Android is big. It has already been big for several years, and it looks like its on a path to complete domination, so if you don't already know how to program on Android, you should start learning pretty soon.
In this post I'll talk about how to set up your development environment for Android.
What's the difference between Java and Android?
According to Wikipedia,
There is no Java Virtual Machine in the Android platform. Java bytecode is not executed. Instead Java classes are compiled into a proprietary bytecode format and run on Dalvik, a specialized virtual machine (VM) designed specifically for Android.
There is a lot of confusion between what's Java and what's Android. For now, think of Java as a programming language, and think of Android as an Operating System. (Of course, the distinctions are not as clear-cut as that) To run apps on Android, you write them in Java.
If you want to get deeper into the nitty-gritty of the differences, check out this article by CNET which does a pretty good job explaining the differences and how they were the subject of a recent lawsuit by Oracle against Google.
Installation and Set-up for Windows
1. Download Eclipse ADT with Android SDK for Windows here. You'll realize that there are two full-featured IDEs you can use for Android development, Eclipse ADT and Android Studio. Android Studio is still in beta so I'd recommend the former. I haven't yet tried Android Studio, but after reading this post on the differences between Android Studio and Eclipse I just might.
Question: What's the difference between Eclipse and Eclipse ADT?
Eclipse is an open-source IDE, mostly provided in Java. Eclipse ADT is developed by Google and is a plug-in for Eclipse specifically designed for Android development.
2. Unzip the downloaded file and launch Eclipse from adt-bundle-<os-platform>/eclipse/
Having problems unzipping the file using the default unzipping tool in Windows? That's because the tool doesn't work when the file path is too long. Move the zipped file to the root of C:/ before trying again, and the problem should be fixed.
3. Just click OK when the prompt on selecting your workspace appears. Awesome! You're in Eclipse and can start writing Android apps right away!