Chapter 2

Getting Started

What's in this Chapter?

Installing the Android SDK, creating a development environment, and debugging your projects

Understanding mobile design considerations

The importance of optimizing for speed and efficiency

Designing for small screens and mobile data connections

Using Android Virtual Devices, the Emulator, and other development tools

All you need to start writing your own Android applications is a copy of the Android SDK and the Java Development Kit (JDK). Unless you're a masochist, you'll probably want a Java integrated development environment (IDE)—Eclipse is particularly well supported—to make development a little bit less painful.

The Android SDK, the JDK, and Eclipse are each available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, so you can explore Android from the comfort of whatever operating system you favor. The SDK tools and Emulator work on all three OS environments, and because Android applications are run on a Dalvik virtual machine (VM), there's no advantage to developing on any particular OS.

Android code is written using Java syntax, and the core Android libraries include most of the features from the core Java APIs. Before you can run your projects, you must translate them into Dalvik bytecode. As a result, you get the familiarity of Java syntax while your applications gain the advantage of running on a VM optimized for mobile devices.

The Android SDK starter package contains the SDK platform tools, including the SDK Manager, which is necessary ...

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