Programming for Android - Best programs to create apps

Programming for Android – Best programs to create apps


But whatever our final goal, we must start slowly and have a lot of patience. It is also important that we select the software and development environments that we find most comfortable. Hence, the solutions we are going to talk about in these lines.

Professional programs to create apps for Android

Professional programming IDEs are designed for users who already have extensive knowledge and experience in software development. Typically, these types of programming environments allow us to write our applications from scratch in Java, C or Kotlin (the Android programming languages) and help us both analyze and debug this code.

Below, we will talk about some of these IDEs specially created to be part of our preparation and development of applications for Android devices.

Android Studio, the IDE par excellence

Years ago, Google recommended using a modified version of Eclipse to program in Android. However, the company finally launched its own programming IDE, Android Studio. This IDE is based on Eclipse, and has all the official documentation to be able to program for this operating system. It is the most complete environment that we can find, and the one that helps us to best follow Google’s design guidelines and access all the libraries.

This program allows us to program both in Javathanks to its official SDK, and in C++ native (so as not to go through the virtual machine) thanks to the NDK. Thanks to its interface design section, we will be able to shape our apps by dragging and dropping each of the elements that we want to be seen on the screen. In addition, it also has an emulator included that allows us to mount an official Android virtual machine where we can test and debug the apps before uploading them to the store.

Android Studio 4.2

We can download Android Studio from its website.

Xamarin, essential for creating cross-platform Android apps

Do we want our app to be released simultaneously for Android, iOS and Windows? Then we must look for a specialized programming IDE such as XamarinThis programming environment was created by Microsoft, and is part of the Visual Studio suite.

Unlike other programming IDEs, this one is designed exclusively for programming in C#. If you already have experience with this programming language, creating an Android app will be faster and easier than doing it with Java or the NDK. However, it completely breaks with the way things are done in other IDEs such as Android Studio. Therefore, if you are used to Google’s programming environment, and you have never worked with Xamarin before, you may have serious problems.

Xamarin

We can download Xamarin from this link.

Eclipse, the precursor to Android Studio

This IDE is very similar to Android Studio. In fact, since all developers used it before its release, some people still use it to create their apps. The main strength of this IDE is that, unlike Google’s, it is designed to program for multiple operating systems at once, and makes it much easier to translate an app into multiple languages. However, since it is not officially supported by Google, it can make the development of the app, or some parts of it (such as the interface) slower. In addition, it is easier to miss errors in this IDE since it does not have a debugger as specialized as Android Studio.

Eclipse IDE

We can download Eclipse for Windows from here.

Unity, perfect for games

If you are looking to create a better game instead of an application, then we must bet on a specialized engine such as UnityAlthough it is possible to create games with Android Studio, doing so is infinitely more complicated than doing so with an engine like this, as well as being much more limited, which translates into a lower quality of the product.

Thanks to Unity (or Unreal Engineif we prefer) we will be able to create all kinds of games, both 2D and 3D. This programming IDE allows us to program our games in JavaScript or C++ (whichever we prefer) and has a large number of tools and resources to shape our title. In addition, we will be able to easily add all kinds of in-app purchases to be able to monetize the game much better.

Unity is one of the best prepared to introduce touch controls, although we will also be able to create conventional controls for the camera and object control if we want to take it to other platforms. When compiling the game we can do it for all types of operating systems at the same time. And if we do not reach a certain amount of income we do not have to pay any license to the company.

Unity 2019

We can download Unity for free from the following link.

Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s editor for everything

If we don’t have special needs, and we want a programming IDE as basic and simple as possible, then we can give it a try. Visual Studio CodeThis is Microsoft’s free and open source text editor for programming in all kinds of programming languages. Its main feature is that it is an IDE that we can customize and adjust to our needs through the use of plugins. Therefore, thanks to the Android extensions that we can download and install, we can use it without problems to create apps for Google’s operating system.

Visual Studio Code Android

We can download VSC from its main website.

B4A, for BASIC programmers

You don’t like programming in Java or C? Then B4A is the best IDE you can find. This programming environment is designed to allow users to create apps for Android in BASIC language, which, when compiled, are directly adapted to the SDK of this operating system.

Basic for Android, B4A, offers us a very easy-to-use environment, allowing us to design interfaces and implement the code we want. In addition, since it can access the same APIs and libraries as Android Studio, it does not sacrifice any functionality of this system. The apps we create with this program can be easily ported to B4i so that we can compile them for iOS.

B4A IDE

We can download B4A for free from here.

Simpler development programs

But to create our own apps it is not always necessary to know how to program. There are programs, or rather platforms, that help us create our own applications without having to write a single line of code.

Obviously, these software solutions will be of great help to those who are not too experienced in this software sector, but who still want to develop their Android projects. Instead of using the IDEs that we have already mentioned above and that require a good part of programming knowledge, we can opt for these solutions. One of their main characteristics is that they automate a good part of the processes that we can carry out here, thus saving us from typing code, something that we do not master a priori.

ScoreApps, an all-in-one solution

This is one of the most well-known and complete platforms for creating automatic apps without programming that we can find. This platform will allow us to give an additional boost to our business by creating professional apps packed with functions. It is designed to show all kinds of information to clients, as well as to integrate social networks. In addition, we can automate a large number of tasks by adding interactions with Zapier.

InfiniteMonkeys, create apps with just Drag&Drop

This is one of the simplest platforms we can find to create all kinds of mobile applications. IM allows us to create applications for Android, iOS and HTML5, so we can upload and distribute them as we wish. It has a wide variety of templates and allows us to create applications that work both online and offline.

MobinCube, create apps for free and without programming

MobinCube is another of the best-known platforms that allow us to create applications for free and without programming. In 4 simple steps, this platform allows us to have our own Android app created and published in the Google app store. In addition, it has its own advertising platform that will allow developers to earn money by creating apps through this service. We can use it for free, or pay to have more control over the apps (such as removing the intro or increasing the number of active users per month).

How to try our new apps

If we have a mobile phone, we have the possibility of testing our development projects on it. All of this will be very helpful, as you can imagine, in order to get a very precise idea of ​​how the application will work on a real smartphone, something that is difficult to know in the virtual machines that we can create.

This is possible thanks to the Android Debug Bridge, a kind of tunnel through which a computer can communicate with Android in developer mode. To be able to carry out this practice, it is necessary to activate the developer options of our phone. Since each interface is different, it is difficult to indicate exact steps to carry out this task, but, broadly speaking, what we must do is:

  • Enable developer options (hidden by default) by tapping 5 times on the Android build number.
  • Go to Developer Options and enable USB Debugging.
  • Connect your smartphone to your computer via cable.
  • Install the ADB drivers (if applicable) from your manufacturer. You can download them from this link.

Once the previous steps have been completed, we can check if the mobile is correctly connected to the PC. To do this, we must go to the Android Studio installation directory, inside the android_sdk/platform-tools folder, open a CMD window and run the following command: adb devices. If the mobile is connected in debug mode, it will appear in the list.

Since Android 11, the operating system supports Android Debug Bridge via Wi-Fi. If we want to avoid the USB cable (which, on the other hand, is an advantage) we must activate the wireless debugging option from the Android Developer Options. Now, from the Android SDK, we will run the following commands to link the mobile to the PC, changing ipaddr:port with the corresponding IP and port. When it asks us for a PIN, it will appear on the mobile, and we will enter it anyway.

adb pair ipaddr:port adb connect ipaddr:port

If the wireless connection is giving us problems, then we should better use USB debugging.

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