Friday, January 22, 2010

Android Development

I'm a geek, and I enjoy programming. In fact, I enjoy it so much that despite doing it all day, I will often come home and actually do it more in the evening for the sheer enjoyment of it.

This is most noticeable in my Codeplex project: eComic.

That's something that I wrote and maintain and update fundamentally for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Likewise, every time I get a new toy, I want to expand its capabilities, and make it do more. Since I'm about to get a new toy, I decided to preemptively set up my ability to play upon it.

In other words, since I'm getting a DROID, I decided to set up my home PC to allow ANDROID development.

Now, not to sound egotistical or anything, but I'm a smart guy; I work with computers day in and day out, and in fact it is my primary job description to make computers jump through the hoops I (or my customers) want them to. It's what I do.

Which is why setting up that Android DEV environment saddens me so much.

First off, the recommended environment includes the following elements:

  • Eclipse IDE
  • Android SDK
  • Android ADT
Now, that's not the bad thing, the bad thing is getting all those parts working together in a cohesive hole which allows you to actually create programs for the device you're aiming for.

Microsoft gets a lot of bad rep by geeks. It's big, it's massive, but despite all of the negativity from my peers, I LIKE Microsoft tools--especially the development ones.

When I went to install Microsoft's IDE on my machine, I downloaded the ISO, loaded it up, and ran the SETUP.EXE file and followed the prompts, making relevant changes as needed/desired to customize my environment.

Fundamentally, it worked. No hassles. No headaches, just thirty minutes of watching progress bars and then I was kicking and coding.

Sadly, the Eclipse/Android SDK install was anything but that easy.

Worse, because there was no installer (and consequently, the application was never identified to Windows) the whole thing flags UAC every time I launch it.

But, I get the Eclipse IDE downloaded, and shortcuts added to my DOCK tool, and then I have to install the SDK.

Which is a much Vista-Friendlier experience than installing the Eclipse IDE.

Then I run into integrating the two. This involves telling the Eclipse IDE where it can download the Android ADT package, and then allowing it access.

Now, I make this sound easy in this post. The thing is, it took me two tries to get it working. My first try was two weeks ago, and after three hours of trying to get everything installed, I gave up. Last night, I was successful, only because I followed the instructions in this article. Which despite being out-of-date, was much more informative and detailed than anything available on Google's Android Developer's website.

Now maybe I'm lazy, and just haven't utilized enough of those "free" IDEs to realize the "proper" way to go about utilizing the things. Maybe having Visual Studio's installation be hassle free has made me dumber.

Yet, in the end I think I'd rather be stupid that fight through setting up that Android Dev environment again...

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