Are you an aspiring Android developer or would you like to learn how to create applications that are installed on mobile phones? Then you are in the right place.
Developing applications that are compatible with the mobile devices that we use seems to be hard or not straightforward if one lacks a good background or foundation that will guide you on how to start but it is not.
Applications that work on our devices are of different types. Not any app that is made or developed can be compatible or can work on any device. Devices are operated by the use of operating systems and the most common ones are android, ios and Microsoft windows, and many more.
For this article, we shall focus on the basics that are involved to begin developing Android applications or applications that are compatible with the android operating system that is owned by Google.
First of all, you should familiarize yourself with the android environment which is documented well on the google android developers’ website and can be accessed at this link https://developer.android.com/
What is Android
Android is an operating system found in mobile devices that supports the running of applications for the mobile devices that are commonly referred to as smartphones
Android was introduced in the year 2003 and began its operation as an operating system for smartphones in the year 2004 as an advancement of its initial function which was an operating system for digital cameras.
For the last couple of years that android has been in existence, there have been several versions of android. Each version of Android has a specific feature that stands out from the other previous version.
When mobile devices are launched they are made to support a certain android version and you will notice that a certain mobile device does not have or does not support a certain feature simply because the android version that the mobile phone is on does not have that feature.
The worst thing that happens in the android version is that an application that you want to install on your phone and you are alerted that the app is not compatible with your phone. The solution is just to upgrade to another mobile phone that has a higher android version
Currently, the android version that is latest is android 12 that was launched in the year 2021. Read features of android 12 here https://www.android.com/
How are Android applications developed
The officially licensed software for developing android applications is the android studio that is supported by the Windows operating system (64 bit), mac operating system 64 bit, Linux operating system, and Chrome operating system.
You need to download and install android studio software to your computer so that you can begin android applications development. You can follow the procedure of downloading and installing android studio from our previous article
Which languages are used to develop android applications
Android, unlike other development platforms, is categorized into various sections, the common ones being the design section and the functionality section.
- The design language is XML
The design section is the one you design the layout and the outlook of your app and be able to preview how the app will exactly look while it is transferred to the mobile phone
The design can either be done using the drag and drop feature available in android studio or adding the design properties using the XML language.
Once you add the XML code in the files that have the .xml extension, you can also switch to the design module and view the layout.
- The functions language is either java or kotlin
To add the functionality to the app, for example, what happens when a button is clicked, the programming languages supported are java and kotlin
Java has been the most dominant language used in developing android apps but a few years back, android accepted and incorporated kotlin to be also a language that can be used to develop android applications
You can either use java or kotlin but you cannot use both at the same time. The language to use is selected while you are creating a project in android studio
For future advancements, it is recommended you understand kotlin fully as it is the future of android programming.
How to start developing applications
Once you have installed android studio on your computer and familiarized yourself with the languages we have discussed above, you will now need to create a project that you will need to work on. Follow this link and learn how to create your first android application
What next after creating an application
Once you have designed and added the feature you want your application to have, you can test it to see whether it’s working.
Android provides two ways of doing this
- Publishing the application to a real mobile device whereby you connect your mobile phone through a USB cable and build the application direct to your phone
You can also build an apk and send it to your mobile phone and then follow the steps of installation
- Testing the application in an emulator
Android has an inbuilt feature that works as a mobile feature to assist developers by testing their applications using this feature. The emulator works exactly like a mobile phone and it allows the developer to test how applications will appear in different screen sizes from small to large screens.
How can I share my app with the world
Once you feel that you are confident enough and you have created an application that is ready to help the world, you can decide to publish it.
Android applications are stored or hosted in the google play store where they are available for everyone to download and use on their phones
The google play store supports android applications that meet their policies and guidelines.
To publish your application in the google play store, you need to create a google play developer account and then you need to proceed with the process of how to publish an app in google play store
That’s it, we have discussed the before items you need to be aware of before joining android development and how the android development process is. According to statistics, the future is mobile and the best time to begin is now. Happy coding