Setting up Android Studio

Now that you want to setup Android Studio for your personal environment to start developing and running Android applications, let me first tell you what you actually need in order to setup Android development environment. Android operating system provides Java APIs for developers, which means that you can use Java programming language to program your applications for Android devices. But that is just not it, you need a lot of other components in order to start developing Android applications. In this topic, I will be covering everything that you need to know in order to setup Android Studio, configure it to your needs, install the SDK and some other extra resources.

Installation of Android Studio

Android Studio is the officially supported IDE by Google and they provide a complete set of tools and services that you need to develop, run, test and publish your Android applications to Google Play Store in as much less time as possible. Android Studio is a complete IDE with everything that you need to start developing applications, ranging all the way from code editors, syntax highlighters, to debuggers and APK generation tools.

Do not forget to review the system requirements for your specific platform, they would help you understand how Android Studio will perform on your machine and in case whether you need to upgrade your system before installation of Android Studio — because, I assure you, Android Studio is a very heavy tool, not just this one but any IDE is a heavy one. Following are my recommendations for a machine suitable for development purposes. Of course you can chose in a more as-needed or more-or-less basis depending on your budget, and/or interest in Android Development.

Requirement Minimum Recommended
CPU clock dual core 2.0 GHz or equivalent 3.0 Ghz or more, with quad core CPU
RAM resources 4 GB 8 GB
Available HDD 100 GB 250 GB

There are many other requirements provided there, and these are a few of my own suggestions. I know you must be saying, that these are not the ones suggested and recommended by Google and that is the point, these are my recommendations. I know how Android Studio works, how hard it can be sometimes and that is why I am asking you to have these and then expect Android Studio to work or function.

Android Studio is available free of cost, at the official Android developer's website; https://developer.android.com/studio/index.html. You can visit the website, for more information and to download the IDE. The first step would be to download the IDE directly, from the website. It depends on your operating system, as to which of the binaries are provided to you, but most commonly it would be Windows ones (based on your operating system).

Installing Java SDK

I did not mention that you must install Java SDK as well, because in most cases you already have a Java runtime or Java SDK installed on your machine, such as if you have installed NetBeans, Eclipse or any other Java-based application. But in case if you do not have a Java SDK available you can install the latest Java SDK from Oracle's official website. You can go to Java SE Development Kit 8 Downloads and download the latest binaries for your own platform.

Once you have downloaded and installed your Java SDK you will need to setup JAVA_HOME variable, this is a global variable that you need to setup in order to specify the location of your Java SDK binaries for other programs (such as Android Studio) to look for and request Java runtime. The procedure to add global variables is different on all platforms, on Windows, for that you need to right-click on My Computer (or This PC) and select Properties → Advanced System Settings → Environment Variables → Under the System variables select New and set the name as JAVA_HOME and the path to where your Java SDK gets installed, C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_10, you need to check one thing that this should be your own path C:\Program Files\Java\[your specific directory here] and save the changes by applying them and go back and retry running Android Studio.

Best way to setup JAVA_HOME directory

My personally recommended way is to use NetBeans installer by Oracle to install and setup Java development environment for me. NetBeans with Java SE SDK 8 would be a good dynamic duo that you can download and setup the basic Java development environment for yourself. For this experience, go to JDK 8u141 with NetBeans 8.2 and download the binaries, they will install and setup everything for you.

Setting up Android SDK

Android SDK is required, and with the help of Android emulators they allow developers to write, build and test their Android applications before publishing to the outside world. Android SDK is a framework, and a set of tools and libraries that you use to build Android applications. Without Android SDK, developing applications for Android will be a very painful task to accomplish (it is possible, but difficult). Android SDK comes shipped with the Android Studio and if you were following this tutorial then you already have the Android SDK setup for yourself, however if you want to install standalone Android SDK then you can do that as well, you need to go to the same page as mentioned above and check under the Get just the command line tools section and download the command-line tools, to setup and install your Android SDK.

Note the fact that this can be helpful, in cases where you want to use some non-Android-Studio sort of IDE such as Eclipse for Android development purposes. They support Android Development Tools and you download the command-line tools for Android Development. But note that the official way of development in Android is through Android Studio and latest updates from Google come to Android Studio and the tools and setup provided in this IDE.

Android SDK also requires that you setup other platforms to try and test on other versions of Android as well. The recommended platform is the latest release by Google, which at the time of this writing is Android Oreo (8.0), but I recommend that you also install some older versions to try and test your application on those platforms as well. Android SDK binaries, and including the binaries for Android emulator ROMs takes quite a lot of space, sometimes installation of multiple platforms takes more than 100GB of HDD space, and might cause a slowdown on the machine which is why you must take some measure beforehand and leave some space out for other processes.

Final checks

Typically, in the part I will be covering how to check Android Studio for various things, such as SDK setup, layout and other components, emulators etc. but if you want to check things out you might want to create a new sample project and try building it to see if everything is perfect.

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