What makes Android one of the most preferred choices for developers is that it makes things simple, and is highly scalable! With every passing day, Android development is becoming easier than before; thanks to a gamut of tools that allow developers to do, literally, everything.
Google already has Android Studio that encompasses a wide selection of powerful tools that makes Android app development a breeze. Adding to the delight, third parties are also building cutting-edge tools that aid in building highly robust and interactive applications on Android.
Here is a comprehensive list of the best Android tools that every developer should know about:
1. Android Studio
Coming to the very basic and more obvious Google’s Android Studio, it is an all-around Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that allows developers to have everything they want without the need to leave the IDE itself.
As far as file hierarchy and error checking is concerned, its coding environment acts like any other Java IDE. It also provides the option to test applications leveraging Android Virtual Device Manager, Android Debugging Bridge, and plugging in physical devices.
For developers who have experience working with Android Emulator would know how tedious and daunting it can be to start the emulator and run an application. Here comes third-party tool Genymotion in action!
It resolves the problem by offering “hardware accelerated Android emulator”, which is extremely fast and free as well. Virtual devices powered by Genymotion support different Android API levels, and can work seamlessly with Google’s Android Studio. The tool can actually save a lot of time in Android development.
3. GameMaker: Studio
This is one of the easiest and advanced Android developer tools that offer full customization on every element, from sound to sprites. The tool is designed for 2D gaming, and actually excels in this category. It has an intuitive and simple user interface, with the option to drag and drop abilities and actions.
If you prefer more customization, you can code using GameMaker Language (GML). It is very easy to learn since it does not have methods, as well as the syntax is much simpler and shorter than Java or C++.
You can download the free version and learn everything to build an Android application using this tool, but if you want to export to Android, you have to spend US $150. Well, that’s pretty expensive but worth it.
Does your app use location-based services? Has it been detected with usability bugs? Do you need to manage frequent app versions? In this scenario, you need a professional and reliable app testing and distribution tool like Ubertesters.
What makes it stand out from others like TestFlight is their intuitive and easy-to-use in-app “feedback widget”.
On integrating the SDK, a pair of floating buttons will appear inside the application, which, when you tap on, will unveil various controls used to perform a wide range of tasks such as writing bug reports, annotating screen shots, performing tests from within your running application, etc. Most importantly, it is one of those free tools that ensure reliability and performance.
5. AVD Manager
This feature comes built-in with Google Android Studio, and allows you to test your application on a virtual device and ensure that it is bug-free and performing optimally. A good thing about this tool is that app developers can easily customize almost every element of the device, including RAM size, instruction set, screen size and resolution.
It performs well; however, Google has worked together with Intel to build “fast virt mode” using Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager that allows speeding up performance of the virtual device radically.
6. Corona SDK
Corona SDK is a well-known name among Android developers, especially among those in the game development community. It is the secret behind the success of games like “Fun Run 2” and “Pop the Lock”. Corona offers a somewhat different way of building apps as compared to Android Studio and other engines discussed here.
It uses a programming language called Lua, which is a fast and simpler scripting language than Java or C++. It is very similar to GameMaker Language discussed earlier, and have received great recommendations from Android app developers in diverse fields.
Unity3D is the perfect tool to start with if you knack for 3D. However, it is important to understand that 3D is a new and unexpected ballgame, and demands a lot of time and effort to learn how every aspect works.
Don’t worry. Unity3D has several demos and tutorials that will help you get started quickly. It uses C# programming language, and you will have to use external software to build 3D models. Some examples of good software are Autodesk Maya, Blender, and Photoshop CC.
Here, you can expect to work with more complex 3D meshes, objects and materials, each with separate code and infinite combinations. However, if you are new to Android game development, it is recommended to start with some other engine discussed here rather than using Unity3D.
During Android application development process, you will need splash screens, icons, and other default Android graphics at some point of time.
This free and time saving tool helps you automatically have all your needed files, including portrait and landscape versions, from a single image and create the right folder structure that Android requires.
Once you have created the same, you can download it, unzip, and copy the resulting splash images and icons to your Android Studio project. It is simple and very easy to use.
There are several ways of developing applications for Android, and this list is a good place to start with, whether you want Lua or Java, 3D or a simple approach. It is recommended that you try using all these Android tools, and determine what you are most comfortable working with.