Today I set out to build my first Android app. I have a future project that involves using a phone, so I wanted to start learning the platform. I’ve a fair bit of programming experience, so this wasn’t a huge accomplishment, I’ve just never built anything on the Android platform, so I wanted to get familiar with it now when I have some time.
I started this project like I start many of my projects: I Googled “make and Android app” and I found this tutorial on the Android Developer site. The first thing I needed to do was install the Android Studio using the link from the tutorial. Of course the first thing it said when I got it running was that there was a new version. So I deleted that install and found the new version here. This is actually a link to the “Recent Changes” page, so it should stay relevant.
I followed the instructions for creating a new project using Android Studio. The conventions are not that different from Microsoft Visual Studio or other IDE’s I’ve used before. I used some different names rather than copy and paste from the tutorial, because I’ve found that it helps you understand what’s going on better than the program not compiling because a name is wrong. Luckily the first time I ran it it compiled properly,I wasn;t so lucky running it on the emulator though. The Nexus 5 kept crashing, so I tried a Nexus 4 and it ran beautifully.
So far so good, I followed the tutorial to make a more interactive app. After going through the tutorial and finding it didn’t work I had to go back and do some debugging, sure enough I had some spelling errors. I finally got the app running properly and decided this wasn’t really allowed to say I’ve built an app unless I could make an .apk and load it onto my phone.
That turned out to be the hardest part of the project. I had to create a signing key for a release. I found some good info here, but it took me a few trues and a lot of Googling to finally get a signed .apk sitting in my project folder. Then I loaded it onto my phone and took the above screenshots.