Using Other Android Tools

Although we've already covered the most important tools, a number of other special-purpose utilities are included with the Android SDK:

► Android Hierarchy Viewer—Allows developers to inspect application user interface components such as View Properties while the application is running.

Draw 9-Patch tool—Helps developers design stretchable PNG files.

AIDL Compiler—Helps developers create remote interfaces to facilitate interprocess communication (IPC) on the Android platform.

mksdcard command-line utility—Allows developers to create stand-alone SD card images for use within AVDs and the emulator.

Developing Android Applications Without Eclipse

Eclipse is the preferred development environment for Android, but it is not required for development. The ADT plug-in for Eclipse provides a convenient entry point for many of the underlying development tools for creating, debugging, packaging, and signing Android applications.

Developers who do not use Eclipse or require some of the more powerful debugging features not available in the Eclipse ADT plug-in can access these underlying tools directly from the command line. Tools such as the following are found in the /tools directory of the Android SDK:

► android—Creates Android project files and to manage AVDs.

► aapt (Android Asset Packaging Tool)—Packages Android project files into .apk files for installation on the emulator and handset.

► ddms (Dalvik Debug Monitor Service)—Has a user interface of its own, which resembles the Eclipse DDMS perspective.

► adb (Android Debug Bridge)—Has a command-line interface for interacting with the emulator and the device.

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