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Chris Haseman
Creating Android
Applications
DEVELOP AND DESIGN
Creating
Android
Applications
DEVELOP AND DESIGN
Chris Haseman
Creating Android Applications: Develop and Design
Chris Haseman
Peachpit Press
1249 Eighth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510/524-2178
510/524-2221 (fax)
Find us on the Web at: www.peachpit.com
To report errors, please send a note to errata@peachpit.com
Peachpit Press is a division of Pearson Education.
Copyright © 2012 by Chris Haseman
Editor: Clifford Colby
Development editor: Robyn Thomas
Production editor: Myrna Vladic
Copyeditor: Scout Festa
Technical editor: Jason LeBrun
Cover design: Aren Howell Straiger
Interior design: Mimi Heft
Compositor: Danielle Foster
Indexer: Valerie Haynes Perry
Notice of Rights
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the
publisher. For information on getting permission for reprints and excerpts, contact permissions@peachpit.com.
Notice of Liability
The information in this book is distributed on an “As Is” basis without warranty. While every precaution has
been taken in the preparation of the book, neither the author nor Peachpit shall have any liability to any
person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by
the instructions contained in this book or by the computer software and hardware products described in it.
Trademarks
Android is a trademark of Google Inc., registered in the United States and other countries. Many of the
designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks.
Where those designations appear in this book, and Peachpit was aware of a trademark claim, the designa-
tions appear as requested by the owner of the trademark. All other product names and services identified
throughout this book are used in editorial fashion only and for the benefit of such companies with no
intention of infringement of the trademark. No such use, or the use of any trade name, is intended to convey
endorsement or other affiliation with this book.
ISBN-13: 978-0-321-78409-4
ISBN-10: 0-321-78409-x
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed and bound in the United States of America
To my wife, Meghan,
whos made me the teacher, writer, and man I am today.
BIO
Chris Haseman has been writing mobile software in various forms since 2003.
He was involved in several large-scale BREW projects, from MMS messaging to
Major League Baseball. More recently, he was an early Android engineer behind
the doubleTwist media player, and he is now the lead Android developer for the
website Tumblr. He’s a faculty member of General Assembly in NYC, where he
teaches Android development. He lives in Brooklyn, where he constantly debates
shaving his beard.
IV CREATING ANDROID APPLICATIONS: DEVELOP AND DESIGN
As always, I could spend more pages thanking people than are in the work itself.
Here are a few who stand out:
David and Susanne H for their support. Ellen Y. for believing so early that I
could do this. JBL for fixing my code. Robyn T. for her patience. Cliff C. for finding
me. Scout F. for her tolerance of my grammar. Sharon H. for her harassment IMs.
Dan C. for his backing. Edwin and Susan K. for their care. Thomas K. for his subtle
and quiet voice. Sparks for his humor. Cotton for “being there.” Lee for the place
to write. The teams at both Tumblr and doubleTwist for all their encouragement.
The Android team at Google for all their hard work. Most of all, Peachpit for giving
me the opportunity to write for you.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS V
