What is Android SDK and What do you need to know?
What is Android SDK and What do you need to know? - Table of contents:
The Android SDK, or Software Development Kit, is a suite of tools created by Google to help developers create applications for the Android platform. It includes everything developers need to get started in creating amazing Android apps and doesn’t require extensive experience or knowledge to use. In this guide, we’ll discuss what the Android SDK is and how you can start working with it.
What is Android SDK?
The Android SDK is a collection of software development tools and libraries required to develop Android applications. Every time Google releases a new version of Android or an update, a corresponding SDK is also released which developers must download and install. It is worth noting that you can also download and use the Android SDK independently of Android Studio, but typically you’ll be working through Android Studio for any Android development.
The Android SDK comprises all the tools necessary to code programs from scratch and even test them. These tools provide a smooth flow of the development process from developing and debugging, through to packaging.
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The Android SDK provides development components for developing Android applications on Windows/Linux/Mac platforms. Android supports all platforms and includes various tool sets for developing mobile applications on the Android platform.
How to Install the Android SDK?
After downloading the Android SDK, start the installation. The Android SDK uses the Java language, so you need to install JDK 5.0 and above. It is more convenient to directly download the JDK installation file and install it.
The Android SDK does not need to be installed. After downloading, just decompress it directly. Unzip the downloaded SDK package to an appropriate location, it’s that simple; the SDK installation is OK.
To use Eclipse to develop android applications, you need to install the ADT plug-in for Eclipse, so that Eclipse can establish a connection with the android SDK, and you can start the android emulator in Eclipse for program debugging, etc. ADT plug-in installation is no longer cumbersome here, and the installation URL of the plug-in is: also You can download the zip package of ADT and install it. After installing the plugin, you need to do some simple configuration:
1. In Eclipse, select Window > Preference;
2. From the menu on the left, select the Android item;
3. Set SDK Location, click Browse to select the installation root directory of SDK;
4. OK, complete.
What Are the Components of the Android SDK?
The Android SDK consists of an emulator, development tools, sample projects with source code, and the required libraries to build Android applications. Let’s look at the key components one by one.
Android SDK Tools
Android SDK Tools is a component of the Android SDK. It includes a complete set of development and debugging tools for Android, and is included with Android Studio. The SDK Tools also consist of testing tools and other utilities required to develop an app.
SDK Build Tools
Build tools are required for building components for building the actual binaries for your Android app. Always ensure your build tools component is up to date by downloading the latest version in the Android SDK Manager.
Android Platform Tools are used to support the features of the current Android platform and are necessary for Android app development. These tools interface with the Android platform on the device (such as android display) you use for testing. They include:
- Android Debug Bridge (ADB): This is a handy command-line tool that lets you communicate with a device. The ADB command allows you to perform device actions, such as installing and debugging apps. It also provides access to a Unix shell that you can use to run a variety of commands on a device.
- Fastboot: This lets you flash a device with a new system image.
- Systrace: This tool helps collect and inspect timing information across all processes running on your device at the system level. It’s crucial for debugging app performance.
SDK Platform Tools are backward compatible, so you need only one version of the SDK Platform Tools.
For each version of Android, there’s one SDK Platform available. These are numbered according to the Android version (e.g. Android 7 Nougat) and an API version (e.g. API Level 24). Before you build an Android app, you must specify an SDK Platform as your build target. Newer SDK Platform versions have more features for developers, but older devices may not be compatible with the newer platform versions.
Google provides a number of exclusive Google APIs to make developing your app easier. They also offer a system image for the emulator so you can test your app using Google APIs.
The Android Emulator is a QEMU-based device-emulation tool that simulates Android devices on your computer, allowing developers to test applications on different devices and Android API levels, without needing to have physical devices for each. The emulator comes with configurations for various Android phones, tablets, Wear OS, and Android TV devices.
The Android emulator provides almost all of the capabilities of a real Android device. You can perform the following activities:
- Simulate phone calls and text messages
- Simulate different network speeds
- Specify the location of the device
- Simulate hardware sensors such as rotation
- Access Google Play Store and much more
Often it is faster and easier to test your app with an emulator instead of using a physical device.