Friday, January 2, 2015

Android first application hello world

First Off, Happy New Year Everybody!

Perhaps there are ten or even hundreds of first application develop using android if you google. Well today, I will share mine too, hey, start of year, a hello world would be nice too. :) If you have programming skill in java and using eclipse IDE, then you come to this right place. In this article, I will use eclipse IDE and develop a hello world android application. I figured it was a painless few steps setup but it took me several days to get everything going due to my hectic life and problems encountered during this learning journey. I hope with these explain, you will have better and easier learning experience than I did.

This article assume you have read and had setup the Android Developer Toolkit plugin into eclipse IDE and Speed up android emulator startup in eclipse. If you have not, please refer to this link and this link respectively. Okay, let's get started as I will show project creation in steps with screenshots. I will document and describe my learning experience below but if you want to read further on certain topics, you can refer on the official documentation, then please refer to this link.

1. create a new android application project. If it is not listed in the tab File, try Other... ;)



2. Click Next button, it is a window to configure the new android application project. Here fill in the information which as such for this introduction course.


3. Click Next button, yet another window to configure the project. The default settings will work mostly fine for this introductory course.


4. Click next button, this is a setting for the application icons. I'm not a color person but this colors design works like a charm for me. :-) if you want to take the challenge, try change the default icon.


5. Click next button, the default Black Activity just fine to display the text hello world later.


6. Click next button, again, the default configuration work just fine. This is the last configuration.


7. Click finish button and now check your workspace, it should have created all the necessary files.

I remembered the first time I have setup, the tutorial never mentioned about installing android support libraries, so once Finish button was click, the project created with errors. This is a big of learning curve for something who is new to android. Let alone to say if you are new to java or even IDE. See screenshot below.


For your information, this project require a support library which is available in Android SDK manager. Okay, now, let's install android support library. On eclipse tab, click on Window and then Android SDK Manager. Find out where is the android support library and install it. See the screenshots below, it should give you sufficient of information to get this done.



eclipse-android-sdk-manager-accept-licence eclipse-android-sdk-manager-installing-support-packageeclipse-android-sdk-manager-done-support-packageBy now, eclipse will request you to restart, hence, restart your eclipse. Once restarted, you should see a new project known as appcompat_v7 exists in the Package Explorer window. If you project is still contain error, check if your project is build automatically. You can click on eclipse menu tab, Project then Build Automatically... is checked. The project should contain no error and if there is still error, in the eclipse, click on Problems tab and identify what is the error. Because error is dependent on your platform and version of eclipse and/or android sdk, hence, if you have problem, google and fix them. This is left for your exercises. If everything is okay, your project should be as similar as mine such as below.

appcompat_v7_myfirstapp eclipse-hello-world

Okay, now check the project properties make sure everything is okay.

eclipse-android-java-build-path eclipse-android-configuration

As you can notice above, I have also install Android 4.4W.2 sdk for my learning journey, but I have enabled Android 5.0 for this project. The reference project appcompat_v7 is valid and exists. Both of android projects are free from any errors. So far so good.

Note, there is a directory known as gen and educated guess said it is automatic generated files. As such, you should not modify directory to the file within this gen package but leave it automatically generated. Please note, must autogenerated for this project to compiled successfully for our next journey and if you do not see this file, then you should be worry and find out where and what is the problem why never get generated. Hint, don't try to add into an invalid from somewhere but fix the root cause here.

Just before we launch the application in android emulator, let's see some android files here.

eclipse-android-style-xml eclipse-android-androidManifest

So all looking good, it should be ready now to launch this hello world android application in android emulator. Just like launching a simple java app, the sequence is pretty much the same for android. Right click on the project, then click on Run As / Debug As. Since this is the first android application, you might have not configured Android Virtual Device (avd), you should by now configure one. If you have done the previous article, Speed up android emulator startup in eclipse. It should be a breeze here and just select this avd. If not, you can follow the procedures using the screenshots below.


Because the startup emulator is slow, I would suggest to leave the emulator running as long as you are learning to develop the application. Because starting the emulator in my workstation took minutes. As seen in the output below, I have configured two different avd and the output of one screenshot shown My First App is shown in the android menu. Cool!

eclipse-android-started-avd eclipse-android-avd-screen

Try click on My First App through the emulator, it should hello world. :-) That's it for this learning experience and I hope you learn something and if you want to contribute back, you can do so by donating back.

Thank you.

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