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Development tools for Android - Eclipse
Summary
This series of articles looks at the development tools for Android based development in detail. This article looks at getting started with Eclipse for Android, especially if you have not done much of Eclipse development or have been a Visual Studio developer.
 
Table of Contents

Eclipse

Choosing the Right Flavor

Extracting the files

Figure 1. Extracting the Eclipse files with 7-Zip

Exploring

Figure 2. Eclipse Europa flash screen

Setup the workspace directory

Create a shortcut

Welcome Screen

Figure 3. The Eclipse Main window

Pictures ...

More Articles ...

 
Article Series
Previous Article: This is the First Article of the Series
This article is part of the Series:
Article Series: Getting Started with Google Android
Next Article:
Getting started with the Android SDK and plugins for Eclipse

Eclipse

The first thing you need for Android development is Eclipse. Eclipse is the open source equivalent of Visual Studio. Some might say Visual Studio is the less flexible commercial equivalent of Eclipse.

While Visual Studio is used for developing Windows and .Net (C#, VB, etc.) programs, Eclipse is very popular for developing Java applications (Eclipse bills itself as a general purpose IDE – with the right IDE you can develop in any language). Both are very powerful development environments.

If you are setting up for developing applications for Android (or participating in Android Developer Challenge), you need the right flavor or Eclipse. Eclipse IDE (Integrated Development Environment) can be used for developing Java, C/C++, PHP, and other languages (including COBOL).

Choosing the Right Flavor

Since the development for Android is done in Java, you would need the Eclipse IDE that’s optimized for the Java development. You have two options available for Eclipse development:

  • Eclipse IDE for Java Developers
  • Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers
The second option (Java EE) is larger than the first one. It includes tools for data tools, and lot of other features. But both the options should work fine. Both these editions are available from http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/. Android page suggests Eclipse Europa, which is the ‘brand name’ for the latest release of Eclipse.

Following are the screenshots and notes for installing the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers on Windows Vista:

Depending on your connection speed and the mirror site, it may take some time to download this 126MB zip file. Most of the mirror sites you can choose from are from universities. They don’t seem to be super fast.

Extracting the files

Then extract the Eclipse files with 7-Zip as the Eclipse site suggests there might be a problem with the Windows XP or Windows Vista built-in unzip functionality with very long directory+file names. You might try it keep the root directory name where you are going to extract this short. For example, if you try to extract the files into d:\, then the files will be extracted into d:\eclipse)

Figure 1. Extracting the Eclipse files with 7-Zip

Extracting the Eclipse files
7-Zip is a nice little free unzipping tool for Windows (while you might use the Vista built-in functionality to extract the .zip files, this would be convenient to get the files out of TAR, etc.). You can down download this from www.7-zip.org.

Exploring

That’s all it takes to install Eclipse. Just unzipping. If you installed (unzipped) Eclipse in, say, d:\, then you will see eclipse.exe in the d:\eclipse directory. Just double-click on eclipse.exe, you will see Eclipse Europa on the flash screen that Android requires.

Figure 2. Eclipse Europa flash screen

Eclipse Europa flash screen
You want to set up a couple of things before going ahead with the development:

Setup the workspace directory

First time you start eclipse, it asks you to set up a workspace directory. Under this directory all the future projects will be saved. It’s likely that you won’t like the default directory that eclipse suggests (d:\users\\workspace). You may want to change it to some other place (e.g. d:\eclipse\workspace).

You can check the “Use this as the default and do not ask again” checkbox to save that directory as the default workspace to be not bothered with that dialog box again.

Create a shortcut

You can simply right-click on eclipse.exe and choose Create Shortcut and drag the created shortcut onto the desktop. This saves you from having to find the eclipse.exe to open up the program.

Welcome Screen

On the pretty welcome screen of Eclipse, you will find a lot of goodies:

  • Overview of the Eclipse features
  • What’s new in this version
  • Samples
  • Tutorials
And finally, using the workbench will take you to actually creating a project and start writing code. Figure 3 shows the Eclipse main window with SWT samples open. The opened Java source file (AnimatedGraphicsTab.java) is from the graphics project (org.eclipse.swt.examples.graphics).

Figure 3. The Eclipse Main window

The Eclipse Main window
This article assumes you have JRE (Java Runtime Environment) has already been setup (for something else) on the machine you are installing Eclipse. If not, you need install the appropriate version.

Here we haven’t installed other enterprise development pieces like application server or other features like Test and Performance Tools. You may do so if you need them.

This concludes the quick introduction to (and setting up) Eclipse, the main development tool needed for Android development (or, perhaps, the Android Developer Challenge).

Pictures ...

Following articles have some screenshots of Android:

Pictures of Games on Google Phone / Android
This article contains the screenshots of sample games in the Google Phone emulator (the emulator from the Android).

Pictures of Main User Interface and Web on Google Phone / Android
This article has screenshots of the main interface of a Google Phone (or the basic set of Android features). Also has various screenshots of the web browser built into Android.

Pictures of basic functionality on a Google Phone / Android
This article shows the pictures of interest to the developers of applications on Google Phone / Android. These are the pictures of API Demos and built-in Developer Tools.

More Articles ...

In this set of introductory articles for getting ready for Android development, you many want to peruse the following articles:

Development tools for Android - Eclipse
This article looks at getting started with Eclipse for Android, especially if you have not done much of Eclipse development or have been a Visual Studio developer.

Getting started with the Android SDK and plugins for Eclipse
Eclipse at its core is a small platform runtime with a whole bunch of plugins providing the functionality for each area. So, the next step in getting ready for Android development is to install the appropriate plugin.

Article Series
Previous Article: This is the First Article of the Series
This article is part of the Series:
Article Series: Getting Started with Google Android
Next Article:
Getting started with the Android SDK and plugins for Eclipse
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