The hype about Android development never wavers as Android phones continue to dominate the world of mobile devices. For an Android app development company, there is never a dearth of fun and exciting projects to work on.
In fact, experts believe there has never been a better time to learn Android skills, especially since the recent updates, like the addition of Kotlin and improvements to Google’s policies.
If you too have been thinking about starting your Android journey or you’re just curious about what Android has to offer, this article is for you as it will walk you through all the basics of Android app development services.
Do you know Android closely?
Android is regarded as one of the world’s most popular operating systems that is being used for all kinds of devices from 5G mobile devices to touchscreen smartphones and tablets. Google makes use of this open-source, Linux-based software to power over 2.5 billion devices worldwide that account for almost 70 per cent of the smart devices sell in the world.
Android is based on the Linux kernel, which means that the basic operating structure is portable, multi-user, and able to handle complex multitasking. One of the biggest advantages of Android is the freedom of choice that comes with the technology. Not only is the hardware more diverse, but the software is very flexible and customizable.
Android app development companies are witnessing a surge in demand as an increasing share of manufacturers, including Samsung, Lenovo, HTC, and LG, are turning to Android to power their products.This trend translates to a growing demand for Android app developers for hire worldwide in diverse industries and products. To top it all, the new Google Play Store policies are making the app development market much more lucrative. As the demand for hiring Android mobile application developers increases, learning vital Android skills will open new doors and make you a desirable developer across the board.
Android development tools
Getting started as an Android developer is easier than you might think! To provide expert Android app development services, a developer needs to master some basic skills and tools, such as:
- Programming language skills (Java, Kotlin, and Groovy)
- Android build system
- Android Studio IDE
Programming Language Skills
There are three programming languages and one mark-up language used in Android development:
- Java is the official language for Android app development services and one of the most popular programming languages in the world. The fundamentals of the Java programming language include:
- Objects & classes
- Inheritance & interfaces
- Strings & numbers, generics,
- Kotlin has been the second official language for Android development since 2017. Known for being much more concise and expressive, Kotlin helps alleviate some of Java’s drawbacks.
- XML, which is a mark-up language, is commonly used in Android development to declare a layout for user interface (UI), dimensions, and strings.
Proper understanding of the programming languages will help you build/develop a more robust and elegant Android app.
It is extremely vital for a developer to get familiarized with the build automation tools as well as the integrated development environment before starting work on developing the app. At the same time, it is equally vitalto get familiarized yourself with source control tools and concepts.
Android Build System
Gradle powers the Android build automation system and expands upon the concepts of Apache Maven and Apache Ant by introducing a Groovy-based, domain-specific language. Groovy is an optionally typed, dynamic language with static-typing capabilities. This goes a long way in helping improve productivity and speed by integrating with a Java-based program. With Groovy’s ease and Gradle’s mature ecosystem, hired Android mobile application developers can automate your software and deliver much faster builds.
Android Studio IDE
The Android Studio IDE is absolutely essential for Android development. It is the official development environment for Google’s operating system. The Android Studio IDE comes with great Android-specific tooling to cover all needs that an Android app developer might have. Using this IDE helps in accelerating your development time, and frequent updates ensure that you never lag or fall behind. It comes loaded with the following features, amongst many others:
- Real-time profilers and analyzer
- Flexible build system
- Intelligent code editor
- Visual layout editor
- Fast emulator
The Android SDK (Software Development Kit) is a set of development tools and is the official development kit for Android app development. It is composed of modular packages that can be separately downloaded from the Android SDK Manager, including SDK tool, Google API, Android support, Android Debug Bridge (ADB), and more. Just like in the case of the IDE, the Android SDK is constantly being updated to improve it. New releases will keep you up to date with the latest features.
The Android SDK includes the following:
- Required libraries
- An emulator
- Relevant documentation for the APIs
- Sample source code
Knowledge of the Application Components
Application components comprise the essential building blocks that are used in the Android app development. Each of the components represents a data entry point for the app. Although each one of them exists as its own entity and plays a specific role, there are some which are interdependent and may or may not be actual entry points.
App components can be classified into five different types – each serving a distinct purpose with a distinct life cycle which defines how it is created and destroyed. These components include:
The activity component represents a single screen with a user interface. Activities work together to form a cohesive user experience in the app, yet are independent.
This is a component that runs in the background to perform work for remote processes or long-running operations. It does not provide a user interface (for instance this component might be responsible for playing music in the background while the user is using a different app.)
This is the component that manages a shared set of app data. Through this component, the data that you store either in the file system, on the web, a database can be queried or even modified (as long as the content provider allows it). At the same time, this component is useful for writing and reading data that is not shared or data that is private to your app.
This is the component that responds to system-wide broadcast announcements on a smart device. Most of the broadcast receivers originate from the system, and although they do not display a user interface, they can create a status bar notification that alerts the user when a broadcast event occurs.
A message which is usually referred to as intent in developer language activates 3 out of the 4 components – services, activities, and broadcast receivers. Intent components also bind individual components to one another.
About 77 per cent people in the world own a smart phone today. 2020 has seen an increased demand for applications already, and this is only going to go up. Want to get started with Android app development? The time is ripe for you to upgrade your skills and learn basic Android app development to keep pace with the changing times.
Here is a list of official resources from Google and Android to help you:
- Official Android Guide: a step-by-step guide to building an application
- Official Android Samples: learn by exploring other projects built with Android
- Official Android Documentation: list of libraries and in-depth technical explanations
- Google Android Glossary: list of new terms and vocab, interactive glossary
So, this was all about Android and mobile apps based on this amazing OS. Do you think you know Android that well now?