With the arrival of smartphones, the usage of mobile phones has increased dramatically. Smartphones have transformed the way we do business and get on with our daily lives. Almost 85% of smartphones operate on the Android operating system, as a result, developing an android app is a necessity for any online business. This has led to the Google Play Store being flooded by thousands of Android apps every day.
Everything from ordering food, finding jobs, taking a cab, or booking a movie ticket all these things are now at your fingertips. Hiring an Android App Development company can be a quick way to get your Android app developed effortlessly, However, if you can put some effort into learning the mobile app development frameworks, you can build multiple Android apps by yourself.
Smartphones, Tablets, Televisions, Cameras, Car systems, Gaming consoles, and Smart wearables are some of the devices that are powered by Android app development architecture. Hardware configurations of Android devices vary from one device to another, but Android app development tools offer support for common features like storage, connectivity, cameras, messaging, and more. So before digging further let’s find out what Android application development actually is.
What Is Android Application Development?
Android app development is the process of creating an android-based mobile application for your business. As an Android app developer, your basic toolkit should include expertise in android application development using Java and C++. It is a basic requirement for getting started with Android app development.
Android offers the following software toolkits for Android app development:
- Software Development Kit (SDK)
- Integrated Development Kit (IDK)
- Java Software Development Kit (JDK)
SDK provides Android app development tools to create, debug, and emulate an application. IDE provides a GUI for SDK tools access and an interface to write codes. Android Studio is the ideal IDE.SDK packages that come bundled up in Android Studio in the form of SDK Manager. JDK should be installed on your computer; it offers an interpretation of the Java program.
Android Apps can be developed on different app development programming languages whose selection depends on the level of your skillset in different programming languages, the strengths, and weaknesses of each programming language, and more importantly, what you are trying to achieve with mobile app for your business.
Through the Android app development platform, Android devices provide notable features, which include:
- Widgets– Which allows access to information at a glance on the home screen, such as weather info.
- Custom ROMs- This feature allows customization of android operating systems to suit one’s interest.
Android App Development Bundles
An Android Application Kit (APK) is a file that comprises all the components necessary for Android app development to execute. Components enclosed in an APK file are your code library and resources like languages, images, and screen size binaries.
Before Android OS5, an Android app could only have one APK, later Android versions support several APKs within a single app. The generation of multiple APKs was a problem for Android developers, therefore, Android came up with Android Application Development Bundle. This feature is available in Android Studio 3.2 and later versions. It is a recently added upload feature that includes auto-generation and the signing of the APK files of the applications.
Once you have uploaded your Android app to Google Play Store, dynamic delivery utilizes the app bundle you created to automatically generate, sign, and serve optimized APK files to your app users according to their device configurations.
Some of the benefits of the Android App Bundle system are:
- As an Android developer, you only need to build a single version of the app that includes compiled code and resources. You no longer have to handle multiple versions of APKs.
- Users can download your app’s code and resources that are beneficial to them, like their native language. Anything else which is not required is held back from downloading.
A Step-by-Step Guide for Android App Development:
Every app that we come across has different functionality and requirements. The Android app development steps include app designing, developing, and post-deployment of the app.
1. Mobile App Ideation
Every great app starts with an unique idea. You need to ensure that your idea about the application, the resources, and the problem-solving ability should be clear enough before you proceed further. One needs to note down the things that would be of higher priority while building an Android app.
Additionally, the problems that can arise on any occasion related to the application development process should be noted down in advance. This would help you in planning a strategy that would work efficiently through the entire Android app development procedure. For example, you have to evaluate the potential of the Android app whether it would be able to solve the purpose or not.
Furthermore, sufficient consideration should be given to the recent market trends and the demand of users. This would support you in building an app that could be a great hit! Apart from this, one needs to accurately evaluate the similar applications that are already existing in the market and serving the same purpose.
An unique idea, can enhance your business aspect but in case you don’t have any; make sure you research the market. The functionalities offered by your competitors and how you can involve users in your product are some important things to consider.
