The Best Tools for Android Software Development

MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 21 Jul 2020

Android

Android development is in its heyday. According to Statista, there are 2.9 billion apps available in Google Play. As the use of Android devices goes up, the need for high-quality Android apps continues to grow. 

These days, Android developers need to stay productive to create better quality apps at record speed. To that end, they have a wealth of useful tools and applications at hand. In this article, we are going to have a look at what's inside a developer's toolbox and Android development kit. So here's the list of the best Android development tools.

Android Studio: Key Android Build Tool

Android Studio is, without a doubt, the first one among Android developers' tools. It's an official integrated environment for Android app development that lets easily edit code, debug, and test. 

Created in 2013, it made a splash and unseated Eclipse Android Development Tools as the one and only IDE for native Android apps. It's free and actively supported by a vibrant Android development community.

AIDE

It's an Android IDE that allows making an Android app on your Android device. AIDE provides a way not only to write the code on your phone or tablet but also to run, test, and debug. This environment is a good option for novice developers as opposed to Android Studio or IntelliJ IDEA. The downside is that it only supports Java and C/C++. If you are building an app in Kotlin, go with another Android IDE.  

Stetho

Stetho is an open-source library developed by Facebook and designed for quick application debugging. Stetho gives the application a website experience by making the allows access to a Chrome Developer Tools feature native to the desktop browser.

With the Chrome DevTools, you can easily view the hierarchy of an application, monitor network activity, manage an SQLite database, monitor shared SharedPreferences, and more.

Gradle

Gradle is an open-source build automation system that appeared in 2013. Combining the best of Apache Maven and Apache Ant, this system is ideal for multi-project, large builds. Gradle makes it easy to add a third-party library with one line of code. Gradle is mainly used for Android software development using Java, but there are also Groovy and Scala plugins. 

Android Asset Studio

It's an excellent collection of easy-to-use tools for generating various types of icons that you will need when designing and developing applications.

LeakCanary

Powerful memory leak detection tool developed by Square. Once installed, it will automatically launch and notify you of every memory leak in your application. To rectify the problems, there is a built-in stack trace available for use.

IntelliJ IDEA

JetBrains created a Java IDE with Android support. It's a good alternative to Android Studio, mainly used for simpler apps. IntelliJIDEA is fast and comes with a variety of development tools right out of the box: smart code completion, instant code analysis, refactoring, and JetBrains plugins. 

Source Tree

A simple and free tool that provides an easy way to manage Git repositories using Git GUI. You can visually visualize all your changes, commits, branches without having to write even a single command in the command line. Available for Mac and Windows users. 

Unity 3D

Creating mobile games, you can turn to a cross-platform engine with a wealth of features for graphically intensive and VR/AR games. It's fine to stick with Android Studio or IntelliJ IDEA for developing games, but Unity is will provide more tailored-to-game-development tools, such as storytelling, next-level performance profiling, real-time rendering, and many more.

GameMaker: Studio 

This is one of the most popular game engines from YoYo games that allows you to develop 2D games for Android and other platforms. GameMaker: Studio is a powerful yet simple, easy-to-use tool with a convenient drag-and-drop interface. It's also a good tool to kick off your game development career. 

BlockCanary

Recommended by many, this powerful performance monitoring library that helps you identify when your application's user interface thread is blocked for a while and slows down the application. Installing BlockCanary is very simple, and it works much like LeakCanary.

AVD Manager

A useful tool from Android Studio that stands for Android Virtual Device. It enables developers to create emulations of all Android devices on a single computer to test an app's performance and responsiveness. AVD manager eliminates the need for having each type of physical device, screen size, and resolution. 

Firebase

Mobile apps require a server to perform tasks such as authenticating users and synchronizing user data across multiple devices. However, building such a server requires a skill set that most ISVs lack. Fortunately, there are several back-end service platforms, often referred to as BaaS, that you can use today. Google's Firebase is one such platform.

Firebase provides essential services like analytics, crash reporting, user authentication, and cloud messaging for free. Its freemium services include real-time NoSQL database, file hosting, and static website hosting.

Vysor

Vysor is a tool that brings Android to the desktop so you can display and interact with the device right from your computer. It lets you type from your keyboard, show your screen during meetings, and work more efficiently. Vysor is compatible with all operating systems. 

Android Debug Bridge 

This is a versatile command-line tool that lets you communicate with a device. ADB allows you to exchange data with a running Android emulator or a real connected (via USB, Wi-Fi network) Android device (tablet, phone). The tool belongs to Android SDK tools and is included in the Android SDK Platform Tools package. 

NimbleDroid

A platform where you can test your Android app for flaws before pushing it to Google Play. This tool brings a lot of value to the Quality Assurance process because it helps expedite the testing stage. NimbleDroid is appreciated by Pinterest, Tinder, Yahoo, Paypal, and many more.

RAD Studio

An integrated environment where you can create apps for Android devices. RAD Studio has a visual designer and code editor that lets you write, compile, and deploy hybrid applications using a single code base. It comes with support during an entire SDLC. You can take it for a spin using a trial version. 

Conclusion: Android toolkits choice

Android development is rapidly evolving and there are lots of tools that make daily work easier. The choice usually boils down to personal preferences as well as product requirements. We hope that these Android development tools will help you deliver useful applications for Android. We are proud to have been working with our clients on their robust Android apps

 

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