You've decided you want to take the leap and see what Android development is all about. Well let's tackle jump the first hurdle and download Android Studio, the official development environment for Android software. There's going to be a few terms that come up a lot during this process so let's knock those out of the way now.
- IDE - Integrated Development Environment. This is where you will do all of your programming, debugging, editing, and publishing. Basically, it is the piece of software that takes you from the very beginning of your project to the very end. Android Studio is the IDE we will be using for Android apps.
- SDK - Software Development Kit. This is the set of tools you will use to design your software for a specific platform. We will be using the Android SDK which is included with Android Studio. This will allow us to build Android apps, but unlike an IDE, cannot be used to build apps for other platforms.
- API - Application Program Interface. These are sets of tools used to build specific more software. Say you wanted to write an app that included a way to post to Facebook. You would have to use one of Facebook's API's to interact with their platform.
- AVD - Android Virtual Device. This is the emulator, a piece of software that will replicate the physical device you want to test your app on. If you have an Android device, and its recommended that you have one if not more, you can use that too. But an emulator allows you to set up different screen sizes, memory capabilities, pixel densities and much more. You can test your app on a wide variety of different devices without having to shell out the money for them.
Those are the big ones you need to worry about in the beginning. Now let's get to the good stuff. The first thing you do is navigate to the Android Studio home page and click the big, green download button.
Agree to their terms, click the final download button and save the executable to your downloads folder. When this is done, navigate to that downloads folder and start it up. Next you'll see this screen so click next and follow the on screen instructions.
On the next screen we're asked if we want to install the SDK and the Android Virtual Device (AVD). Remember those? We definitely want those so keep them selected and click next.
Then just agree to their terms if you feel so inclined. On the next page, just leave the locations the same for Android Studio and the SDK unless you have reason to change them. On the last page, hit Install, and let Android Studio do it's thing!
That's it. Easy peezy! Stick around and we'll go through learning your way around Android Studio in another post.