Playing around with Android Programming


If you are wondering where I’ve been for the last few weeks, in addition to numerous other things, I have been studying the Android OS and native programming language for the sole purpose of one day creating and Android app that works, even though I have no Android to run it on. You may be wondering if programming an Android is anything like programming a microcontroller. IT’S NOT. Even if you are a great microcontroller programmer, which I am not, you will still have trouble switching to the totally different environment of the Android. I set my goals for the Android low, the first app I’m aiming to make only involves counters, buttons, and text boxes. I still don’t have a working version, though.
But that aside, let me give a quick review of Android programming.

PROS:
(1: GUI interface for designing the user interface on the Android device.
(2: Very nice IDE with good error checking
(3: Writes in Java, which once you know the language that knowledge can be applied to also make Blackberry apps
(4: Includes a simulator, so even if you don’t own an Android, you can test it with a virtual one on your PC
(5: Uses Eclipse, which can also be used to program the Blackberry

CONS:
(1: Java is a very hard language to get used to if you have only written in SPIN, Python, and similar languages. It should be an easy transition from C or C++.
(2: You have to import EVERYTHING YOU USE in the main Java file, instead of it doing it automatically when you add the feature in the GUI editor.
(3: The GUI editor doesn’t allow you to have more than 1 feature in line unless you change the layout. This can be annoying if you want a button next to a textbox, or something similar.
(4: The Emulator takes a long time to load, about 5 minutes per debugging, which gets tedious to test minor updates
(5: Starting a new project is a long process and is easy to screw up if you enter, say, the wrong Android version and “Mini SDK number”.
(6: Eclipse is fully featured and therefore has a heavy processor draw on your computer, especially slower ones, and takes a few minutes to start up after you click the icon
(7: Installing all the software to program the Android is a PAIN and is a process also easy to screw up.

Here is what I use for reference.
The Android Developers Site
The Hackaday Android tutorial

I’ll update if I make any more progress with the Android, (other than making a list of pros and cons!!) but for now, I’ve started working on another project with good ol’ microcontrollers. If it works, I’ll post a writeup about it. If it doesn’t, well, I’ll still post something about it.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Subscribe to my RSS!

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3 Responses to Playing around with Android Programming

  1. John A. Zoidberg says:

    Hello there,

    I’m also learning Android and thanks for the link. Since I have a smartphone to experiment with, it would be fun if I could communicate to Prop or Arduino through bluetooth.

    Now I’m waiting for the parts to arrive, will learn some Bluetooth from the Android SDK libraries. :)

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