Setting Up For Android Development

Published on: July 19, 2013 Written by: Thokozani Mhlongo

In this tutorial we teach you how to setup your Android Development environment. Please note that an internet connection is required to complete the setup. This tutorial assumes that you have the Java JDK installed on your computer. If not, you can download it here

Step 1. Download Eclipse IDE

The first thing we'll do is to download the Eclipse IDE. Eclipse is the preferred IDE for Android development, although some developers also use Netbeans IDE. Either of these will do, but for the sake of this tutorial we will use Eclipse. To download, go to the Eclipse website at


As you can see, there are many versions to choose from. The one we're interested in is the Eclipse Classic version. Download and extract the files. Eclipse is different in that it doesn't need to be installed, you can run it right from the extracted folder. We advise that you create a shortcut on your desktop or your Windows Task Bar so that you wont need to navigate to the extracted folder every time you want to run the application.

Step 2. Get the Android SDK

Now that we have our IDE, it's time to download the Android SDK. To do this, navigate to Download and install the Android SDK. Please make a note of the directory in which the SDK installs, you will refer to it later.

Step 3. Download Android Platforms

In order to develop Android applications, you will need to have at least one Android Platform installed in your SDK. The Android Operating System has different versions, we suggest that you download the up to the latest version which, at the time of writing, is Android 4.1 (API 16) also known as Jellybean. To download, start the SDK Manager application, which was installed when you installed the SDK.


Select the "Tools" checkbox, and the "Android 4.1(API 16)" checkbox. Then click "Install Packages". This could take some time depending on your internet connection.

Step4. Download Eclipse Android Plugin

Android offers a custom plugin for the Eclipse IDE, called Android Development Tools (ADT). This plugin is designed to give you a powerful, integrated environment in which to develop Android apps. To install ADT start Eclipse, then go to Help > Install New Software. On the Window that appears, click Add. On the dialog that appears enter "ADT Plugin" as the name, then add the following to the URL field:
Click OK. In the Available Software dialog, select the checkbox next to Developer Tools and click Next. In the next window, you'll see a list of the tools to be downloaded. Click Next. Read and accept the license agreements, then click Finish. When the installation completes, restart Eclipse.

You now need to configure your plugin to work with your Android SDK. After restarting Eclipse, on the "Welcome to Android Development" window that appears, select "Use Existing SDKs". Browse and select the directory in which you installed your SDK. Click Next. You are now almost ready to start coding. But first, you need to create an Android Virtual Device.

Step5. Create Android Virtual Device (AVD)

If you do not have an Android Smarphone, you will need to create a virtual device in order to run and test your applications. To do this start Eclipse and go to Window > AVD Manager. On the right hand side, click "New". On the dialog that appears you will enter information about your virtual device. First enter a name, this can be any name, however if you plan on having many virtual devices with different specifications, it is advisable that you use a name that will easily identify that device from the others. For example, if you're creating a device that runs on Android 3.2(Honeycomb), you might use a name like "avd_3_2" or "avd_honeycomb". Next you need to select the version of the Android OS that your device will run on. This can be any of the platforms you installed during the SDK setup. Enter a file size for your AVD, again, this can be any size but we suggest putting about 16MB. Now Click "Create AVD". Once this is done, you will be ready to start developing your first Android Application.

On the next tutorial, I will show you how to develop a simple Android application. A screencast of this tutorial will be made available soon. If you need any further assistance with this tutorial, please contact us via our Facebook page.