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I'm recording this video series using the latest version of the Android SDK as of the time of recording: Android 4.2, Jelly Bean. Jelly Bean is the same nickname as was used for Android 4.1, but the developer toolkit has been changed in a number of ways. Most importantly, the SDK now includes a customized version of Eclipse. So instead of downloading Eclipse from eclipse.org, as you might have done in the past, you might now want to use the bundled version, which is all set up and will get you up and running very quickly.
That's the version that I'll be using in this course and to follow along most effectively, I recommend using it yourself. To download the free developer tools go to the website developer.android.com/sdk. This page shows a link to download the SDK for your operating system. I'm working on Mac OS X, so I could click and download the SDK from here. You can find versions of the SDK for other operating systems from this link: Download for Other Platforms.
There are versions of the bundle for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. There are also tools to download the SDK itself without Eclipse, and if you want to use your own copy of Eclipse, you can do that as well. But again, to follow along in this course, I recommend using the bundled version. When you download the SDK, it will come to you as a compressed file. Extract it anywhere on your system. I have extracted it to the desktop. The name of the folder on my system is adt-bundle-mac, and within that folder there is an eclipse folder and an sdk folder.
I'll double-click into eclipse and then double-click on the Eclipse application icon. You'll see that this customized version of Eclipse is branded. It will show a title of Android Developer Tools, or ADT, instead of Eclipse, but it is standard Eclipse, and this is based on Eclipse 3.7, or Indigo. I'll start up the ADT and that will create a new workspace folder. I'll accept the option to send usage statistics to Google and click Finish and then take a look at the information and links that are on the Welcome page.
Then I'll close the Welcome page and that will take me to the Eclipse User interface. I'll expand the Eclipse window to full screen, and I'm ready to get started. When you first install ADT, it includes the SDK for Android 4.2. If you want other versions of the SDK, you can go to the menu and choose Window > Android SDK Manager. The SDK Manager will show all available versions and show you what's installed and what's not installed.
The SDK for Android 4.2 is already installed, and that's what I'll be targeting throughout the course. If you're targeting the older version of Jelly Bean--Android 4.1--you might want to install this SDK, or if your focus is on cell phones with older versions of Android, such as 2.3, you can install those SDKs. Minimally, I do recommend installing the documentation for Android 4.2. To do that, check the option, then click Install 1 Package.
Walk through the prompts, accepting terms and conditions as needed, and then click Install. It will take a few minutes for the documentation to download, but once it's installed, you'll be able to use the API documentation without necessarily needing a link to the Internet. In addition to the documentation, if you're working on Windows, you'll want to install drivers that will allow you to connect to devices for debugging. You don't need to do this on Mac; you can connect devices automatically, but on Windows you will need these drivers, and they aren't installed automatically.
To do this, go to the Extras folder and then check the option for the Google USB Driver. On my system it tells me it's not compatible with Mac, but on Windows go ahead and follow the prompts to install it and then you'll be able to install the driver on Windows. I'll be exclusively using an emulator in this course and not external devices, so you don't need the USB driver to follow along in this video series, but if you want to do debugging on a real device on Windows, you will need this option.
Once you've installed the SDK, there's one more change I'd like you to make to follow along in the course. I'm going to be making a lot of use of Logcat, the logging architecture that lets you trace what's going on in an application at runtime. I always add Logcat to my perspective. I'll go to the menu and choose Window > Show View and then select Other. Then I'll go to Android and I'll choose Logcat and click OK. Then with Logcat added to my perspective, I'll save the perspective.
From the menu, I'll choose Window > Save Perspective As, and I'll name my perspective Android. That will be the beginning screen setup for everything I do in this video series. So now, with the SDK and Eclipse configured, it's time to go to the next step: creating a virtual device for the Android emulator--and I'll show you the steps I'm following for that in the next video.
- Exploring local data storage options
- Creating an Android virtual device
- Starting a new project
- Defining preferences with Java and activities
- Creating and reading JSON and XML data files
- Creating a new SQLite database
- Inserting and retrieving data in the database