Android Development Frameworks – Getting to Know Eclipse

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There are a number of Integrated Development Environments that are available for Android development. They are all quite similar in function and layout. The two main IDE’s available include Eclipse for Android and Android Studio. We will take a look at the various elements of the development environment. Eclipse and Android Studio have the same elements so the following tutorial includes screenshots of Eclipse, but Android Studio looks and works in the same way.

The Start Screen

Start by creating a new project in Eclipse. Select File, New and select Android Project to create a new Android project. The following screen will open:

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Enter the name of your application. The name must start with a capital letter. Enter the package name. We will leave it as example, but this name needs to be unique if you want to publish your project on Google play. Click next to continue. Click next on the next screen and then choose your icon you want to use for the project and click next. Click finish and Eclipse will build the files you need for the application.

The screen is divided into a number of docked windows. These windows include:

·         The Package Explorer

·         The Coding Tab

·         The Outline Tab

·         The Properties Tab

·         The Debugging Tab

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The Package Explorer

The package explorer allows you to access all of your files for your project. To access your files click on the small triangle next to your application name:

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The most important files for your application are the activity main and MainActivity.Java files. These files are where you will build your user interface for your Android app and where you will add the Java code to make your app work.

The File area also shows you any problems you may have within your code. The program adds a small red cross next to any files that contain errors. You can click on these files and look for the error mark next to the line of code with the error.

The Coding Tab

The coding area allows you access to the files themselves. To open a file in the coding area, double click the file in the program area that you want to open and it automatically opens in the coding area. Depending on the file type, you will see tabs below the code. XML files can be seen visually or you can access the code directly.

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Where Graphical Layout is available, you will see a number of graphical widgets you have access to on the left hand side of this element. Widgets you can add to your app include form widgets like Titles, text, buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons and many more. You can also add other elements like text fields, images and transitions easily using the widget menu. To add a widget to your project, all you need to do is drag and drop the widget you want onto the device in the center. Once you have placed your widget where you want it then you can change the properties using the property window.

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The Outline Tab

The outline area changes depending on what file you have open in the programming tab and what you have selected in the programming tab.

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The outline tab shows you the various elements that are open within the programming tab, so this view makes it really easy to select the various elements within the code. If you right click the element within the outline tab, then the program allows you to edit or alter the element, depending on the element you have selected.

You can also access the elements properties via the outline tab view.

The Properties Tab

The properties tab allows you to specify various properties for the element selected. The properties tab allows you to set the id of the element, the text for the element, the text color, size appearance etc. so it makes it simple to create great looking elements for your apps user interface.

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The Debugging Tab

The debugging tab allows you access to various tools to help you find and fix any errors within your code.

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