1.4: Resources to Help You Learn


This chapter describes resources available for Android developers, and how to use them.

Exploring Android developer documentation

The best place to learn about Android development and to keep informed about the newest Android development tools is to browse the official Android developer documentation.


Home page

Android Developer Documentation Home

This documentation contains a wealth of information kept current by Google. To start exploring, click the following links on the home page:

  • Get Android Studio: Download Android Studio, the official integrated development environment (IDE) for building Android apps.
  • Browse sample code: Browse the sample code library in GitHub to learn how to build different components for your apps. Click the categories in the left column to browse the available samples. Each sample is a fully functioning Android app. You can browse the resources and source files, and see the overall project structure. Copy and paste the code you need, and if you want to share a link to a specific line you can double-click it to the get the URL. For more sample code, see "Exploring code samples in the Android SDK" in this chapter.
  • Watch stories: Learn about other Android developers, their apps, and their successes with Android and Google Play. The page offers videos and articles with the newest stories about Android development, such as how developers improved their users experiences, and how to increase user engagement with apps.

The home page also offers links for Android developers to preview their apps for the newest version of Android, and to join the Google Play developer program:

  • Developer Console: The Google Play store is Google's digital distribution system for apps developed with the Android SDK. On the Google Play Developer Console page you can accept the Developer Agreement, pay the registration fee, and complete your account details in order to join the Google Play developer program.
  • Preview: Go to the preview page for the newest version of Android to test your apps for compatibility, and to take advantage of new features like app shortcuts, image keyboard support, circular icons, and more.
  • Android, Wear, TV, and Auto: Learn about the newest versions of Android for smartphones and tablets, wearable devices, television, and automobiles.

Android Studio page

Android Developer Documentation Home

After clicking Get Android Studio on the home page, the Android Studio page, shown above, appears with the following useful links:

  • Download Android Studio: Download Android Studio for the computer operating system you are currently using.
  • Read the docs: Browse the Android Studio documentation.
  • See the release notes: Read the release notes for the newest version of Android Studio.
  • Features: Learn about the features of the newest version of Android Studio.
  • Latest: Read news about Android Studio.
  • Resources: Read articles about using Android Studio, including a basic introduction.
  • Videos: Watch video tutorials about using Android Studio.
  • Download Options: Download a version of Android Studio for a different operating system than the one you are using.

Android Studio documentation

The following are links into the Android Studio documentation that are useful for this training:

Design, Develop, Distribute, and Preview

The Android documentation is accessible through the following links from the home page:

Installing offline documentation

To access to documentation even when you are not connected to the internet, install the Software Development Kit (SDK) documentation using the SDK Manager. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools > Android > SDK Manager.
  2. In the left column, click Android SDK.
  3. Select and copy the path for the Android SDK Location at the top of the screen, as you will need it to locate the documentation on your computer: The Android SDK Location
  4. Click the SDK Tools tab. You can install additional SDK Tools that are not installed by default, as well as an offline version of the Android developer documentation.
  5. Click the checkbox for "Documentation for Android SDK" if it is not already installed, and click Apply.
  6. When the installation finishes, click Finish.
  7. Navigate to the sdk directory you copied above, and open the docs directory.
  8. Find index.html and open it.

Watching developer videos

In addition to the Android documentation, the Android Developer YouTube channel is a great source of tutorials and tips. You can subscribe to the channel to receive notifications of new videos by email. To subscribe, click the red Subscribe button in the upper right corner as shown below. Android YouTube Developer Channel

The following are popular videos referred to in this training:

In addition, Udacity offers online Android development courses.

Exploring code samples in the Android SDK

You can explore hundreds of code samples directly in Android Studio. Choose Import an Android code sample from the Android Studio welcome screen, or choose File > New > Import Sample if you have already opened a project. The Browse Samples window appears as shown below.

Browsing Code Samples

Choose a sample and click Next. Accept or edit the Application name and Project location, and click Finish. The app project appears as shown below, and you can run the app in the emulator provided with Android Studio, or on a connected device. Exploring a Code Sample

Note: The samples are meant to be a starting point for further development. We encourage you to design and build your own ideas into them.

Using activity templates

Android Studio provides templates for common and recommended activity designs. Using templates saves time, and helps you follow best practices for developing activities.

Each template incorporates an skeleton activity and user interface. You choose an activity template for the main activity when starting an app project. You can also add an activity template to an existing project. Right-click the java folder in the Project: Android view and choose New > Activity > Gallery. Activity Templates

Browsing the Android developer blog

The Android Developers Blog provides a wealth of articles on Android development.

The following are popular blog posts:

Other sources of information

Google and third parties offer a wide variety of helpful tips and techniques for Android development. The following are sources of information referenced by this training:

The related exercises and practical documentation is in Android Developer Fundamentals: Practicals.

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