CONTENTS
Introduction ........................................................... xi
Welcome to Android
................................................ xiii
 1 GETTING STARTED WITH ANDROID ...........................
Downloading Developer Software
.................................... 4
The Android Software Development Kit
............................... 4
Eclipse
................................................................... 4
Java
..................................................................... 4
Getting Everything Installed
.......................................... 5
Installing Eclipse
....................................................... 5
Installing the Android SDK
............................................. 5
Downloading a Package
................................................ 6
Configuring Eclipse
................................................... 8
Adding the Android Plug-in to Eclipse
................................. 8
Locating the SDK
....................................................... 9
Creating an Emulator
................................................. 10
Working with Your Android Phone
.................................... 12
Creating a New Android Project
..................................... 14
Running a New Project
................................................ 17
Troubleshooting the Emulator
...................................... 18
Wrapping Up
......................................................... 19
 2 EXPLORING THE APPLICATION BASICS ....................... 
The Files
.............................................................. 22
The Manifest
........................................................... 22
The Activity Class
.................................................... 23
Watching the Activity in Action
....................................... 23
Implementing Your Own Activity
..................................... 24
The Life and Times of an Activity
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Bonus Round—Data Retention Methods
.............................. 35
The Intent Class
...................................................... 37
Manifest Registration
.................................................. 37
Adding an Intent
...................................................... 38
Listening for Intents at Runtime
...................................... 41
Moving Your Own Data
................................................ 45
The Application Class
................................................ 48
The Default Application Declaration
................................. 48
VI
CREATING ANDROID APPLICATIONS: DEVELOP AND DESIGN
Customizing Your Own Application ................................... 48
Accessing the Application
............................................. 50
Wrapping Up
......................................................... 51
 3 CREATING USER INTERFACES ................................. 
The View Class
....................................................... 54
Creating a View
........................................................ 54
Altering the UI at Runtime
............................................ 58
Handling a Few Common Tasks
....................................... 61
Creating Custom Views
................................................ 65
Resource Management
............................................... 71
Resource Folder Overview
............................................. 71
Values Folder
.......................................................... 73
Layout Folders
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Drawable Folders
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Layout Management
................................................. 77
The ViewGroup
........................................................ 77
The AbsoluteLayout
................................................... 78
The LinearLayout
...................................................... 82
The RelativeLayout
................................................... 90
Wrapping Up
......................................................... 97
 4 ACQUIRING DATA ............................................ 
The Main Thread
.................................................... 100
You There, Fetch Me that Data!
..................................... 100
Watchdogs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
What Not to Do
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
When Am I on the Main Thread?
................................... 102
Getting Off the Main Thread
........................................ 103
Getting Back to Main Land
.......................................... 104
There Must Be a Better Way!
......................................... 105
The AsyncTask
...................................................... 106
How to Make It Work for You
....................................... 108
A Few Important Caveats
............................................ 111
The IntentService
................................................... 113
Declaring a Service
................................................... 113
Fetching Images
...................................................... 114
CONTENTS VII
Checking Your Work ................................................. 120
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 122
 5 ADAPTERS, LISTVIEWS, AND LISTS .......................... 
Two Pieces to Each List
............................................. 126
ListView
............................................................... 126
Adapter
............................................................... 126
A Main Menu
........................................................ 127
Creating the Menu Data
.............................................. 127
Creating a ListActivity
................................................ 128
Defining a Layout for Your ListActivity
.............................. 128
Making a Menu List Item
............................................. 130
Creating and Populating the ArrayAdapter
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Reacting to Click Events
.............................................. 133
Complex List Views
................................................. 134
The 1000-foot View
................................................... 134
Creating the Main Layout View
...................................... 134
Creating the ListActivity
............................................. 135
Getting Twitter Data
................................................. 136
Making a Custom Adapter
........................................... 138
Building the ListViews
................................................ 141
How Do These Objects Interact?
................................... 144
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 145
 6 THE WAY OFTHESERVICE ................................... 
What Is a Service?
.................................................. 148
The Service Lifecycle
.................................................. 148
Keeping Your Service Running
....................................... 149
Shut It Down!
......................................................... 149
Communication
..................................................... 150
Intent-Based Communication
........................................ 150
Binder Service Communication
..................................... 160
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 166
 7 MANY DEVICES, ONE APPLICATION ......................... 
Uncovering the Secrets of the res/ Folder
.......................... 170
Layout Folders
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
What Can You Do Beyond Landscape?
............................... 177
VIII
CREATING ANDROID APPLICATIONS: DEVELOP AND DESIGN
The Full Screen Define ................................................ 177
Limiting Access to Your App to Devices That Work
................ 180
The <uses> Tag
...................................................... 180
SDK Version Number
................................................. 181
Handling Code in Older Android Versions
......................... 182
SharedPreferences and Apply
........................................ 182
Reflecting Your Troubles Away
....................................... 183
Always Keep an Eye on API Levels
.................................... 184
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 185
 8 MOVIES AND MUSIC ........................................ 
Movies
............................................................... 188
Adding a VideoView
.................................................. 188
Setting up for the VideoView
......................................... 189
Getting Media to Play
............................................... 190
Loading and Playing Media
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
Cleanup
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
The Rest, as They Say, Is Up to You
................................... 194
Music
................................................................ 195
MediaPlayer and State
............................................... 195
Playing a Sound
...................................................... 196
Cleanup
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
It really is that simple
................................................ 197
Longer-Running Music Playback
................................... 198
Binding to the Music Service
......................................... 198
Finding the Most Recent Track
....................................... 199
Playing the Audio in the Service
.................................... 201
Cleanup
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Interruptions
........................................................ 205
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 207
 9 DETERMINING LOCATIONS AND USING MAPS .............. 
Location Basics
...................................................... 210
Mother May I?
