So, You Want To Develop Android Apps? Here’s How To Learn

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android app developAfter so many years, one would think that the mobile market is now saturated with every app imaginable to man – but that’s not the case. There are plenty of niches that still need to be filled and even current markets with several leading apps can still fall behind in quality. All that to say: there’s always room for new Android apps, and with a little bit of know-how, you could be the next developer to create a smash hit.

Before you begin on your Android development journey, there are a few prerequisites that you need to fulfill.

Java Experience: Android development is mostly done in Java. It’s not a difficult language to learn, per se, but knowing how it applies to Android development can be confusing without a firm foundation in the language. Android Java is not exactly standard Java, but learning standard Java will make it much easier for you to pick up Android development.

XML Experience: Knowing XML can be useful in a number of tech-related fields and Android is no exception. In particular, XML files make it easier to declare UI elements in the apps you create. Past experience is a big plus.

Development Environment: Most Android developers recommend using Eclipse as the development environment for your coding sessions. You’ll also need to install the Android SDK before you can begin making apps. Fortunately, Android provides a single package that includes Eclipse, Android SDK, and related tools. Be aware that in the near future, most Android development will move away from Eclipse toward Android Studio, so you may want to look into that as well.

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Perseverance: Lastly, learning the ins and outs of the Android development toolkit is going to take time. Learning how to create a quality app is going to take even more time. Don’t rush. Keep at it and focus your mind on the long term. If you don’t, you’ll be frustrated and want to give up.

Official Android Developer Site

android app develop

The best place to begin this list would be the official Android developer site. They have everything you could ever need for your app-developing journey, including the IDEs and tools mentioned above for getting started. And seeing as how this site is run by the actual maintainers of the Android SDK, it makes sense that their information would be the best and most up-to-date.

For beginners, this site has a comprehensive training section that ranges from setting up your environment and building your first Android app all the way to distributing a finalized app and making money on the Play Store. For advanced users, the API guides and references will always be there to help you find the most efficient solutions to your app-development troubles.

My favorite part about this site is that they don’t just teach you how to do things, but how to do them well. There are four training sections for “best practices” regarding interface design, user input, performance, and security – absolute essentials for anyone wanting to learn Android development.

Price: FREE

Mobile Tuts+ with Android

how to develop android apps

Tuts+ (AKA TutsPlus) is a great resource for tutorials in general, but their Android section has tons of great information for newbie and veteran developers alike. Just browse through the Android listings and you’ll find over 150 development tutorials that have been posted over the past three years.

It’s wonderful that Tuts+ categorizes each tutorial according to technology (Android SDK in this case) as well as difficulty and estimated completion time. These tutorials are all text-based, but they are professionally formatted and include loads of screenshots to help you in case of confusion.

I mentioned before that you’ll want to know Java and XML before jumping into Android development. Well, the Android 101 series of tutorials on Tuts+ starts you off with an introduction to Java before tackling the Android SDK. They really know what they’re doing and they’ve done a fantastic job in easing the learning curve.
Price: FREE

Marakana Android Bootcamp Series 2012

how to develop android apps

Marakana is a company that provides training to IT professionals in various fields and their expertise really shows when you take a look at some of their offerings. On the Android front, they’ve released a series of videos called the Android Bootcamp Series and they’ve proven to be some of the most helpful Android development videos currently out there.

The videos were recorded during a five-day live training camp for Android development, so these aren’t your run-of-the-mill YouTube videos with passable knowledge on certain subjects – rather, these are real teachings that have been taught in actual seminar environments by professionals for professionals.

Each lesson is of variable length: some only taking thirty minutes to consume while others can take up to three hours. It’s amazing that Marakana released five days’ worth of teaching for free, so take advantage of it while you can. However, before you begin, you should have a good grasp of Java since it is one of their prerequisites for the course.

Price: FREE

Android Development Tutorials @ Vogella.com

how to develop android apps

Vogella is a website dedicated to the acquisition and distribution of knowledge for Java, Android, and Eclipse. They have a series of tutorials for Android development and they are highly professional, lined with tons of screenshots and advice to get you started as quickly as possible without skipping over important details.

These tutorials begin from the very bottom, such as setting up your Android development environment and learning basic Android development concepts, to intermediate topics like processing XML, designing advanced interfaces, and playing with device sensors. The quantity isn’t as large as the other resources in this article, but the quality can’t be ignored.

Price: FREE

Android Development Series @ Lynda.com

android app develop

If you learn best by video and the Bootcamp series from Marakana wasn’t enough for you then you may want to consider the Android development videos on Lynda.com, a website with thousands of different video courses across hundreds of different tech-related subjects. Lynda.com’s Android section is home to eleven video courses that are each somewhere between two and seven hours long, resulting in over 40 hours of quality education.

One video takes you through the process of building a note-taking app from scratch. Another video provides seven hours of the essential Java training that you’ll need. Yet another video tackles the subject of Flash game development on Android. They’re all worth a watch and Lynda has proven to be a vast resource for learning.

