Android Dev, Eclipse Tips from a Beginner

It is not easy starting any major technical development area, and Android development is no exception. There are a lot of resources to query, but there really is no one but yourself to try and figure things out. Query your problem on Google Search and you’ll likely end up at StackOverflow.com. While there are answers, they might not answer your question. You try, fail, and then try something else. Here are some tips I learned.

Eclipse is not easy to install: Eclipse installs Ok, but seems to blow up when you first run it. I’ve installed Eclipse twice now, and have encountered different problems each time. Still, after a couple of hours, Ok many hours of reading and trying different things, my Eclipse is now running well. Download the Android Software Development Kit, which includes Eclipse, with an ethernet connection, not wireless, because at 500mb it is a large download.

Most of these problems are quite common, so a search and reading a lot on StackOverflow will eventually get you the answer. be careful about reading old posts, as issues and solutions do change.

Eclipse Requires Java: While this is covered in the Android development requirements, it is hidden under a dropdown and therefore not prominent. You cannot run Eclipse without Java. Java for Windows comes in 2 flavours: Windows x86 (i586 or 32 bit), and Windows x64 (for 64 bit). You’ll need to know your system. If you have more than 4G of ram you should be running 64 bit. Both downloads are 150mb. Be ethernet connected because it is a large download.

Install java first, before you even try to install Eclipse, and then verify your java is running correctly. To verify, in Windows do a CMD and type “java -version”. If nothing comes back or there is an error, then something in Java is not right. If you want to run Eclipse in 64 bit, java also needs to be in 64 bit. Your java test should state 64 bit, otherwise it is 32 bit.

Installing Eclipse takes a while, and I had to do this a couple of times. Ensure that your Eclipse and java JDK match for 32 bit or 64 bit, as there is no mixing them together. While the Eclipse installs easily, it probably will not run the first time, or parts will break. For me the Android SDK manager, which allows me to download different SDKs, would not run.

The Android emulator, that uses the Android Virtual Device Manager, was just really crawling. This is common, as a search revealed. If you have a supported Intel processor there is a really great update, thanks to Prashanth Sams, that makes the emulator run much faster. It is called the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager, or HAXM. Firstly you download the HAXM using the SDK Manager, then run the program. You must have a newer Intel chip. In my case the HAXM program installed, but told me I need to turn a switch on through my BIOS. This was easy. After you install HAXM successfully, delete all your devices and reinstall them. HAXM makes the emulator really start much faster.

I found out that each Android emulator takes up 30G of space. I was shocked and had to delete one because of disk space constraints.

I am following the Android development lessons. So far so good. The first program went well, but the second program, the one where you enter text into a box and hit a button, with the text being displayed on the second screen, is still not working. I’ll need to go over it again tomorrow.

Check EditText for null: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6290531/check-if-edittext-is-empty

Random AES key: http://android-developers.blogspot.ca/2013/02/using-cryptography-to-store-credentials.html
secretKey to string: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5355466/converting-secret-key-into-a-string-and-vice-versa
string to char array: http://examples.javacodegeeks.com/core-java/character/how-to-convert-character-to-string-and-a-string-to-character-array-in-java/
randomize the salt: http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/api/java/security/SecureRandom.html

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