages necessary for what you want to develop.
- To offer support for new or already existing Android features, Platform-tools such as bmgr, logcat and Android Debugging Bridge, are necessary. Each of these tools has its own function, for instance, the Android Debugging Bridge (ADB) can be used to check the cause of errors, the processess that are running, among other things. bmgr on the hand, is a tool used for the management of the backup manager for devices powered by Android that have an API level of 8 or above. You need ADB in order to access it.
- Build-tools such as ProGuard, zipalign and JOBB, are created to make the Platform-tools even more efficient. But if you need to, you can have them updated independently. JOBB is a tool that lets you develop APK expansions that are either encrypted or unencrypted in OBB format. For the purpose shrinking and keeping your app secure, ProGuard gets rid of unused items, renames the classes and more, making it difficult for anyone to reverse the app's engineering as well as giving it an overall smaller size. Zipalign customizes .apk files to start in an alignment that corresponds with the launch of a file.
- SDK tools are a prerequisite and are applied to whatever Android version you choose to build, these include: tools for debugging, image tools, build tools among others.
- The Android Debugging Bridge and fastboot are also vital in case your device ever experiences issues. Fasboot enables you to wipe or flash partitions on to your device in case if something unexpected ever happens. The advantage of ADB is that allows you to troubleshoot issues either with your apps or the device itself.
Once you have all these installed, you can now start developing.
Google really outdid themselves with the introduction of the all-in-one Android Studio which is basically a one click installation of every requirement necessary to begin Android developing. But if the stand alone Android SDK is the route for you, then its also worth a shot and its configuration is easy. So whats there to stop you from developing?