Ask the Expert

Q: Eclipse is used to develop applications in Java, but can Android run applications written in any other languages?

As of the writing of this book, there were no other SDKs or emulators available to allow Android development in any language other than Java.

Can you use Eclipse (and the Android SDK) with a version of the JRE other than version 5?

Technically you can use Eclipse with versions 5 and newer. However, the latest version of Eclipse was only tested on the Java 5 JRE.

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Key Skills & Concepts

• Downloading the Android SDK

• Using the Update feature of Eclipse

• Downloading, installing, and configuring the Android plugin for Eclipse

• Checking the PATH statement

In the previous chapter, you downloaded and installed your primary development environment, Eclipse. Now that your initial development environment is established, using Eclipse as your Java IDE, you can use it to develop Java applications, but you have one more step before you can begin creating mobile phone applications. You must configure it in a way that will facilitate Android development.

Because Eclipse is a Java development environment, you can create and edit Java projects with great ease. However, given that you have no libraries yet for understanding how Android applications should behave, you cannot develop anything that will run on an Android-based device. To begin creating Android projects, you need to download and install the Android SDK. You must then download the related Android plugin for Eclipse to utilize the SDK within the Eclipse IDE. With these pieces in place, you can begin your development.

If you have any development experience, you are most likely familiar with the process of using an SDK. Desktop application developers, regardless of the platform they are developing on, use SDKs to create applications that will run on the desired system they are developing on. The Android SDK is no different from any other SDK in that it contains all the Java code libraries needed to create applications that run specifically on the Android platform. The SDK also includes help files, documentation, an Android Emulator, and a host of other development and debugging tools.

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