You’ve decided to get your hands dirty by building your first Android app. You look at the daunting task ahead and you are not sure where to start from.
Well, you don’t have to be overwhelmed; it’s not really as difficult as it seems. However, you’ll need to consider a couple of things before you embark on this exciting journey.
A friend once asked me: “How long will it take for me to develop my Android app?”
Really, it’s an interesting question, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule to it. It could take as little as a few days to as much as several months depending on your programming skills and the functionality of the app.
Generally, developing an Android app will take a lot of your time and effort especially if you have little or no programming skills, but the fulfillment is certainly much more than the pain.
If you’ve done the math and you know you simply do not have the time to code or learn any programming skills, you don’t have to worry, there’s still another option. There are many software companies that offer services in the form of an app maker with which you can develop your app. Some popular ones include Appy Pie, Nativ, Bizzness Apps and App Yourself.
On the other hand if you’ve decided to do the app development yourself, you will need to have a basic grasp of Java, the recommended programming language in Android development.
The most common question I’m often asked by beginners is: “What is the best resource for learning Java?”
Really, there’s no perfect answer, but first I think it’s a bad idea to stick with just one resource. There are many forum and websites that you will find useful. However, you will need to learn from books that teach both java and Android programming if you are a beginner.
One good book that I’d recommend for any beginner is Android Programming for Beginners – Door to Online Café. If you have a background in programming, Head First Android Development is a great way to start.
Generally, whether you are just learning the basics or you are quite proficient in java programming, the six steps below is surely an excellent guide for you in the development process.
1. Sketch your idea
You would need to make a quick sketch of what you have on your mind depending on the type of app you are building. This helps to put your thoughts on paper before you start working.
2. Download and install IDE
This is a software application where all your app development will be done. The IDE (Integrated Development Environment) enables you to compile and execute code incrementally; and manage changes to the source code.
3. Create your layout and download your images
You need to create a layout of how you expect your app to look. The icons, vectors and images you will use also have to be downloaded or created as the case may be.
4. Coding and testing
Based on your knowledge of Java, you can start writing the codes that will run when users click on specific buttons as designed in the layout. As you do this you can test the functionality of these buttons. If you get stuck while coding, you can easily look up solutions on sites like YouTube and Stack Overflow.
An excellent tool for testing your Android app on your computer is the AVD (Android Virtual Device) manager.
5. Evaluation and stress testing
You can evaluate the performance (stress testing) of your app with a tool called Monkey. You can also share your app with friends and family and make corrections based on their evaluation and feedback.
By now, you probably think your app is good to go, so the next thing is to make it available to the online community. There is a one-time payment of $25 to be paid to Play Store before you can publish.
Now, it’s all set, your app has been published but you shouldn’t relax. Promote your app to friends and acquaintances and use their feedback to improve on your product.
At this point, you’d have successfully launched your Android app. I’d like to hear more about your download rates, reviews and feedback. Also, if you have further questions or comments on android app development kindly use the comment box below.