Android Development Tools

The Android SDK includes several tools and utilities to help you create, test, and debug your projects.

A detailed examination of each developer tool is outside the scope of this book, but it's worth briefly reviewing what's available. For more detail than is included here, check out the Android documentation at http://developer.android.com/guide/developing/tools/index.html

As mentioned earlier, the ADT plug-in conveniently incorporates most of these tools into the Eclipse

IDE, where you can access them from the DDMS perspective, including:

> The Android SDK and Virtual Device Manager Used to create and manage Android Virtual Devices (AVD) and SDK packages. The AVD hosts an emulator running a particular build of Android, letting you specify the supported SDK version, screen resolution, amount of SD card storage available, and available hardware capabilities (such as touchscreens and GPS).

> The Android Emulator An implementation of the Android virtual machine designed to run within a virtual device on your development computer. Use the emulator to test and debug your Android applications.

> Dalvik Debug Monitoring Service (DDMS) Use the DDMS perspective to monitor and control the Dalvik virtual machines on which you're debugging your applications.

> Android Asset Packaging Tool (AAPT) Constructs the distributable Android package files

> Android Debug Bridge (ADB) A client-server application that provides a link to a running emulator. It lets you copy files, install compiled application packages (.apk), and run shell commands.

The following additional tools are also available:

> SQLite3 A database tool that you can use to access the SQLite database files created and used by Android.

> Traceview A graphical analysis tool for viewing the trace logs from your Android application.

> MkSDCard Creates an SD card disk image that can be used by the emulator to simulate an external storage card.

> Dx Converts Java .class bytecode into Android .dex bytecode.

> activityCreator A script that builds Ant build files that you can then use to compile your Android applications without the ADT plug-in.

> layoutOpt A tool that analyzes your layout resources and suggests improvements and optimizations.

Let's take a look at some of the more important tools in more detail.

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