ADVANCED TECHNIQUES FOR DESIGN ENGINEERS
■ BY FRED EADY
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IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT
I've gone Android crazy! I had no use for a smartphone and didn't have any
notions of owning one. Now, I have a Droid Bionic AND a Samsung Galaxy
Tab 10.1. Oh, yeah, and an HTC Droid Eris my wife discarded when she got
her Droid RAZR. Frankly, I use my Bionic more as a computing device than
as a phone. The Bionic has effectively replaced my trusty 30 year old HP
programmer's calculator. Datasheets are my life. I used to read and collect
them on my laptop. Not anymore. My "office"-equipped Galaxy Tab is now
the primary PDF display device. My wife won't let me plug into her new
RAZR, but you can bet your paycheck that I've plugged into my Eris, Bionic,
and Galaxy Tab. Honestly, that was my main reason behind obtaining them.
I'm a programmer and the Android devices are programmable. If you're
interested in plugging into that intelligent Android brick you call a phone,
get in the truck.
SO YOU WANT TO PROGRAM
68 August 2012
If you want to follow the traditional Android program
development path, you’ll have to use Java and XML. Java is
a great programming language if you know how to use it.
In addition to Java and XML, you’ll need to install and
absorb an Android-bent IDE like Eclipse. The whole Java,
XML, Eclipse ball of Android wax is underwritten by the
Android SDK. Regardless of your Java knowledge level,
you can’t beat the price. All of the aforementioned
Android programming tools are FREE. All you have to
invest is your time to write meaningful Android
applications using Java and Eclipse. If you don’t already
know how to code in Java, you’ll invest a ton of time to
produce that very first app.
Now that you’re in the truck, you’ll notice that I’m not
driving down that old familiar road with you. When it
comes to writing and executing Android code,
understanding and using the Android SDK is a must.
However, you don’t need to be a Java expert to write
Android apps. Eclipse is a wonderful Android tool. You
don’t need it either. Pull that seatbelt tight and enjoy
INSTANT ANDROID GRATIFICATION
Well, almost. Before we can push some program bits
through that smartphone USB portal, we need to establish
an application development base. As I mentioned before,
that base is the Android SDK. The Android SDK is a
collection of API libraries and developer tools that allow us
to build, test, and debug our Android firmware. The Android
SDK is a free tool that can be downloaded from the
Android Developer’s site ( http://developer.android.com).
Like most everything offered up in binary these days, you
can get the code in three flavors which are Windows,
MAC, and Linux.
You don’t have to have a Java degree to write Android
apps in the town we’re headed toward. However, Java is
the gun that fires the Android SDK bullets. With that, we’ll
also need to carry the Java JDK in our Android toolbox.
Like the Android SDK, the Java JDK is a free tool that can
be obtained from the Oracle site ( www.oracle.com).