........................................................ 210
Be Careful What You Ask For
......................................... 210
Finding a Good Supplier
.............................................. 211
Getting the Goods
..................................................... 211
CONTENTS IX
The Sneaky Shortcut ................................................. 213
That’s It!
.............................................................. 213
Show Me the Map!
.................................................. 214
Getting the Library
................................................... 214
Adding to the Manifest
............................................... 214
Creating the MapActivity
............................................ 215
Creating a MapView
.................................................. 216
Run, Baby, Run
........................................................ 217
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 219
 10 TABLETS, FRAGMENTS, AND ACTION BARS, OH MY ......... 220
Fragments
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
The Lifecycle of the Fragment
....................................... 222
Creating a Fragment
................................................ 224
Showing a Fragment
................................................ 225
Providing Backward Compatibility
................................. 230
The Action Bar
...................................................... 232
Showing the Action Bar
.............................................. 232
Adding Elements to the Action Bar
.................................. 233
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 237
 11 PUBLISHING YOUR APPLICATION ........................... 
Packaging and Versioning
........................................... 240
Preventing Debugging
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
Naming the Package
................................................. 240
Versioning
............................................................ 241
Setting a Minimum SDK value
...................................... 242
Packaging and Signing
.............................................. 243
Exporting a Signed Build
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
Backing Up Your Keystore File
....................................... 244
Submitting Your Build
.............................................. 246
Watch Your Crash Reports and Fix Them
........................... 246
Update Frequently
................................................... 246
Wrapping Up
........................................................ 247
Index
................................................................. 248
X
CREATING ANDROID APPLICATIONS: DEVELOP AND DESIGN
INTRODUCTION
If you’ve got a burning idea for an application that you’re dying to share, or if you
recognize the power and possibilities of the Android platform, you’ve come to the
right place. This is a short book on an immense topic.
I don’t mean to alarm anyone right off the bat here, but let me be honest: Android
development is hard. Its architecture is dissimilar to that of many existing platforms
(especially other mobile SDKs), there are many traps for beginners to fall into, and the
documentation is frequently sparse at best. In exchange for its difficulty, however,
Google’s Android offers unprecedented power, control, and—yes—responsibility to
those who are brave enough to develop for it.
This is where my job comes in. I’m here to make the process of learning to write
amazing Android software as simple as possible.
Who am I to ask such things of you? I’ve been writing mobile software in a
professional capacity for more than eight years, and for three of those years, I’ve
been developing software for Android. I’ve written code that runs on millions of
handsets throughout the world. Also, I have a beard. We all know that people with
ample facial hair appear to be more authoritative on all subjects.
In return for making this learning process as easy as possible, I ask for a few things:
You have a computer. My third-grade teacher taught me never to take any-
thing for granted; maybe you don’t have a computer. If you don’t already have
a computer, you’ll need one—preferably a fast one, because the Android
emulator and Eclipse can use up a fair amount of resources quickly.
You’re fluent in Java. Notice that I say fluent, not expert. Because you’ll
be writing usable applications (rather than production libraries, at least to
start), I expect you to know the differences between classes and interfaces.
You should be able to handle threads and concurrency without batting an
eyelash. Further, the more you know about what happens under the hood
(in terms of object creation and garbage collection), the faster and better
your mobile applications will be.
Yes, you can get through the book and even put together rudimentary
applications without knowing much about the Java programming language.
: Android is an equal opportunity development platform.
While I personally develop on a Mac, you can use any of the three
major platforms (Mac, PC, or Linux).
INTRODUCTION XI
However, when you encounter problems—in both performance and pos-
sibilities—a weak foundation in the programming language may leave you
without a solution.
You have boundless patience and endless curiosity. Your interest in and
passion for Android will help you through the difficult subjects covered in
this book and let you glide through the easy ones.
Throughout this book, I focus on how to write features, debug problems, and
make interesting software. I hope that when you’ve finished the book, you’ll have
a firm grasp of the fundamentals of Android software development.
