Android Development – Getting Started

Recently I’ve been traveling by train a lot, and the National Rail website provides an outstanding service of being able to display train information for journeys from a specified station to another station. A downside though is that the page to specify the journey options is incredibly slow to render on a mobile phone.

I decided I’d write a little Android App to take the information from myself and then redirect to render their results webpage in the browser. The ideal solution for this would have been just a webpage, however I’m not sure about wanting to open this up to everybody, and besides it was a good learning opportunity.

Installation of Tools

Firstly, I did this on a works PC, so was running Windows XP. I installed ‘Eclipse IDE for Java Developers (Vn 3.5 SR 2) from http://www.eclipse.org/download. Once the download had been extracted I start Eclipse to make sure everything appeared to be functioning.

Next was to download the Android SDK (http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html) and I extracted this to C:\AndroidSDK\

I then needed to update the Windows Environment PATH setting to include the SDK location. This was achieved by right-clicking My Computer-Properties-System Environment and finding the path setting.

Next was to add the Android Development Tools. In Eclipse, select the Help menu and then the Add New Software option. Enter the path https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse

Click next, accept all licences, next and then restart the IDE when prompted to. Then head to the Windows menu and select Preferences. Set the directory to the SDK directory.

Finally go to Windows menu, select Android SDK and AVD Manager, click all the check boxes and accept all licenses and install.

Confirming Installation

Select the File menu and create a new Android project.

Right click on the project and select Run As Android Application. You’ll be prompted to create a new application. Once created, refresh the device selection screen and the new device will be displayed. Select the device and after a short delay (depending on the spec of the machine) the Android emulator should appear with a Hello World test app.

In my next post I’ll go through the details of creating the actual application.

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