Android application development using Intel XDK (free) IDE - Part I

Vuyiswamb
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In this article I am going to introduce you to a series of articles that will be published to help you create your first Android application using the Intel XDK IDE that comes FREE.

Introduction


Designing mobile applications has been a challenge for many organizations and developers. There are many reasons why these have been like this. Personally speaking, you need to work with different devices to design applications for them. There is no common language that is used to develop for these devices. Apple have Objective C, Android have Java, Windows Mobile or Nokia have C# etc...

Targeting one platform in mobile technology is mistake that most of the organizations that attempted mobile solutions failed.

If you decide to create mobile solutions, you must target at least 80% of the most popular devices. And you must cater for 50% of the devices within your first release, this will popularize your app and drive revenue towards your bank account if your apps are revenue based.


Objective


In this article I am going to introduce you to a series of articles that will be published to help you create your first Android application using the Intel XDK IDE.
Intel has done a great Job with XDK, they have created a near perfect IDE that can help web developers to dive into mobile application development space.
Let me answer your Question before you ask it.
Most frequent questions I get with XDK are:-

Question

Is XDK building web mobile sites or is it building native applications that can have an installation file and that can be installed?

Answer

It build’s both, what do I mean both? I mean you can take you responsive HTML 5 + JQuery website or CSS or any responsive site and turn it into an app that can be installed on a device that it is compiled for.
 

INTEL XDK®


Preparing a development environment is very important when developing mobile applications. Those who use eclipse for android or iOS SDK for Apple know how tedious it is to prepare for your development environment. Emulator installation, Different Versions of Android etc…
 
With XDK there is no need to install these things. All these components are built into the IDE. There is no need to install emulators for different devices. In fact there are more emulators than you can imagine as depicted below in



Figure 1.1
 


Figure 1.2
 
The IDE has been streamlined in such a way that it helps you to prepare to submit your app to the market. It also assist you with image dimensions, certificates, Helps you to test, helps you to generate the final file, Helps you to profile and give a name to your app and it helps you to use web services in your app.
 
I know what i said it’s cool and amazing. It is here and the best part of this, is that it is a free IDE. To start using XDK you only need to download it from the official website http://xdk-software.intel.com. There are simple steps that you need to follow, it will take you less than two minutes if you have a decent machine to install on.
 
One other thing that I recommend you install, it’s a photo editing software like Fireworks or illustrator or Photoshop. If you don’t have a luxury of these software, you can just use Windows Paint. You will be required to change the dimensions of images to suite the device that you will be developing for. Don’t be scared its only 2% that will be done on images, but you need nice image editor to bring the best quality of images.
 

Start
 
XDK like any other IDE has its own downfall, I still prefer using Visual Studio for HTML editing and when done, I open the project in XDK. XDK will allow you to emulate and also edit, but the html editing capabilities are not the best. These capabilities might be the only option for those who don’t own a markup editing tool like Visual Studio, Expression Web, etc…

Parts of XDK
 
To use XDK you need to register, you can register directly from the IDE or you can register on the website. You need to also register in a forum for in case you have questions that someone has already answered

There are 8 parts of the XDK IDE


Figure 1.3

shows the XDK IDE in a complete in forms of tabs.


1.Project
 
Most IDE’s have this Projects as the first part of development. You have to open a project or create a project from this level or browse existing project.


Figure 1.4

2.Develop
 
This is the html editor view that allows you edit the html, you can also see the design view. On the right-hand side you can also manage your project files, JQuery files etc. As stated before, I prefer to do this in visual studio.

3.Emulate
 
This is the part where you test your app with different devices. As i have stated, you don’t need to install the emulators because they are built into the IDE.

Figure 1.5

4.Test
 
This allows you to test your app with web service, clouds if you are building for that else the emulator is enough. I rarely use test because i test my apps on my Sumsung Tablet, so in this test tab you can also attach your mobile device to your development machine via a cable, Bluetooth, WI-Fi and debug on your device. But if your device is one of the emulators then there is a no need to waste time trying to connect it because the results are the same.


 Figure 1.6


5.Debug
 
Debug is similar to test but now Debug allows you to connect the device directly to your development machine to start debugging your app.

Figure 1.7

6.Profile
 
Profile is similar to debug and it also allows you to connect the device directly to your development machine to start debugging your app

Figure 1.8
7.Build



Figure 1.9 

This is the final stage of your development. This Tab allows you to build an installation file for your app, this file is the file that will be submitted to the market. When you come to build you will notice that you can build your app to different devices, in this series we are going to take you through the Android and there will be other series that will cater for different devices. When you select a certain device, there are some stuff that you need to configure, these are the image related and certificate related configurations that you will need to make. We will go into details as we build our first Android in the next part of this article.

8.Services
 
This is the part where you can configure your push services, live updates and you can add your custom web services here.

       
Figure 1.10 

Conclusion

This is the beginning of many series to come. In Part two we will not be building our first mobile app. in this part one I needed to make sure that your development environment is setup and you are now familiar with XDK IDE because in part two we will be flowing, but I will explain clearly as I always do to keep you hooked and make you a mobile developer.

Thank you for visiting Dotnetfunda

 Vuyiswa Maseko

 

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About the Author

Vuyiswamb
Full Name: Vuyiswa Maseko
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Member Since: 7/6/2008 11:50:44 PM
Country: South Africa
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Vuyiswa Junius Maseko is a Founder of Vimalsoft (Pty) Ltd (http://www.vimalsoft.com/) and a forum moderator at www.DotnetFunda. Vuyiswa has been developing for 16 years now. his major strength are C# 1.1,2.0,3.0,3.5,4.0,4.5 and vb.net and sql and his interest were in asp.net, c#, Silverlight,wpf,wcf, wwf and now his interests are in Kinect for Windows,Unity 3D. He has been using .net since the beta version of it. Vuyiswa believes that Kinect and Hololen is the next generation of computing.Thanks to people like Chris Maunder (codeproject), Colin Angus Mackay (codeproject), Dave Kreskowiak (Codeproject), Sheo Narayan (.Netfunda),Rajesh Kumar(Microsoft) They have made vuyiswa what he is today.

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Comments or Responses

Posted by: Sheonarayan on: 1/21/2014 | Points: 25
What a nice learning, 5 from me Vuisway.
Posted by: Vuyiswamb on: 1/21/2014 | Points: 25
Thank you Sheo
Posted by: Jayakumars on: 7/10/2015 | Points: 25
Hi
Vywas

Good post where i download this? This is comfortable for Dotnet 2012? what is the system Requirement this
I have android phone can i developed after include my phone?

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