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Android Studio for beginners, Part 1: Installation and setup

Jeff Friesen | Aug. 24, 2016
Install Android Studio and start your first Android project

For a few years now it's been clear that Android dominates the mobile OS landscape. This Java-based technology has sparked a new gold rush, with programmers competing to make money from their mobile apps. Android jobs are also plentiful, as shown by a quick job search using Indeed.com.

To be successful, Android developers need a good grasp of the Java language, Android APIs, and Android app architecture. It's also essential to use an appropriate and effective development environment. For many years, Eclipse IDE with the ADT plugin was the preferred platform for Android development. Today it's Android Studio.

If you're new to Android Studio, this tutorial series will get you started. I'll briefly introduce the Android development platform, then show you how to download, install, and run the software. After that, we'll spend most of our time actually using Android Studio to develop an animated mobile app. In Part 1 you'll start up your first Android project and get to know the project workspace in Android Studio. In Part 2 you'll code the app, learning how to use Android Studio to enter source code and resources into the project. Finally, in Part 3 we'll build and run the app using both an emulated hardware device and an Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet.

After you're comfortable with developing a basic mobile app in Android Studio, we'll explore more advanced topics like debugging, performance monitoring, and profiling with Android Studio. We'll also look at extending Android Studio with three useful plugins.

Get started with Android Studio

Android Studio is Google's officially supported IDE for developing Android apps. Based on IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio is freely available under Apache License 2.0. The most recent stable version, 2.1.1, includes the following features:

  • A unified environment where you can develop for all Android devices.
  • Support for building Android TV apps and Android Wear apps.
  • Template-based wizards to create common Android designs and components.
  • A rich layout editor that lets users drag-and-drop user interface components, and that offers an option to preview layouts on multiple screen configurations.
  • Android-specific refactoring and quick fixes.
  • Gradle-based build support.
  • Lint tools to catch performance, usability, version compatibility, and other problems.
  • ProGuard integration and app-signing capabilities.
  • A fast and feature-rich emulator.
  • Instant Run to push changes to your running app without building a new APK (Application PacKage Zip file).
  • Built-in support for Google Cloud Platform, enabling integration with Google Cloud Messaging and App Engine.
  • C++ and NDK support.
  • Plugin architecture for extending Android Studio via plugins.

Download Android Studio

Google provides Android Studio for the Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. You can download this software from the Android Studio homepage. (You'll also find the traditional SDKs, with Android Studio's command-line tools, available from the Downloads page.) Before downloading Android Studio, make sure your platform meets one of the following requirements:

 

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