All right, that’s quite enough idle talking. Let’s get started.
WHO THIS BOOK IS FOR
This book is for people who have some programming experience and are curious
about the wild world of Android development.
WHO THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR
This book is not for people who have never seen a line of Java before. It is also not
for expert Android engineers with several applications under their belt.
HOW YOU WILL LEARN
In this book, you’ll learn by doing. Each chapter comes with companion sample code
and clear, concise instructions for how to build that code for yourself. You’ll find the
code samples on the book’s website (www.peachpit.com/androiddevelopanddesign).
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
You’ll learn the basics of Android development, from creating a project to building
scalable UIs that move between tablets and phones.
:
If you’re more interested in the many “whys” behind Android,
this book is a good one to start with, but it won’t answer every question
you may have.
XII CREATING ANDROID APPLICATIONS: DEVELOP AND DESIGN
i
WELCOME TO
ANDROID
WELCOME TO ANDROID
Eclipse and the Android SDK are the two major tools you’ll use to follow along with the
examples in this book. There are, however, a few others you should be aware of that will
be very useful now and in your future work with Android. While you may not use all of
these tools until you’re getting ready to ship an application, it will be helpful to know
about them when the need arises.
THE TOOLS
Over the course of this book, you’ll work with several tools that will make your life
with Google’s Android much easier. Here they are in no particular order:
ECLIPSE
Eclipse is the primary
tool that I’ll be using
throughout the book.
Google has blessed it
as the primary IDE for
Android development and
has released plug-ins to
help. Make sure you get
them, because they take
all the pain out of creat-
ing a project and stepping
through your application
on the device. You’re
welcome to use Eclipse
as well, or, if you’re some
sort of command-line
junkie, you can follow
along with Vim or Emacs
if you prefer.
ANDROID SDK
The Android SDK contains
all the tools you’ll need to
develop Android applica-
tions from the command
line as well as other tools
to help you nd and
diagnose problems and
streamline your applica-
tions. You can download
the Android SDK at
http://developer.android
.com/sdk/index.html.
XIV CREATING ANDROID APPLICATIONS: DEVELOP AND DESIGN
ANDROID SDK
MANAGER
The Android SDK Manager
(found within the SDK
tools/ directory) will
help you pull down all
versions of the SDK as
well as a plethora of tools,
third-party add-ons, and
all things Android. This
will be the primary way
in which you get new
software from Google’s
headquarters in Moun-
tain View, California.
HIERARCHY VIEWER
This tool will help you
track the complex con-
nections between your
layouts and views as you
build and debug your
applications. This viewer
can be indispensable
when tracking down
those hard-to-understand
layout issues. You can
nd this tool in the
SDK
tools/ directory as
hierarchyviewer.
DDMS
DDMS (Dalvik Debug
Monitor Server) is your
primary way to interface
with and debug Android
devices. You’ll nd it in
the
tools/ directory inside
the Android SDK. It does
everything from gathering
logs, sending mock text
messages or locations,
and mapping memory
allocations to taking
screenshots. Eclipse users
have a perspective that
duplicates, within Eclipse,
all the functionality that
this stand-alone applica-
tion oers. This tool is
very much the Swiss Army
knife of your Android
toolkit.
WELCOME TO ANDROID XV
1
GETTING STARTED
WITH ANDROID
The first step when building an Android appli-
cation is installing the tools and the SDK. If you’ve already
built an Android application, congratulations are in order!
You can skip this chapter and move on to the fundamentals. For
those of you who haven’t, you’ll get through this busy work before
you can say “Open Handset Alliance” three times quickly.
In this chapter, you’ll move quickly through the platform con-
figuration. I’ll show you how to download developer files from
Google and the Eclipse project; install and configure the Android
Software Development Kit (SDK) and Eclipse; create and configure
a shiny new Android emulator; start a new Android project; and
run your Android project on your shiny new Android emulator.
n
g
ls and the SDK. If you’ve already
i
on
,
con
g
ratu
l
ations are in or
d
er!
g
an An
d
roi
d
app
l
l
l
l
i
i
-
-
a
nd the SDK. If
y
ou’ve alread
y
First, you need to download a few software tools—namely, the Android SDK,
the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), and the Android plug-in
for Eclipse. There are many other tools a developer could use to make Android
applications, but I’ve found that this setup has the fewest hassles and will get you
up and running in the least amount of time.
