Android is the most widely used operating system in the world. It has been the best-selling mobile operating system worldwide on mobile devices since 2011, and as of 2023, it has more than three billion active users each month. As a result, the market for Android developers is in high demand and is expected to remain so for some time.
Such popularity goes hand in hand with the availability of tools, and that’s why you may select from a wide variety of programming tools out there. My collection of essential and not-so-essential Android app development tools will help you get started and keep your projects on track.
Integrated development environments (IDEs)
Android Studio (Native)
As the official IDE for Android, Android Studio is built on IntelliJ IDEA software and created exclusively for the development of apps for the Android platform. It is available for download on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. E-ADT is a successor to this as the primary IDE for developing native Android applications. This is also the official IDE for Android Developers – to write Android apps, you must have it.
Android Studio with Flutter
Android Studio remains as it is, remains, but with Flutter support, it’s an entirely new method to build a mobile app. You should consider using this if your budget or team size prevents you from developing a single app for Android and iOS. As a cross-platform framework, Flutter is a popular open-source option for creating beautiful and natively generated multi-platform apps from a single codebase. Flutter’s popularity is also due to its benefits:
- Multi-platform. You can reach customers on every screen and deploy to mobile, web, desktop, and embedded devices from a single codebase.
- Developer expertise. Automation, developer tooling, and everything else you need to build high-quality apps are all part of transforming your workflow.
- Stable and reliable. Flutter is backed and utilized by Google, trusted by well-known brands worldwide, and maintained by a worldwide community of developers.
- The Dart programming language powers flutter. It’s designed for quick app development across all platforms.
Visual Studio Code with React Native
Visual Studio with Xamarin
Xamarin Android provides a complete Android SDK for .NET platform developers. You can create completely native Android applications using C# or F# in Visual Studio. This platform is designed for developers to write cross-platform applications in C# using Visual Studio. It lets you develop, test, build, distribute, and monitor applications. If you are familiar with C# and your target is an app for iOS and Android with one budget, you can create an app for both platforms using Xamarin.
Network tools for Android application development
If you want to see everything that goes on between your computer and the Internet using HTTP and SSL/HTTPS, you can use Charles. In addition to requests and answers, the HTTP headers are also part of this (which contain the cookies and caching information).
In some simple instances, such as viewing incoming and outgoing network payloads, the Profiler integrated into Android Studio can replace this very helpful tool. It’s a very powerful tool for simulating specific problems, like the need to easily simulate low bandwidth, specific responses like 400, or specific responses set by a JSON file.
Postman is an API platform for building and using APIs. Postman simplifies each step of the API lifecycle and streamlines collaboration so you can create better APIs faster.
The program allows you to test API calls before a developer has to write code for them. Using this tool, you can quickly and easily test the backend’s API before it’s used. However, it is very common for anything to be different from what the backend teams state because individuals are just people.
Libraries for Android mobile app development
Google’s Jetpack is a large collection of libraries that aid in the most critical aspects of the Android software development kit. How complicated is your app’s user interface? Is it biometric? Jetpack’s compositions contain everything and more.
Glide is a fast and efficient open-source media management and image-loading framework for Android that wraps media decoding, memory and disk caching, and resource pooling into a simple and easy-to-use interface. It supports fetching, decoding, and displaying video stills, images, and animated GIFs.
HTTP is the protocol of choice for today’s software. Data and media are exchanged this way. Increasing speed and saving bandwidth can be achieved by using HTTP more effectively. OKHttp is a high-performance HTTP client that comes preinstalled.
Retrofit is an abstraction built on top of OkHttp. POJOs can be used to simplify API interactions when they are used in conjunction with each other. Android projects frequently make use of it for API calls. It’s simple to set up and utilize.
Using Chucker, you may inspect your Android app’s HTTP(S) requests and responses. With the help of OkHttp as an Interceptor, we can monitor all the current HTTP traffic. The development and QA teams can also use this tool to monitor traffic without having to perform manual debugging or log checks.
By leveraging observable sequences, the RxJava package makes it possible to build event-driven and asynchronous programs. With the addition of operators that let you build sequences declaratively without having to worry about low-level threading, synchronization, or concurrent data structures, it is now possible to work with both data sequences and events. This is because the observer pattern is still being used but has been extended.
In Kotlin, the equivalent of RxJava is called Coroutines/Flow. Not nearly as much power as RxJava, to be exact. Android applications may now handle asynchronous actions even more easily than with RxJava.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for Android apps that takes a long time to load data or do time-consuming tasks.
LeakCanary is a memory leak-detecting library for Android created by Square. Use this tool to discover and correct memory leaks when developing. A little part of the app in debug mode will be shown, but it should help your team identify the source of Android app leaks during a normal workday.
Other useful tools for your development environment
Designed to handle modest to extremely big projects, the Git version control system is available for free and open-source use. We could talk more about Git, but suffice it to say that it is a widely used standard for managing versions.
This application provides display and control of Android devices connected via USB or over TCP/IP. It doesn’t require any root access. It works on GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS. The tools for controlling Android devices from a PC are really helpful. It’s suitable for recording, but more importantly, it’s good for a working Android-based AOSP project. As a result, you can only access the device’s “ADB” via one USB port (the “host”) on some boards, making it difficult to simultaneously debug (using ADB logcat) and interact with the device. It’s a rough approach, but you can still manage the device on your PC while you’re debugging it (when wifi debugging is not the case).
Game development for Android
Unity is more than a 3D engine; it’s a full-featured development environment for both 3D and 2D games. With Unity, more 2D games are developed than with any other game technology, and companies like Disney, Electronic Arts, and LEGO rely on our tools and features to help them grow their businesses.
Mobile games can be made using the Unity Engine. Pricing is based on the size of your crew. You can build games for free if you’ve made less than $100,000 in the last year.
The Unreal Engine is a free download that includes everything you need to create and launch successful multi-platform games and location-based entertainment across all genres. It’s all up to you how you want to build your title, with full access to source code, a powerful C++ API, and Blueprint visual scripting.
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The key to efficient Android development software
The number of tools available for Android app developers to speed up the process of creating high-quality mobile applications will expand in tandem with the demand for these apps. I hope this list of development productivity boosters has been informative and helpful for you. When developers have the right software development tools, they can skip tedious manual work and focus on more exciting and time-consuming tasks, which speeds up their work and makes it better overall.