Today the Android-based Smart phones are in trend because of the fact that they are highly flexible for customization and better user experience regarding applications. Java is the most preferred app development platform.
Java is the most widely used and all-pervasive platform used across the world. Java web development platform provides a powerful, resilient as well as flexible environment for the applications running on a broad spectrum of devices such as cell phones, PDAs, printers, servers, etc. It is widely utilized to develop gaming applications and other Apps that run on Android devices. As per estimation there are over 1.2 billion Java technology-powered phones around the world. One of the important properties of Java is that it can run on a virtual machine so that it doesn’t need to recompile for different phones. The fact that Google provides Java API, Android doesn’t have to use JVM to execute class file.
Android App Development Process
Every day there are countless apps that come into the Android market. The three crucial classes that are used on Android are – Context, Activity and Intent. These three components are significant building blocks on which every Android platform is built. However, it is not an easy task for the programmers to develop them as they need to follow certain crucial steps towards that direction.
Fig. 1 Steps involved in Android App Development
Setting up of Android Development Environment
The setting up of Android development environment allows us to make sure that nothing will be done wrong. Then the tools that will be required for app development process are –
- Set up Java JDK5 or JDK6
The Java Development Kit should be installed first and after that a path is needed to be set up as JAVA_HOME to the folder location as ‘java’ and ‘javac’
- Configure Android SDK,
It is configured by de-selecting Documentation for Android SDK and then click on ‘Install 7 Packages’.
- Set up the Eclipse IDE by selecting latest version of Eclipse.
- Set up Android Development Tools (ADT); Help > Software Updates > Install New Software.
- Create Android Virtual Device: the Android Virtual Device is used to test Android applications. In that, the Android AVD manager is launched as Window > AVD manager
Fig. 2 Java Eclipse Platform.
The following important steps are used for the Android app development:
To begin on the idea of app, it is important to analyze the objectives by doing necessary research and finalizing the value propositions. The ideas should be properly refined and specified on a technical specification document. One of the important aspects of app development is to understand on which devices the app will be running on. After the determination, the optimization will be done for the targeted devices. The specification document will lay down the business logic, features and functionality of the app. The project manager is the responsible professional who gets the things started. Now, after the completion of the initial round of specification and analysis process, Wireframes are created, which demonstrate user options. They utilize user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design in order to establish and approve what content will go where in the app.
In this phase the mobile interface design professionals work towards defining and rechecking the application so that all the bases are covered. The different parameters that are necessary for the successful app development are functionality, design, concepts, budget as well as timeline. In design phase appealing visual designs with intuitive UI are created along with engaging UX. In this a designer creates Android User Interface by using Android Studio. The material design, on the other hand, decides as to how elements will look, move as well as interact with each other. It contains different patterns, layouts, styles and animations. At this stage of the phase, the final design mockups and prototypes are delivered to the development team.
The actual coding of designing of UI begins in this phase. This phase requires several techniques to be deployed at the coding level to maintain the quality and addressing the critical factor. This phase is very important as it integrates front-end and back-end coding. In general, there is a constant interaction between web developers and web designers so that front-end and back-end architecture is built on the basis of full co-ordination. As both the aspects are dependent on one another, the app’s functions are decided at the front-end using computing logic. While the backend will decide which database, APIs and middleware will be used.
- Testing and Certify
It makes sure that there are less and less errors in the code. There are various types of tests that are performed by running the app on devices plugged into machines so that everything works smoothly. The Android Device Monitor is an effective tool available in the SDK that debugs the errors found in the application. Testing the functionality of app is very crucial to ensure that the created app is going to run on all the targeted devices. It is also important to know the compatibility of version of Android OS whether it supports the app. In this regard Google has laid down certain criteria for testing such as determining content rating, size of the app, screen resolution so on and so forth.
- Deploy and Maintain
Deployment and maintenance are the final steps of app development process. In this phase the app is submitted to the Android market. With the help of service providers, a developer’s account is created in which pricing and account information is provided by them. After the Google Play Publisher Account is being managed and a release key is obtained, the users are able to download it from the market. However, the process is not fully done here as maintenance is always required for the future compatibility of applications.