Android is a terrific mobile platform, boasting free development tools, and little red tape when it comes to publishing your software.

You’ll find plenty of resources online that can help you get started developing for it, yet this can be a bit overwhelming.

If you fall into this category, then read on as we go over some simple tips for getting started with Android.

Android. What is it, exactly?

Before we dive in, it’s worth covering what Android actually is. 

Many developers will tell you that Android is an operating system, but according to official sources at Google, it’s actually a software stack (part of which is an operating system, to be fair).
Android consists of the components needed to run a device. A base level of functionality, and an optimised virtual machine that runs Java-byte code.

Within this Java-based layer, you’ll find the tools and environment required by developers to increase the functionality of the device to run apps.

Tools & resources

First up, as an Android developer, you’re going to want to get Android Studio (the Android SDK). It’s the fastest way to get building apps for Android.

Next up you’ll want to bookmark and read the Android developer guide and Android design guide, as they’ll be your daily go-to.

Finally, you’ll want to register yourself an account on Bitbucket or Github. These services let you store and version control your code, which makes development heaps easier. 

The good news is that all of these tools and resources are totally free.

Best programming practices

There are a number of best practices that all quality Android developers should know. The first and perhaps most important is to remember that the performance is crucial.

Any lag or delayed response will be noticed by your user, and it will mean bad news for you and your app. If the user gets no response five seconds after input, you’re going to get hit by an “application not responding” message, which gives the user the opportunity to force-quit your app. If that happens, they’re unlikely to come back.

You also have to be prepared to adapt and not make any assumptions, as Android devices come in different sizes, makes and with different capabilities. This isn’t iOS that you’re developing for, where you know the hardware that your user is carrying is limited to a few models and OS versions.

Your apps have to be as compatible with as many Android devices as is possible.

Always changing

It’s worth bearing in mind that the Android development world is constantly changing, so you do need to keep on top of those changes if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

To help you do this, you can’t beat a contemporary education in development. Having one will set you up for a rewarding career in the industry.

Here at AMES we have spent the past 25 years teaching the brightest minds in the country, preparing them for a career in IT.

Why not get in touch and see what we can do to set you on the right track today?