Understanding Android App Development
So you have a brilliant app or game idea for the Android market, and you're ready to make it a reality, eager to get your first downloads that will ultimately lead to profits. However, there's one major problem: you have no idea where to start. Understanding the coding is complicated enough but with Android development in the equation, it can be even more complex. You will need to completely understand Java and install several Android-specific software tools that will assist you in learning all the unique features of Android game programming.
To create an Android app, you will need to download free Android apps, including an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), such as Eclipse or Android Studio, a Software Development Kit (SDK) a Java Software Development Kit (JDK), and a virtual device for testing. This will take loads of time to set up and you haven't even started with things like API levels, screen sizes, or Google Play Services.
With so much information, it's no surprise that most are put off long before they even get started. The best way to make this less daunting is to enrol with an Android App Development Course. Also make sure to look at our guide to video game development to find out about what the different courses entail.
The Best Android App Development Courses
Developing Android apps isn't necessarily difficult when you have a background in programming, it's getting started that can be unnerving. The best way around this problem is to find the right project with the right teacher. We all respond differently to teaching techniques. What's right for you, won't necessarily mean it's right for someone else.
Fortunately, there's a wealth of material in terms of Android app development, which leaves you with one challenge, finding the right one to invest your time and money into. Below you will find a selection of the best courses, learning materials, and resources that will assist you in getting a grasp on Android App development. Some are free while others come with an additional fee. Some will cover specific skills, while others will take a more general approach. The choice is yours.
The biggest challenge in Android App development is finding a course where the material is up-to-date. Android app development is constantly evolving at a rapid pace. What was true last year might not be true this year, leaving most materials to miss out on recent developments. The best way to ensure you get up-to-date information is to visit the source directly. Developer.android.com is Google's official learning centre which will guide you from your first app to offering learning projects as well as an arsenal of sample codes.
Develop Android Apps by Google
This is essentially a free online course proudly brought to you by Google. While developer.android.com is considered a resource centre where you can come and go as you please, this is more of a structured introduction where you can learn at your own pace. The free online course is a result of a collaboration between Udacity and Google. This means you can download the Udacity app on your mobile or tablet device, allowing you to easily learn on the move. This makes it an incredible deal for those who want to enhance their Android development knowledge without having to spend a dime.
The free online course will take about 60 hours to complete and comes with an intermediate skill level, suggesting that you will need at least a year worth of programming experience with Java. Once you complete the free online course, you can dive into the Nanodegree Program involving a set of paid courses. There's also loads of other Udacity courses available, so it's best to shop around.
Codecademy is no meant for learning Android, but rather offers hands-on tutorials, allowing you to familiarise yourself with other popular programming languages, such as Java. Although there is a Pro membership which you need to pay for, you can also utilize the four-hour tutorial on Java for free.
Coursera is a comprehensive website offering free courses by real college professors across the globe. It was established by Stanford University educators and includes a wide range of in-depth courses on Android app development.
Oracle Java Tutorials
If you want to learn Java, the best way is to simply go directly to the source. You will find a variety of Java tutorials created by Oracle which are completely free and very comprehensive. Educating yourself through these resources won't be as smooth as following a specifically designed course, and you will need to include Android app development over and above your Java knowledge, but its certainly a great place to start.