‘How to make an Android app?‘ is undoubtedly one of the topics that generate the most curiosities and questions regarding app development and, more specifically, how to make a native app.
As app developers, today we would like to tell you how it works and, above all, we are going to share with you some practical tips that you will have to take into account when willing to make an Android app.
- 1 What is Android?
- 2 How to make an Android app | Pros & cons
- 3 How to make an Android app | Practical guide
- 4 How to generate Signed App Bundle or APK
- 5 How to create your Google Play account
- 6 How to make an Android app without the internet
- 7 Android vs iOS | How to choose
- 8 Cross-Platform App Development
- 9 How to make an Android app with an expert developer
What is Android?
Android is a mobile operating system designed exclusively for developing mobile applications executed on touch-screen devices such as watches and smartphones, tablets, and even TV (Android TV).
According to statistics (source AppBrain), more than 3 million apps have been developed on Android at a rate of more than 100,000 applications published on Google Play every month. In other words, app developers continue to create apps for practically all uses, such as apps for watching movies, apps for downloading music, for drawing, apps for making video calls, and working from home.
How to make an Android app | Pros & cons
Now we are going to break down the pros and cons that we have found based on our experience at Tribalyte Technologies when programming Android mobile applications:
- Android app development allows us to reach a large audience through Google Play. In 2020, more than one hundred and eight billion downloads have been made on the Google platform.
- Possibility of creating applications for many devices, such as mobile phones, wearables, television, tablets, cars, and more. Since Android is free software, it can get implemented on any hardware.
- We have third-party libraries that help us develop apps in a more agile way and with more complex functionalities out of the box.
- It receives great support from the community, in addition to the complete official documentation, and it is easy to find forums, articles, and free guides that will help us to find solutions to all possible issues.
- There are two programming languages that we can use to make an Android app: Java and Kotlin. You can choose the one that best suits your knowledge.
- It has its IDE (“Integrated Development Environment”), Android Studio, very complete and free that facilitates day-to-day tasks.
Although less than the benefits, it is important to know them before deciding to make an Android app:
- Having to learn a new language and framework, as well as the lifecycle of an Android application.
- Since we can make an Android app for very many devices, this could complicate the design of the graphical interface, which will have to adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions. That means that a larger number of tests need to get done.
- More devices also mean dealing with different versions of the operating system that we’ll have to support and test when making our application.
How to make an Android app | Practical guide
- The first thing we need to do is configuring our development environment. We recommend installing the official Android IDE (“Integrated Development Environment”) – Android Studio – that will help us throughout the code development process with several tools integrated into it, the design of the graphical interface, and even the generation of our app.
- When willing to make an Android app, Android Studio itself will offer us a series of already defined templates to start your application with some screens already generated, such as the Login screen, integration with Google Maps, or implementation of the side menu. It can be the best option for beginners. On the other hand, if you have more experience in application development, probably you’ll already have some architecture and scaffolding for Android applications.
- Next step: to define the name of our application and the name of the package of our application that will become a unique identifier of the app within Google Play. It is formed like the URL of a web but in reverse; we recommend that it is composed of the name of the company plus the name of the application, for example, if our application is going to be called Fissios, the identifier will remain as com.tribalyte.fissiosapp, although it could be any text with that format, the only requirement is that it be unique.
- Once these steps get completed, a new project gets generated, and we can start adding our business logic. It is always advisable to have the screens defined and the flow of all the actions that the user can perform before starting with the programming.
When we start to develop, it is very important to think about how we are going to structure the code so that it is more comfortable to work with and that it is easy to maintain. Some of the most popular architecture patterns in the development of native Android applications are:
- MVC (Model – View – Controller)
- MVVM (Model – View – ViewModel)
- MVP (Model – View – Presenter)
- Another important point is to test the operation of our application. We run the Android Studio emulator since it helps us to have different configurations, both hardware, and software, to perform tests with different API versions. Although the emulator is very complete and has improved over the last few years, we also recommend testing on real devices, especially certain functionalities, such as Bluetooth or Push Notifications, which are not available in the emulator.
- Once we have our application ready and tested, we need to perform the following steps to publish it on Google Play so that any user can download it on their phone and use it.
How to generate Signed App Bundle or APK
- The first step is to make an Android app Bundle, that is, an .aab or .apk file that contains all our resources and compressed code. From Android Studio you will only have to go to the menu Build> Generate Signed Bundle or APK
Since it is the first time we carry out this process, we need to create a certificate to sign our application. This signature is responsible for ensuring that only the app developer can generate updates. The process is quite simple, and we will only have to fill in a form with our data and secure it with a password.
- Once we get the certificate, we can continue the following steps to generate the Android application. Currently, we have two formats that we have already mentioned above: .AAB or .APK. The file generated as .aab optimizes much more the resources to publish the application on Google Play. In contrast, these types of files cannot be installed directly on a device and install the application directly on our phone. That will be outside of Google Play and we will always need an .APK file.
How to create your Google Play account
To publish our Android application on Google Play it is necessary to create a developer account on Google Play.
The process is very simple and we only need to have a Gmail account, fill out a form with additional information and pay a fee of 25 dollars. This payment is one-time only.
Once we have registered, we can create the tab for our application. The data that we must fill in are the following: name of the application, brief description, complete description, language, logo, promotional image, several screenshots, category, classification by age and target audience, countries where it will get distributed, price, etc.
The last step is to upload the .aab or .apk file we generated in the previous section and send it for review. The review process by Google can take several days, so we recommend a little patience before you can see your application available to download on Google Play.
Last recommendation, but no less important: if you want to succeed with your new application it is necessary to keep abreast of all the news and improvements that appear in the new versions of Android and upload regular updates to your application that enrich the content and user experience.
How to make an Android app without the internet
Currently, most applications need internet access to work. Nevertheless, it is possible to create applications without the need to use the internet, that is, they can be run without an internet connection. It may be that our main content is offline and only use the internet if it is available for extra functionalities that do not impact the normal use of the app, for example, to share your score in a game.
If our application has an internal database or a cache system, you can continue to check emails or download your Netflix series to watch it later on without having to worry about the availability of an Internet connection.
Android vs iOS | How to choose
When developing mobile apps, there are several differences between Android or iOS apps. With Android, we can make an Android app for different phones manufacturers, such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, etc. On the other hand, if we develop an iOS app, we’ll create applications only for iPhone and Apple devices. Let’s see other differences in the app development for each platform:
- To develop an iOS app, we need to have a Mac computer, while with Android we have more freedom when choosing equipment and operating system (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.).
- They use different programming languages: for iOS, we will have to use Objective-C and Swift, while for Android we use Java and Kotlin.
- The license to upload applications to Google Play has a much lower cost than the corresponding one for the App Store.
- To test on real devices you will need to create an account in App developer for iOS, necessary for functions not supported in the emulator, such as Bluetooth or the camera. With Android, this step is not necessary.
- Since Android is an open-source system, the developer has more freedom when creating apps than with iOS.
Cross-Platform App Development
If you still wondering whether to make an android app or an iOS one, take into account the possibility to develop hybrid apps. This way, you will cover the needs of 90% of the projects with just a reusable code base for web, iOS, and Android. For more technical tips, have a look at our post on the development of a web app, mobile app, cross-platform, and PWA.
How to make an Android app with an expert developer
Now that you know a little more about how to make an Android app, do you still have questions about how to get the most out of your app development project?
Here at Tribalyte Technologies we are expert custom app developers. Check our case studies and contact us right now. We will help you out.CHECK OUR CASE STUDIES