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Android Application Development For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Donn Felker, Michael Burton

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Creating a Distributable File

So you have a great idea, and it has led you to develop the next hit application or game for the Android platform. Now you’re ready to put the application into the hands of users. The first thing you need to do is package your application so that it can be placed on their devices. To do so, you create an Android package file, or APK file.

In the following sections, you create an APK file.

Revisiting the manifest file

Before you jump in and create the distributable APK file, you should take great care to ensure that your application is available to as many users as possible, by familiarizing yourself with the uses-sdk element in the AndroidManifest.xml file. Your AndroidManifest.xml file now has a uses-sdk entry (see Chapter 4):

<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion=”4” />

The minSdkVersion property identifies which versions of the Android platform can install this application — in this instance, level 4. The Silent Mode Toggle application was developed by setting the target software development kit (SDK) to version 15.

The Android platform is, for the most part, backward compatible. Most features from version 3 are also in version 4. Small changes and sometimes new, large components are released in each new version, but everything else in the platform remains basically backward compatible. Therefore, stating that this application needs a minimum of SDK version 4 signifies that any Android operating system of version 4 or later can run the application.

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