Last semester, I put together a quick app on the windows phone marketplace for our Scout group. The app was a very basic RSS reader, but did the job it was supposed to. The problem with this is, that although the Windows Phone is lovely to code for, (and the plus factor that it’s all in the cozy little .NET bubble), not many people own them, and while the Nokia Lumia’s seem to be off to a great start, I think the below chart speaks for itself:
The biggest OS by far is android, and Windows Phone appears to be going down, although that chart only takes us until Q3 2011, before the success of the Nokia Lumia’s, so I can’t wait to see what will change after the next announcement. Anyway, getting back on track, I decided to start developing an app for the android market. Apart from coding experience, I’ve not used Java that much, and I like getting out of my comfort zone every now and then. After deciding this, I went along to google’s developer website, and went on the the step-by-step instructions on how to install the tools to develop.
I downloaded the JDK as instructed, downloaded the Classic version of eclipse, and the android SDK itself. The problems started when installing the SDK. In the first phase of installation, the installer told me that I didn’t have the JDK installed. To google it was. One result suggested that this problem came from using a 64 bit version of the JDK, which I had opted for, and to copy the registry key for Java into a different place. That didn’t work. After half an hour of browsing the web, I discovered that the Android SDK was not compatible with the latest version of java, 7.0, but only worked on 6.0. Heading back to Oracle’s website, I downloaded the 32 bit version of the JDK 6.0 (32 bit just to be on the safe side).
After this, the Android SDK successfully installed, but when I tried to install Eclipse’s ADT plugin, it seemed to be “calculating dependencies” for a long time..2 hours later, and no progress on the progress bar, I went to Google. Many people were apparently having this problem, but had no idea how to solve it. In the end, I went and downloaded the 32-bit version of eclipse, too. Apparently Android, or Google, don’t like 64-bit machines, and insist you use everything 32-bit, but don’t tell you this in advance.
The installation process of Android could be improved a lot. A dedicated installer, which downloads all the components (JDK, Eclipse, SDK and ADT plugin) would be help the process enormously. I felt that to download one thing, I had to download more like 10, even if you take the times I downloaded a 64-bit program and needed a 32-bit version, I had to download at least 6 things to get going with development. Hopefully these are the last problems I will be having with Android development, and after these hiccups, I had a reasonably working app in less than a day.
Basic tips for installing Android that they don’t tell you: