10 Essential Android Development Tools for 2019
There are about 3 million live Android apps on the market right now. Entertainment, education, e-commerce, healthcare, and other industries are well-represented on Google Play Market.
Naturally, developers need to use additional tools to cover domain-specific features. The market of assistive apps for Android development is developing at an impressive pace. Where you would have to write code from scratch, you can use templates and presets these days.
Using Android development tools saves development time and maintenance costs. There’s a wide range of technologies to explore – here are the top 10 picks for most Android developers.
Integrated Development Environments
Visual Studio is one of the most common integrated development environment for building cross-platform apps. The tool provides Android developers with a wide range of features – a design builder, a series of hardware emulators, and a fully customizable workspace that helps personalize the tool and switch between tabs easily.
Visual Studio supports all common programming languages – Java, C#, VisualBasic, .NET, and more. Markup languages – HTML and CSS are supported as well. The integrated development environment allows developers to take advantage of plugins – you can integrate Node.js into applications, code in Ruby, or Python.
- Fully customizable interface with dark and light modes;
- Excellent code formatting and highlighting;
- Most operating systems are supported – you can code for Windows or iOS via the IDE as well.
Visual Studio offers teams several subscription packages:
- Professional – $1,999/user/year.
- Visual Studio Test Professional – $2,169/user/year.
- Enterprise – $5,999/user/year.
Android Studio is the most common integrated development environment for building Android apps. Designed and empowered by Google, the platform has an intuitive and straightforward interface. There’s no lack of tutorials on how to get started in the IDE.
Android Studio takes up a lot of memory and system resources – however, a vast array of features fully makes up for that. There’s a built-in emulator for API testing, a set of features for debugging via a smartphone for more development convenience.
Via Android Studio, developers can access XML views, manage both the UI and the source code effortlessly. There’s a drag-and-drop system for placing interface components on the app screen.
- Java and Kotlin are both supported;
- Drag-and-drop system for building interfaces;
- Android version converters that helps optimize the app to the updates of the OS;
- High-speed debugger.
The IDE is free to download and use. A developer will have to pay a one-time $25 fee for uploading a complete app to Play Market.
IntelliJIDEA is universally loved among developers for versatility and high performance speed. The features of the environment include multiple-language support, a plugin catalogue with hundreds of add-ons, shortcuts and interface tweaks for ultimate customization.
IntelliJIDEA can be integrated with third-party tools: UI builders, testing suites, and others. The IDE offers developers a set of features for database management – you will not have to use third-party products to run a complex database for your next project.
- Intuitive auto-complete feature;
- Convenient keyboard shortcuts;
- A wide range of code migration tools;
- Auto-import of .xml packages.
Scripts and plugins
Adb-enhanced is a command-line-based free plugin that enables a wide range of useful development features – screen rotation, power-saving mode, granting or revoking permissions, doze and data-saver modes.
Deep-clean is a script that will help you to never clean your Gradle caches manually again. Android developers often have to deal with the redundancies of removing
build folders manually because the system couldn’t handle the process automatically.
Thanks to this Kotlin-based script, all Gradle/Android project caches are nuked automatically. Originally, the tool was designed on macOS devices – however, you can use it both on Linux and Windows.
This is a plugin that runs in IntelliJIDEA and Android Studio. It allows users to enter text into smartphone emulators manually. The tool is equipped with a wide range of convenient features.
- The log of last used devices. You will not have to choose an emulator manually.
- The tool remembers the text a user last typed in – you can paste it without a single click of the mouse.
- Convenient keyboard shortcuts for fast plugin management.
Although it’s relatively new, Android Input has gained a wide following among developers and has been downloaded over 2 thousand times.
The plugin is free to use.
Adobe XD is a go-to tool for most app designers when it comes to prototyping or building interfaces from scratch. The tool is a solid alternative for Sketch for PC users.
The platform has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Although the platform is new, it does not fall short of wireframing and prototyping features.
- Voice triggers to manage prototypes conveniently;
- Third-party integrations;
- Plugin support;
- Shared editing support.
AndroidUX is a pattern library with thousands of screens, buttons, and designs. It helps developers from all over the world brainstorm design ideas, follow best industry practices and trends.
The library has been created in 2012 – in seven years, it has become one of the biggest storages of design patterns and ideas.
- ‘Before and now’ section for monitoring industry trends;
- A large database of UX/UI-related blog posts;
- Engaged user community;
- 1000+ unique design patterns.
AndroidUX is a free resource.
Testing and Debugging
Android provides an official emulator – you can run it via Eclipse and Android Development Studio. As soon as a developer has installed an SDK, he can create a virtual design and manage it from a separate tab.
The emulator lists all the devices created during the testing process – you can select any of them. There are keyboard shortcuts that help you navigate the platform faster and conveniently.
- A virtual devices has all the properties of a physical one;
- A range of performance testing tools that help evaluate the network speed, rotation, and hardware sensors;
- A troubleshooting suite.
Pricing: Android Emulator is free.
Instabug is one of the most renowned names in the app development industry. The tool is used by dozens of acclaimed development teams – BuzzFeed, Mashable, Yahoo, PayPal, and others.
Instabug allows teams to create shared bug-reporting accounts. You can maintain a real-time bug log and share screenshots with each other.
- Bug and crash reporter;
- Automated screenshot capturing and video recording;
- Hierarchy change viewer;
- Third-party integrations;
- In-app chat for development teams.
There’s a free trial and a series of paid subscriptions:
- Bronze – $49/user/m;
- Silver – $149/user/m;
- Gold – $349/user/m;
- Enterprise – custom pricing.
Project teams can take advantage of hundreds of android development tools and assistive instruments. As software engineers get more experience, they form a person technology stack, choose their favorite environments, design, and debugging tools.
To make sure you’re choosing the right toolkit for supporting your next Android project, consider giving the tools reviewed above a try. Also, be sure to keep track of new tools that enter the market to not miss out on useful solutions.