2. App Development Strategy
Once you finalize your idea of the Android application, you would have to focus on the mobile app strategy. With a proper Android App Development strategy, you will need to create a plan, a kind of blueprint to provide your idea some structure. Look over your competitors. Inspect the number of downloads they have gathered. Explore the reviews in the Google App Store to know where you will need to put some effort.
Additionally, it would be great if you can understand the history of your competitor, to give you a fair idea of their strategy. See if you can find the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. The best decision though is to partner with the top Android App Development company in the USA like Explorate Global. This is the perfect approach to generate sufficient revenues when we talk about a great business model.
3. Android App Wireframing
A wireframe is a blueprint of the Android App Development process that provides the exact idea about the functionality and design. This is one of the important parts of the Android development process that structures the application and releases a complete representation of the functionality and design.
Wireframing will organize the app from end to end. It will comprise app features and tools options that might be required for integration into the app, specifications, and feasibility of the Android app. The wireframe mainly consists of the features, layout, and specifications of the application that further assist the developer to evaluate the exact requirement.
4. Android App Design
Your Android app design is possibly the first thing that would leave an impression on your users. Therefore, it should be attractive enough! You just can’t expect great hits on your application on the Google Play Store if the UI/UX design isn’t catchy enough to grab the eyes of the users.
Your user would always judge the application’s consistency on the overall design, due to this, you have to stress more on the overall design. Therefore, to validate that all bases are covered, the team will recheck all specifications on the basis of wireframing. The mobile app design is a stage where continuous feedback with your Android app development company is very essential.
5. Android App Development
At this stage, Android app developers will focus on the user interface (UI) feature of the app, where numerous techniques are positioned at the same time to code the usability of the Android app. The developer will implement the strategies through efficient code and add the functionality according to the user requirements and business model.
Android app developers should give more emphasis on the user experience through the refined code in this phase of application development. It is the duty of the app developers to make sure that the application developed is reliable enough to deliver the best user experience without any glitches.
It is certainly important to have an effective code that can enhance the loading speed, stability, and durability of the software, which further standardizes the business model. The seamless use of intent, list view, navigation, and database would be structured at this vital stage.
6. Android App Testing
Once the designing and development part of the application is done, it is time to test the application to evaluate any flaws or bugs. The testing professional examines the application for any loopholes that can be the reason for a problem in the overall functionality.
The development and testing team can prefer a manual test scenario for inspection of some functionalities through a major part of testing is executed through automated scripts. Automation-based testing allows the testing team to put the anticipated load on the application by making virtual users that ultimately help in the deep analysis of the application at varied loads.
The testing team makes sure that all the bugs are eliminated and the speed of the application isn’t affected by the increase in the number of users. A development team should not compromise on the mobile application security and strictly perform different quality checks before they deliver the final product.
The final stage of the Android app development process is the deployment of the application on the Google Play Store. This procedure includes the submission of screenshots of different layouts of the application that can provide the users an exact idea regarding the functionality and user interface.
Additionally, the application details, its use, problem-solving ability, and features are provided as the description on the Play Store. Once these procedures are over, the application’s APK file is submitted for approval.
Fundamental Concepts of Android App Development
Mainly, there are two important concepts a novice Android app developer needs to understand; the mechanisms of the android app’s components and adaptation of your app to different devices.
Android App’s Components
An Android App is made up of loosely attached components that are distinctly and independently invoked but inter-operate within the app ecosystem. App’s AndroidManifest.xml file contains necessary information regarding each component, such as how they interact, their hardware configurations, etc. There are mainly four components of the Android app:
This is the presentation layer of an Android app. This determines how the user interacts with the GUI. For example, an email application can have one activity to log in/register, another activity to read emails, and another activity to write new emails. In addition, the activity monitor shows the currently displayed and previously visited activity.
This is an internal operating component used to handle long-running background operations. For example, the service may be playing music in the background while the user is engaged in a different application in the front or retrieving/sending information over the internet while the user is interacting with a separate app.
This is known as the event-driven component, which is also known as Intent listeners. They listen and receive broadcasts, either from the system or any other application. Further, they act as per the triggers set in the broadcast. For example, alarms and reminders.
As the name suggests, they use content stored in databases, file systems, or other applications. They act as a link between applications and data. For example, a media player application accesses music stored in your phone’s memory through your content provider.