Price: $25 per month subscription. There is an option for a seven-day free trial. If you subscribe, make sure you take advantage of the price and check out the other educational subjects on the site.

Conclusion

This is a great time for learning how to develop apps for Android. There are more resources available out there than at any time before, and you can access most of those resources without ever paying a cent. And it doesn’t matter which method you prefer – written guides, video tutorials, recorded lectures, etc. – because there’s enough variety.

Not mentioned in the article is MIT App Inventor, which is a tool provided by MIT that turns the app development process into a visual one. It’s great for non-coders and beginners, though it does sacrifice a lot of the flexibility and control that comes with creating an app from scratch. Check out our guide to MIT App Inventor if you’re interested.

Just remember that it won’t be an overnight process. It takes a good deal of time to learn and internalize the necessary concepts, so don’t give up. Keep at it and one day you may have a market-breaking app that everyone loves.

Image Credits: Android Phone Via Shutterstock

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22 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Rui L

After seeing all the requirements, i don’t i am going to ever code an app for android :(

Simen

It’s not as hard as this article says! Three days ago, I hadn’t written a single line of java code, XML was something I’d barely touched and Eclipse was… some sort of astronomical stuff? Today, I’ve got my own flashlight app. :-)

All I did was to follow the first two classes on the Android dev website, then Googling the syntax as I progressed. So don’t give up just yet!

And to whoever designs this website: where did the Facebook login button go? (I’m using Chrome on Android)

Kristian A

I think that XML is very to learn language, about facebook login they changed login system and now you can make account without social networks.

Joel Lee

Like Simen said, if you follow the various tutorials well and pay attention, you’ll be able to catch on. If you don’t meet the prerequisites in the article, the learning curve will be harder but not impossible!

John M

I found perfect site for creating apps…Yesterday I ended up on some site called apps-machine.com . I have to share it with you guys. I started creating my own app and after 15 minutes clicking on their control panel(no programming,just clicks) I made app in what user could make effects on their photos,paint photos,play music,play videos,have notepad,chat and stream music. They got literally 1000’s of features on their control panel :D I think this could be a gold mine :P :P And I read something that they have free app development and so on. Aaand you can change everything all the backgrounds,colors,tabs…and you instantly see it on that same page through their simulator..don’t know how they managed to do that but it is super handy…I am super excited at the moment..time to get some apps on apple and play store :D :D

Reply

Daniel J

Thanks a TON!!

Reply

Brandon R

You forgot mention the TheNewBoston website which consist of 200 Android video tutorials http://thenewboston.org/list.php?cat=6

Joel Lee

I’ve heard good and bad about TheNewBoston. Some people say they learned from it, while others say that their teaching material is incomplete and sometimes incorrect. I don’t have enough knowledge to dispute the claim one way or another, but I left it out just in case.

For those who are looking for more resources, definitely check it out and see for yourself. Thanks, Brandon!

Reply

jonen560ti

nice, they`ve got Android studio available for Linux

Reply

rohit

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sumit

I want to build an app, pls give your contact info on my mail app.

thanks

Rohit Dhawan

U can contact me on skype “rohitdhawan18″ waiting for ur request. Thank you

Reply

Zoya Bennet

This would be the best guide for those want to build Android apps. The way article been explained was too good and expecting this to be useful to all. For people who are in search for android apps which is useful as well as interesting I am adding here a source.

http://www.contus.com/android-application-development.php

Reply

lucky

Here is a nice tutorial for beginners i took. Its for absolute beginners.
Its not free but still i found it totally worth as i would have wasted much more time in starting up without this tutorial. It gave me a nice start.
http://www.udemy.com/beginning-with-android-development-first-app-and-beyond

Reply

Android Guy

@Joel Thanks for this amazing article. I was just looking for starting up my android app development journey from scrach and I have found your article. I don’t have any programming background but after reading your articoe now I am certain where should I have to start.

Thanks again for these valuable sources.

Joel L

You’re welcome! I’m glad they could help. :)

Reply

jack

Thanks for the help friend!!!

Reply

evely

Reply

Sanjeev

Hi,
You can learn Professional Android App development from basics at Wiziq.com. They provide online instructor led training on their own virtual classroom platform. Course completion certificates are also given.
For more details visit the links below:
http://www.wiziq.com/course/21661
http://www.wiziq.com/course/25894

Reply

Rex

Many of the current Android tutorials online focus on the Eclipse IDE. The future is now JetBrain’s Android Studio IDE. I have created a comprehensive guide focusing on Android Studio for beginners. Yes, it is free.

http://rexstjohn.com/how-to-make-android-app-android-studio/

Reply

Chinmay S

There is a 200 video Android Development series on thenewboston

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUOWNXGRc6g&list=SP2F07DBCDCC01493A

Reply

Ravi

Also checkout http://wingnity.com/android. They are providing online classes for free. Worth it.

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