THE ANDROID SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT KIT
Head over to the Android Developers website at http://developer.android.com.
You’ll become intimately familiar with these pages as you work on this platform.
Once on the site, find the section labeled SDK and download the offered files with
reckless abandon. On Windows, it’s best if you use the offered installer. For you
Mac and Linux users, you’ll get a zip file. Set the appropriate files to downloading
and move on while they finish.
ECLIPSE
For versions of Eclipse newer than 3.5, Google recommends that you get the classic
version of the IDE. Tap your way to www.eclipse.org/downloads and locate Eclipse
Classic. (This chapter has screenshots from 3.6.1; the latest is, however, 3.7.1.) Make
sure you get the right version for your system: 32-bit or 64-bit. Now get your twid-
dling thumbs ready and wait for the installer to come through. Assuming that you’re
not connecting through a telephone line that makes hissing noises, you should be
finished in just a few minutes.
In the meantime, I’ll entertain you with an opera about the nature of kittens . . .
wait no, no I won’t. You’re welcome to browse ahead in the book while you down-
load the required files.
JAVA
You’ll need to download and install Java on your system (depending on how much
development you’ve done before, you might already have it installed). I assume
you were already comfortable with Java before diving into this book; I’m also going
to assume you’re comfortable installing the JDK yourself.
DOWNLOADING
DEVELOPER SOFTWARE
CHAPTER  GETTING STARTED WITH ANDROID
GETTING EVERYTHING INSTALLED
At this point, the process becomes a little more complicated and the herd of cats
start to wander in different directions. Depending on which platform you’re run-
ning, you may have to skip ahead from time to time. If the title doesn’t look like
it applies to your operating system (OS), skip ahead until you find one that does.
Bear with me; you’ll be working on your first application in no time.
INSTALLING ECLIPSE
Installing Eclipse, for the most part, is as simple as decompressing the file you’ve
downloaded and putting the application somewhere you’ll remember. I recommend
not launching Eclipse just yet. Wait until you’ve got the Android SDK squared
away (see the next section). You may want to make sure that you’ve got the latest
development tools in place.
INSTALLING THE ANDROID SDK
With Eclipse now in place, you’re just a few steps away from running your own
Android application. Find the section that applies to your operating system, and
follow the steps therein.
INSTALLING THE SDK FOR MAC USERS
To install the SDK, simply unzip the compressed file you downloaded from the
Android Developers site (developer.android.com). Although you can unpack
this file anywhere, I recommend placing it in /Users/yourUserName/Documents/
android_sdk/
.
If you are a command-line person, you should put two directories on your
path as follows:
1. Navigate to
/User/yourUserName/.profile.
:
For the duration of this book, I’m going to assume you’ll
be using the Eclipse IDE for the majority of your development. I’ll try
to include command-line methods as well as Eclipse screenshots for
all important commands and tasks in case you’re rocking the terminal
with Vim or Emacs.
GETTING EVERYTHING INSTALLED
2.
Assuming that you installed the SDK in the location I recommended, add
the following code all on one line:
export PATH=”$PATH”/Users/*yourUserName*/Documents/android_
sdk/tools”/Users/*yourUserName*/Documents/android_sdk/
platform-tools”
Now, when you open a new terminal, typing
which
android
will return the
path where you installed your shiny new Android SDK. Keep this command in
mind—you’ll return to it in a minute.
INSTALLING THE SDK FOR LINUX USERS
Linux users should go through nearly the same steps as in “Installing the SDK for Mac
Users.” The only differences are the instructions for putting the SDK on your path
and where you may want to put your version of the SDK. I’m going to assume that if
you’re a Linux user, you’re savvy enough to figure out this procedure on your own.
INSTALLING THE SDK FOR WINDOWS USERS
To install the Android SDK for Windows, follow these steps:
1. Start the Android SDK installer.
2. Accept the installer’s default location and Start-menu configuration.
3. Let the installer work its magic.
This procedure will add an SDK Manager command to your Start menu.
This is the application you’ll work with to select the correct platforms in
the next section.
DOWNLOADING A PACKAGE
All right, you’ve got the SDK downloaded and in the right place. You’re not quite
there yet.
1.