Your Android app’s Activity, Services, and Broadcast Receivers’ components are activated using Intent. The intent is your Android App’s messaging object that provides a platform for applications to call for features and functionalities from other components. It allows you to involve other components inside and outside the application.
For the Android app components such as activities and services, Intent manages requests and determines how those requests are served. For example, the intent can pass the request to the action to open the URL. An activity is a single screen in an application, and StartActivity() can start it.
Intent also offers a value passing mechanism between different activities; for example, an activity from your application can demand a photo from the activity of another app managing photos. If we talk about Broadcast Receiver, an Intent can select the message to be transmitted. For example, click Intent to receive new email notifications from your email application.
The android platform supports two types of Intents:
- Implicit Intent only defines an action or data that a specific component needs from other components. The request is passed along to Android System which sequentially estimates and returns registered components accountable for the demanded action/data.
- Explicit intents clearly describe the components responsible for the operations/data you want.
Instead, the content provider component is activated by an Android object named ContentResolver. The ContentResolver is an object that works as a mediator between two communicating Content provider components.
Ways by which Components are activated
- Activity: An activity can be activated by passing a method startActivity (Intent)
- Service: You start off the service through startService (Intent).
- Broadcast Receiver: You can start transmission via sendBroadcast (Intent).
- Content Provider: You can query the content provider by calling query() on the ContentResolver.
For an Android System to involve any of your application’s components, it has to be aware of the presence of the different components, their functionalities, and hardware specifications. All this data and information about your app’s components are stored in a file known as Manifest (AndroidManifest.xml). This file must be located in the source code of the project. The file also includes metadata of your application components, such as themes and icons.
The different roles of a Manifest file are as follows:
- It defines the type of components your application is composed of. It also defines the functions of these components and the type of classes that run them.
- It explains the permissions of your application. It also determines the permissions that other components must have to access the components of your application.
- Indicate the minimum Android API level your application should have.
- Declares your app’s hardware and software requirements.
Declaring Components and their Capabilities
The main purpose of the manifest file is to declare the components of the application. All components included in your application but not declared in the manifest file can be found at the end of this tutorial. If not, we need to connect to iOS so that it will not be recognized and activated.
Declaring Components Capabilities
Among the declarations you build in your app’s Manifest file is the declaration of Intent Filters. An intent filter is an interpretation of the intent that the application component wants to apply. When you declare an implicit Intent, the Android System categories through the Manifest files of registered components that wish to achieve their declared intents through the intent filters declared in other components.
Declaring App Requirements
There are billions of different Android devices with different software and hardware specifications. One of the statements you made in the manifest file is the device specification. They define the software and hardware attributes required for the efficient installation and execution of applications. When a user searches for an app in Google Play it filters applications and only returns those applications whose declared device specifications adapt with the user’s device.
Android App’s Device Compatibility
Android Studio provides Android App Development tools and environments to build an app that can be effectively used in different android devices. This is done based on the type of resources available. For example, you need to provide a resource that enables your application to display different screen sizes or display in multiple languages. The system determines the type of resources required based on your device specifications.
If your Android app needs particular hardware for it to successfully perform, build it to find out the hardware’s accessibility during runtime, and maybe dismiss the execution if the hardware is unobtainable. The same goes for authorization to access specific information stored in the system or other applications. Build your application to request permission, either during installation or runtime.
Privacy and App Permissions
A user’s privacy of the Android App is protected by Android’s permission feature. Sensitive information of the user such as contact list and messages and device functionality is protected through permission. In the process of installation or runtime, your app must seek permission from the user to access these features.
By default, your application is not authorized to operate in a manner that affects user’s information, device system, and other applications. For example; it is not permitted for your app to read/write user’s and other app’s information, or manipulate a device’s operating system. Let’s discuss more regarding the app’s permissions below:
App’s Permission Declaration
You must declare permissions your app needs in the Manifest file. App’s Permissions are declared through the <uses-permission> component. Permissions are applied using the Android:permission attribute.
