Before you start
This tutorial introduces Android application development within the Eclipse environment, including the construction of two example applications. The first is a basic starter application, complete with all phases of building and debugging. The second application examines more complex features of Android, including contacts searching and Google Maps address lookup. To get the most from this tutorial, mobile-development experience is helpful, but not required. Java™ programming skills are required for Android applications, but are not an explicit requirement for this tutorial.
Why do we care about Android? Android is an important platform for two reasons. First, the fact that Google is introducing it and the mind-share Android has garnered in such a small amount of time. Google is flexing its muscles and attempting to make a play for the crowded mobile market. Its first salvo into this market, Android and the Open Handset Alliance, is an impressive starting point. The second reason Android is important is because it isn't just another mobile platform with a phone, menus, and a touchscreen. As you will learn in this tutorial, Android takes a different approach to applications. The architecture of Android permits a highly customizable software environment thanks to its runtime binding of requested actions and the code to satisfy those requests. Whether it's market-driven considerations or the technical aspects of Android, it is a platform worth examination.
This tutorial is organized in the following sections:
- Android basics and required tools
- The Android software developer kit
- Building and debugging the SaySomething Android application
- Creating the content provider and Google Maps application
This tutorial requires several technologies that work together. You need all of them for this tutorial.
- Eclipse Platform
- Eclipse is the platform upon which the plug-in runs. Get the latest version of Eclipse Classic (V3.3.1 was used in this tutorial).
- Android Developer Tools
- The Android Developer Tools (the Eclipse plug-in) may be installed by following the instructions found at Installing the Android SDK.
- Source code
- Source code snippets in this tutorial include:
- AndroidManifest.xml snippet — This file is the application deployment descriptor for Android applications.
IntentReceiver— This demonstrates the implementation of an
IntentReceiver, which is the class that processes intents as advertised by the
IntentFiltertag in the AndroidManifest.xml file.
- SaySomething.java — This implements an Android activity, the primary entry point to the sample application of this tutorial.
- Main.xml — This contains the visual elements, or resources, for use by Android activities.
- R.java — This file is automatically generated by Android Developer Tools and "connects" the visual resources to the Java source code.
- AndroidManifest.xml complete — This lists a full AndroidManfest.xml file, along with a description of each of the important elements.
- MobileServiceCallContacts.java — This contains the code necessary to display contacts as well as react to user input to subsequently perform a Google Maps address lookup.