If you are a Mac or Linux user, run sdk location/tools/android; if you
are a Windows user, allow the installer to open the AVD (Android Virtual
Device) Manager software.
You should see the Android SDK Manager.
CHAPTER  GETTING STARTED WITH ANDROID
2. Select Available Packages from the options in the left panel.
3. Select as many versions of the SDK as you like from the panel on the right.
(At press time, there are still a few phones running 1.6.) At the very least,
you’ll probably want Gingerbread (2.3.3), which many phones are running.
You’ll need Honeycomb (for tablets) and Ice Cream Sandwich (the latest
and greatest) for the last chapter of the book. If you’re in a rush, just grab
2.3.3 for now (Figure 1.1).
4.
In the resulting dialog, click Install x Packages, agree to Google’s terms (read
at your own risk), and away you go.
The Android SDK Manager should download and install the two required
platforms for you. So far, so good.
Keep in mind that the platform you’re downloading corresponds to a particular
version of the Android OS running on devices. Older phones may not support all
the SDK calls that the latest phones might. As you learn about various SDK calls,
I’ll show you strategies for dealing with older devices.
FIGURE . Use the Android
SDK Manager to select as
many versions as you would
like to install.
: If you’ve closed it, you can find the SDK Manager program
in your Start menu under Android SDK Tools.
GETTING EVERYTHING INSTALLED
CONFIGURING ECLIPSE
Fortunately, configuring Eclipse is consistent for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Fire up
Eclipse and specify where you want to locate your workspace. It can, theoretically,
be installed anywhere, but I always locate mine under
~/Documents/workspace
on my Mac. As long as you consistently use the same directory, you shouldn’t
encounter any problems.
ADDING THE ANDROID PLUGIN TO ECLIPSE
Now that you’ve got Eclipse up and running, you’ll need to add Android’s ADT plug-
in. This is the magic piece that will change Eclipse from a straight Java developer
tool into a tool for making Android applications.
1. From the Eclipse Help menu, select Install New Software (Figure 1.2).
2. Enter https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse/ in the Work With field
in the Install pop-up. Your settings should look like those in Figure 1.3.
FIGURE . Where Eclipse has
cleverly hidden the plug-in
install wizard.
FIGURE . The plug-in install
wizard in all its dull glory.
CHAPTER  GETTING STARTED WITH ANDROID
3. Give the site a name of your choosing. Mine was simply “android_stuff.”
You’ll be presented with the option to install a few packages.
4. Select them all and click Next, then click Next again.
5. Accept Google’s terms and conditions. Eclipse will download the appropri-
ate plug-in packages.
Before the download finishes, you might be warned that unsigned code is
about to be installed. This is to be expected. (Don’t freak out.)
6. Accept the unsigned code warning and allow the download to continue.
7. Restart Eclipse when prompted.
LOCATING THE SDK
One more step and you’ll be able to create a project. You’ll need to tell Eclipse where
to find your Android SDK.
1. Start Eclipse. You should be staring at the helpful Welcome screen.
2. Choose File > Preferences.
If everything you’ve done thus far is working, you should see an Android
option in the list on the left.
3. Click Android.
:
If you’re having trouble installing the Eclipse plug-ins,
make sure you have an active Internet connection. Try using “http”
instead of “https” for the plug-in URL. If all else fails, head over to
http://developer.android.com/sdk/eclipse-adt.html#installing, where
you’ll find a few more helpful debugging steps.
CONFIGURING ECLIPSE
4.
In the SDK Location field, enter the location to which you installed the SDK.
Figure 1.4 shows what it looks like on my Mac.
5. Click Apply.
In the large white box (which previously displayed “No target available”), you
should now see a list of available SDK platforms.
If you’re not seeing the list, then something isn’t right. Head back to the “Down-
loading a Package” section and see what needs sorting out.
CREATING AN EMULATOR
Although I said you had only one more step before you could create a project, and
that is true, you still need to create an emulator on which to run the project. So
hang in, you’re almost there.
1. With Eclipse running, click the icon on the top bar.
Or, if you’re a command-line junkie, run
android in the shell (I’m going to
assume you were able to add it to your path).
FIGURE . Tell Eclipse where
to nd the Android SDK.
 CHAPTER  GETTING STARTED WITH ANDROID
This screen should look familiar, because you just used it to install one or
two application platforms. Now you’re back to make a new virtual device.
