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TimA

Android Development - More Java, Less hand-holding

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Okay....I really dislike the whole Eclipse with ADT set-up.  Drag and drop stuff onto a graphical representation of a phone/tablet, figure out where the code goes....not for me.  I'd rather just write everything by hand.  Is there any way to write Android apps without having that rediculous set-up?

 

Android apps are written in Java...great I thought, I already know Java.  But the Eclipse/ADT set-up looks rediculous to me.  I'd rather just know where the program entry point is, import/create the necessary files, hand-code the UI using the API and compile to an apk.

 

I'll admit I haven't messed around with it a whole lot...because I want to write code....not drag things onto the screen and set their properties. 

 

I like Eclipse for regular PC applications.  You create the main class, give it a main() and you're good to go.  You want a GUI....import swing, set up the window with Frames and the like and you're good to go.  Took me an hour to understand that and a week to master (I'll fully admit I'm no Swing expert...but I can get a UI looking and behaving the way I want).  Android development....not as easy...at least not to me. 

 

I feel like I have to not only learn the Android API, but also how to use Eclipse/ADT's goofy interface.  It also doesn't really outline a clear code-path.  I assume most apps are event-driven so there wouldn't be a clear code-path - but still, I'd rather know how all that fits together and have the code arranged in a way that makes sense to me for a particular project. 

 

All I want to do is write a calendar app thats tailored to keeping track of my homework.  I have the entire design of this app already worked out in my head.  On a computer It'd take me at most 2 days to program it, and another day or 2 to debug and flesh out any major bugs.  A great starting app for android I thought - Simplistic, useful, and a perfect use of my free time between semesters.  I don't even know where to begin.  Normally I'd start writing the classes for everything, then design the UI, and then attach the UI to the underlying objects.  I can't even figure out how to get things to orient themselves the way I want.  I'd rather just write code that says create a textbox, position it this way (ie. LayoutManager), set this property to this, etc. 

 

Is there anyway to create an android app strictly from writing code? No drag and drop, no running through 100's of files to find the one that holds the code for the one thing I want to write.  Just pure code. 

 

Android is built on Linux, is all about open-source, a hacker/tinkerer's dream - not to mention all the cool sh*t inside the devices...like the accelerometer, HD camera, NFC, bluetooth, Wi-Fi....I guess I was expecting power tools, not fisher-price. 

 

Can anyone link me to some tutorials that show how to write Android apps independent of an IDE.  I'd much rather write the XML files by hand and compile by command-line than figure out how to use a UI that looks like it was designed for a spastic toddler.  I'm starting to realize just why the Google Play store is plagued with moustache-trimming games and fake broken screen apps.  It's really frustrating.

 

Thanks in advance to anyone that can point me in the right direction.

 

PS - I prefer textual information over videos, but I'll take whatever I can get.

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I had the same problem. And I have some links for you that might help.

 

This is an overview of android build system:

http://developer.android.com/tools/building/index.html

 

This one is for creating/managing android applications:

http://developer.android.com/tools/projects/projects-cmdline.html

 

This one is for building/running apps:

http://developer.android.com/tools/building/building-cmdline.html

 

But I realized that if you are making larger projects, you will want to use all the help IDE and android tools can offer. The intergrated Dalvik Debug Monitor Server is very handy, also intergrated Logcat and all other cool stuff makes developing a breaze. Imagene how many console windows you would have to have opened for one application. Anyways, I still don't like developing for android that much, it feels more like scripting with the java and not actually programming because of all the abstraction from hardware and that kind of stuff.

 

So I hope those links will help you out.

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You don't have to use the wysiwyg-editor for writing the UI in Eclipse.

You can at any time switch over to pure xml view and write the XML by hand if you want.

 

If you need to know more about the code path and entry points of android applications, I suggest to go through the guides on developer.android.com, starting here:

 

http://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/index.html

 

Here is a description of how the UI works in princple:

http://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/building-ui.html

 

You don't even have to use XML to build the UI, you could do it all from code, though I suggest checking out the XML, I find it quite nice to separate implementation and UI design in that way.

 

One hint that may confuse people coming from a desktop background is that an android app does not have a single entry point. You define "activities" for your application, and each of these "activities" can be started independently from each other. If you have only one activity, you have only one entry point.

 

If you don't like java at all, you can also look into NativeActivity, which enables you to write your app entirely in C++ without a single line of java, using OpenGL ES to draw.

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