We all know that popularity of mobile apps is increasing with a rapid pace. Whether it is the matter of ordering food or shopping online, everything can be easily and quickly done with the help of sophisticatedly developed smartphone applications. The latestmobile app marketing statistics reveals that “number of total smart phones in the world” has crossed the total population figure in 2015.
This fact is clearly indicating that mobile app development is really going to be a top growing industry in upcoming years. Especially the app development in Android, that alone acquires the market share of more than 80%.
Since the Android apps covers more market share, it is wise enough to learn more about Android app development. The process of building an Android application involves various steps such as front/back end development, testing, implementation, life cycle management& then deployment. It’s a long process but can be powerful if your Android app includes complex but user-friendly features and huge data set.
This beginner’s guide will explain what you need to know to develop an Android app with the brief overview of its development phases, required technical skills and tools.
Things You Should Know Before Building An Android Application
- If you want to develop an Android application, the first step you need to take is to learn Java, because there is no way you can build an Android app without Java and OOP’s concepts. If you are well-versed with Java, you’ll feel comfortable with the coding and learning the use of Android SDK.
- Secondly, you should be familiar with XML. Now, you must be thinking what is the use of XML in Android development? Well in common term, XML is used to share data over the internet. In Android development, XML is not necessary but plays a very important role when you need to exchange data between your Android app and other applications.
- Developing your first Android app may take time. There are a lot of factors that can affect the development time including the size of your audiences, the number of features etc.
- If you face any problem during the development process, you can take help from other Android development communities like Android Developers, XDA developers
Android App Development Process:
The process of development is known as (SDLC) Software Development Life Cycle. Here I have briefly explained all the phases of Android app development.
Phases of Android Application Development:-
- Inception: As you know, there are lots of apps available to do a single task that makes the competition tougher. So, it is mandatory that you have an innovative & unique application idea. This unique idea can be turned into a better application at the end.
- Application Design: The design phase includes the application’s UI/UX, such as how it should look like, where the UI elements should be placed etc. The design process can be made easier by using the pre made UI elements available in the form of sketch or PSD.
- App Development: Development of an Android app can be the most time consuming phase. It is the actual building of the app. This phase includes various elements such as coding, environment setup, project setup, debugging, testing etc.
- App Stabilization: Stabilization is the process of improving your Android application, in terms of functionality, usability & performance. In this phase QA team starts testing the mobile app, finds out the bugs and fix them. During this phase, beta versions can also be launched of the app, so that people can use it and give their feedback to enhance the performance of your app.
- Deployment and Maintenance: After the complete testing and stabilization, your Android app is ready to go live. Once it is available in the market, it also need maintenance on regular basis in order to keep it updated with the latest Android OS versions.
Skills Required To Become An Android Developer
For building an Android app, you must have strong technical knowledge of programming as well as designing. Here are some important skills you must be expert in:
- Knowledge of Java – As I said earlier, learning Java is the primary need of building an Android app. If you don’t have any experience in programming languages, you can start from beginner’s tutorials and videos.
- Android SDK– Android SDK (Software Development Kit) is a free to download tool which provide the collection of modules that assist developers to write the code easily with the help of libraries and packages.
- SQL: You need to learn the basics of SQL in order to organize the databases with Android applications. SQL is a language for queries to retrieve information from databases.
- Android Studio: The Integrated development environment for Android developers is known as Android studio. Android studio is built of the well respected IntelliJ IDE, & it is very helpful in most common Android SDKs.
Android studio is the main program with which Android developers write code and manage their applications from various libraries and packages.
- XML – However, you can design the layout of app with Java but use of XML in designing the app layout is comparatively easy and effective.
Along with the above technical skills you also need to keep your eyes open to be aware of current market, new technologies etc.
Android App Development Tools
There is a variety of tools that can help you to develop apps for the Android platform. These tools can be differentiated in two groups: SDK tools and Platform tools.
Android SDK tools are platform independent, whereas platform tools are customized to support the features of latest Android platforms. Developing with Android studio is the most preferred method by the developers because it can directly invoke the tools while development.
Android App development tools are available free of cost, they can be easily downloaded from Internet. Here is the list of software’s you will need before you start Android App Development process.
→ Android SDK
→ Java SDK5 or its latest versions
→ Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6
→ Android studio
→ Eclipse IDE for Java Developers (Optional)
→ Android Development Tools Eclipse Plug-in (Optional)
Development of an Android app is an exciting process, and I am sure this guide will help you to get familiar with it. However, you still have a lot to learn. With regular practice and diving deeper into the programming concepts, you can soon become an expert Android developer.