Types of Permissions
- Normal Permissions: These permissions are automatically approved by the Android System without the knowledge of the user. Normal permissions cause no risk to a user’s privacy or the normal operation of a device system, for example, permission to access the internet.
- Signature Permissions: These permissions are automatically approved by the Android system by having both the requesting application and the application that declared those permissions signed with the identical certificate.
- Dangerous Permissions: These permissions are explicitly approved by the user. They pose a risk to the user’s data or the system’s normal operation.
Components Enforcement of Permissions
Permission enforcement varies as per your app’s components.
- Activity permission enforcement: Permission applied to tag defines who can launch the activity component of your app. The permission is tested during Context.startActivity() and Activity.startActivityForResult(). If the caller doesn’t have permission then SecurityException is returned.
- Service permission enforcement: Permission applied to tag defines who can initiate the Service of your app. Permission is tested during Context.startService(), Context.stopService() and Context.bindService(). If the caller doesn’t have permission, then SecurityException is returned.
- Broadcast Receiver permission enforcement: Permission applied to tag defines who can broadcast to your applications’ receiver component. Permission is tested after Context.sendBroadcast() returns. A permission failure results in a stop in Intent conveyance.
- Content Provider permission enforcement: Permission applied to tag defines who can access data in ContentProvider. android:read Permission decides who can read from ContentProvider, while Android:write Permission decides who can write into ContentProvider.
Best Mobile App Development Practices for Android
There are some best practices to be followed in Android App Development architecture to ensure your apps are flawless in their user experience and knock the competition out of the water. While some of the best Android App Development Companies follow these Mobile app development practices, not everyone out there does. So make sure you keep these practices in mind:
Dependency is the most common element when it comes to programming. Classes interact with each other by referencing each other in their ecosystem. Dependency injection is the idea of including application classes in dependencies instead of creating them yourself. Dependencies are modified elsewhere and passed to the classes that really need them. Dependency Injection occurs in two ways:
- Field Injection promptly passes dependencies to classes.
- Constructor injection involves transferring dependencies to classes through constructors.
Testing in Android App development is one of the major stages. The testing takes place before deployment and while using the app. Engaging a modular architectural approach is required when developing an Android app. With this approach, you distinct coding blocks as per the tasks they execute. This makes it relaxed to test since you are working on a few codes one at a time.
Establish a Testing Environment
The best practices in setting up a testing environment are:
- Test directories: Organize your test directories in Android Studio as per your accessible test environments. For example, put all test files for virtual devices in the androidTest directory, and put the test files that will run on your computer in the test directory.
- Test devices: Organize different types of equipment to test your application, such as B. real equipment, virtual equipment, and simulators. Equipment simulation ensures maximum reliability.
Assessment of Evaluative Tests
After you have established a testing environment, write down tests that you can assess your application with. The following are three types of tests you can use:
- Small tests: These tests are used to assess the performance of your classes.
- Medium tests: Medium tests authorize the collaboration between the various classes in a module. Check out the Espresso Intents library for moderate testing.
- Large tests: These tests measure the interaction between modules in the application.
Testing up the ladder from small to large tests provides the ability to debug proficiently. For more information about Android testing and apps, see these resources on Android testing examples and Android Code Testing Lab.
As a developer, you need to create an application that can interact with everyone. Users with visual impairments, hearing impairments, and other impairments should be a focus when developing Android applications. Development guidelines of the android app are as follows:
- Text Visibility: Font and background color and text size are some of the important components that should be focused on. The font and background color should be clearly distinguished. Accessibility Scanner is an Android application that allows you to select the correct contrast for the design of the application.
- UI Controls: The controls in the application design should be clear and comprehensive.
- Describe UI elements: Add function-related descriptions for user interface elements, and use content description attributes to describe them.
When the mobile app came into existence, nobody expected that soon it would evolve out to be a huge technology. Clearly, as we move forward with the trends and the technology, the user activities and the preferences would continue to catch glances in the eyes of developers and app owners. Android App development is an ongoing process and will continue after the initial launch as you receive user feedback and build additional functionality.
So you already have an app idea running in your mind and you are now all set to turn it into reality then hire the best Android app development services from a renowned company like Explorate Global and stay ahead in this ever-evolving digital world.