2. With the Android SDK Manager open, make sure the Virtual Devices tab is
selected and click New. A new emulator dialog will pop up.
3.
In the Name field, give your emulator a name; it’s best to give it one that
helps distinguish it from any others. You will have collected several emula-
tors before publishing your first application.
4. From the Target drop-down menu, specify which SDK you want to target.
It’s simplest right now to start with Gingerbread (2.3.3), but everything will
still work on Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0).
5. In the SD Card field, select the Size radio button and enter a small size.
6.
In the Skin section, select the Built-In radio button and choose Default
WVGA800 from the drop-down menu.
The completed screen should look like Figure 1.5.
FIGURE . Conguring
a new Android Virtual
Device (AVD).
CONFIGURING ECLIPSE 
7.
Click Create AVD and do a little dance next to your desk (or don’t, it’s up
to you).
8.
Select your new emulator and click the Start button to get it running. The
laborious process of spinning up a new instance of the virtual device will begin.
WORKING WITH YOUR ANDROID PHONE
In almost all cases when I have an actual Android device, I’ll do development on
it over the emulator. One of the wonderful things about Android is how utterly
simple it is to connect and work with nearly any Android phone. Here’s what you’ll
need to do if you want to start working with your own device.
1.
Find the USB cable that came with your phone, and plug it into your
computer.
2.
On your home screen, press the menu bar and go to Settings > Applica-
tions> Development and enable USB debugging by selecting the check box.
3.
If you’re on a Windows machine, you may need to install the general USB
drivers. You can find them at http://developer.android.com/sdk/win-usb.html.
4.
If you’ve finished everything correctly, you should see a little bug icon in
the notification bar on your device. Your phone will work in exactly the
same way an emulator would.
:
Pro emulator tip: Once you start an instance of the emulator, you
don’t ever have to start it up again. Reinstalling the application does
not (as it does with many other systems) require you to spawn a new
instance of the emulator.
 CHAPTER  GETTING STARTED WITH ANDROID
Congratulations! If you’ve followed every step thus far, you have your very own
shiny emulator or connected device, your Android SDK is correctly installed, and
you’re ready to rock and roll. Take a minute to bask in your own glory and play
around with your new emulator (Figure 1.6) before moving on to the next section,
which is about creating applications.
FIGURE . Your shiny new
emulator.
: The emulator is a full Linux VM and can be a little heavy
on the system resources (especially while Eclipse is running),
somake sure your development machine has plenty of RAM.
CONFIGURING ECLIPSE 
CREATING A NEW
ANDROID PROJECT
Google has provided a few helpful ways to create a new Android project.
1. Start Eclipse if it isn’t already running.
2.
Choose File > New > Project. You should see the New Project screen
(Figure1.7).
3.
Click Next, and Android’s friendly project creation wizard will start
(Figure1.8).
Let’s go over what each field means to your project as you complete them.
FIGURE . Select the project
type here (Android Project).
FIGURE . Enter all the pesky
details for your project here.
: If you’re not seeing the Android folder, you’ll need to make
sure you’ve correctly installed the Android Eclipse plug-in. Head back
to “Configuring Eclipse” and see where things may have gone awry.
 CHAPTER  GETTING STARTED WITH ANDROID
4. Enter a name for your project in the Project Name field.
This is how Eclipse keeps track of your project. Further, it will create a folder
with this name and put all your project files into it. The project name will
not show up anywhere on the Android device once you install. The project
name is something that really only matters to Eclipse, so I tend to pick
descriptive names for projects.
5. In the Build Target section, select the version of Android you’re targeting.
Newer versions of Android always support applications built through older
SDKs. They accomplish this with what’s called compatibility mode. For now,
try to target the most advanced version you can.
6. In the Application Name field, enter the full name of your application.
This is what will show in the app drawer after you have installed your app.
7.
In the Package Name field, enter the Java package where you will place
your first activity.
8.
Select the Create Activity check box and enter a name for your new activity
in the text box.
This step creates a new class with this name, so Java class naming conven-
tions apply. In Chapter 2, you’ll learn more specifics about what activities
are and how they work.
9. Click Finish and you should be off to the races!
Now that you have a project, let’s get it running.
CREATING A NEW ANDROID PROJECT 
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