Apps have revolutionised the use of smartphones, and today there are millions of apps for just about anything. In fact, app development is also emerging as a lucrative career option. If you always wanted to develop an app, but didn’t know how to go about it, then there are plenty of online resources that will guide you. The best part is that there are tutorials available to meet your expertise; whether you are a novice or someone with experience, these online tools will come to your aid. Listed below are five such online resources that will help you get started.
The official Android Developers site is a good place to begin
For an absolute fresher, the best place to start is the official Android app developer site. The site has been recently revamped and is now divided into three sections – Design, Develop and Distribute –beach addressing the different app life-cycle. To gain insights about app development, head to the Develop tab. It utilises a very structured approach, as it guides you through the step-by-step process of app development. It’s divided into sections – Android Training, API Guides, Reference and Tools. To begin, you will have to download the Android SDK and the Eclipse IDE, which can be done from site itself. Once you have downloaded the required tools, you can then start developing the app following the steps mentioned in the Android Training tab. The API Guides address issues like using the various components, designing user interface, animation & graphics, using media & camera, text input, location, connectivity, data storage, etc. Every topic is further divided into sub-sections and alongside you will also find relevant blog articles explaining the latest trends as well as actual training of how to incorporate it in the app that you are developing. Under the reference section, you will find detailed explanations for every action and step, whereas the Tools section lets you download the relevant and latest updates as well as sample codes, which will lend to better understanding of coding. You can also check the Android Developers channel on YouTube, which is a good source of information right from tutorials to the latest events and happenings as well as interviews with developers.
MIT App Inventor
MIT App Inventor stands out because of its innovative learning approach for app development
Formerly the Google App Inventor, the App Inventor is now maintained by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Mobile Learning and continues to be one of the fun ways to learn app development while creating an app. The best part is that you need not know programming language as it makes use of ‘blocks’ which have to be placed to perform the action that you want the app to do. This is what makes it perfect for enthusiasts who want to create an app without worrying about complex codes, as it uses a very visual approach. It also has the most innovative learning approach, as you can learn by building the games mentioned and its level of difficulty increases gradually. Each game addresses a function that you can add to the app, for instance, if you want to build an app that will have multiple screens, then you can use the Colored Dots tutorial, which is a simple painting program that uses multiple screens. You can download the source of ‘Colored Dots’ and create a custom version by modifying it in App Inventor. Before starting with developing your app using App Inventor, it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with its various components that let you build your app. Some of these components can be modified, while some remain static and cannot be changed. This information can be accessed from the Reference section under the Learn tab. Additionally, you can also access PDF of the book ‘App Inventor: Create Your Own Android Apps’ by David Wolber, Hal Abelson, Ellen Spertus and Liz Looney (2011). Most of the chapters in the book are accompanied by video screencasts.
The New Boston
The New Boston videos aren't preachy and have an informal approach
If you are looking for some video tutorials, then head to The New Boston; it has about 200 videos on Android development. These videos have been created by US-based Bucky Roberts, who is a self-taught individual, passionate about web designing and programming. And this reflects in the videos as they have a non-preachy informal approach, which makes it fun and easy to understand. They tackle one problem at a time and explain how to resolve it. Starting from downloading and installing the SDK to putting the app in market, it pretty much covers the ground. Thenewboston.org has more than 200,000 subscribers and if you visit its YouTube channel, then you will realise that the YouTube page itself has become a kind of forum. You will find people posting the issues they are facing and others posting a solution. Other than this, the site also has a forum you can be part of and share your knowledge. Apart from Android app development, the site is also a great source for video tutorials on topics like Java for beginner, Java for Intermediate, C#, C++, Java Script, Java Game Development, PHP, etc. It also has video tutorials for iPhone development. It’s a quite resourceful site and is absolutely free, and the founder intends to keep it so. Apart from programming and app development, the site is also slowly expanding into diverse topics like Biology, Maths, Gaming, Science, etc.
The Android Bootcamp Series videos are a source of good information
Another rich source of video tutorials for Android App Development is Marakana TechTV’s Android Bootcamp Series 2012. Based out of US, Marakana has been around since 2001 and runs extensive training programs on latest technologies for IT professionals. Marakana TechTV is their initiative to provide open-source educational content on diverse topics, which will benefit the enthusiast as well as professionals. The Android Bootcamp Series contains over 20 videos, with new videos added regularly and updated for Ice Cream Sandwich. Each video is over twenty-five minutes in length and provides in-depth explanations about the various steps involved in app development process. The description of each video will tell you about the topics covered and discussed in the video. This is extremely handy in case you are looking for a particular topic, thanks to the descriptions. For additional resources, subscribe to their stream from the main site. It will bring you insights about latest industry happenings, developments and also additional tutorials.
Vogella provides comprehensive tutorials on app development
Another good source of information on Android app development is Vogella, founded by Lars Vogel. He works as Eclipse and Android consultant, trainer and has also authoured books. Over the years, he has also spoken at various conferences across the globe. He shares his knowledge in a series of tutorials aimed to help people develop their apps. Navigating the site is a bit difficult. On the home page, click on the Tutorials tab and you will find a list of topics that have been covered. These include Android Programming, Eclipse IDE and Tools, Eclipse RCP and Plug-ins, Web Programming, Java, etc. If you click on Android Programming, then it is further divided into sub categories like Android Development Starter Tutorial, Android file and network access and asynchronous processing, Android Advanced User Interface Development, Android Location API and Google Maps, Android testing and builds, etc. Selecting a topic will take you to a page that lists all the issues pertaining to it and clicking on one of them will take you to the in-depth tutorial. Each tutorial is carefully indexed, which makes it easier for you to navigate directly to the topic you need help for. Accessing the information on the site is not as straight forward as with others, but the topics are covered comprehensively and you will definitely benefit from them.
Most of these tools are easy to understand, but knowledge of coding will work to your advantage and will lead to easy understanding of tutorials. If you know any other online resources for Android app development, then do let us know in the comments section below.
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