Behind a top-notch mobile app is a skilled developer with technical and soft skills and, of course, app development tools to speed up the projects.
Technical, soft skills and tools can be compared to a cord of three strands. The combination and synergy can make Android apps the darling of app stores.
Well, it’s no secret that developers rely on different tools. In fact, 37% of developers worldwide use app development tools like IDEs and compilers, including Eclipse and Android Studio.
Here’s a quick rundown of tools for Android operating system worth using to speed up your development.
- ✔️ Android Studio
- ✔️ Postman
- ✔️ Xamarin
- ✔️ Unity3D
- ✔️ Proxyman
- ✔️ Intelli J IDEA
- ✔️ GitHub
Source: Android Studio
Android Studio is one of the best Android development tools built on JetBrain’s IntelliJ IDEA. It provides developers a powerful and efficient environment for creating, testing, and deploying Android applications. It has a wide range of tools and features tailored for app development projects, making it easier for developers to build responsive apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- ✅ It’s the official integrated development environment (IDE) for Android development — ensuring compatibility and support from Google.
- ✅ It comes with a wide range of code editing and developer features like Gradle as its build system foundation. This means developers can customize, configure, and extend the process of building Android apps.
- ✅ It supports multiple programming languages, including Kotlin, Java, and C/C++.
- ✅ Its emulator can simulate different versions of the Android devices and platforms, screen sizes, and hardware configurations.
- ❌ This tool for Android may require high hardware requirements in RAM (8 GB or more) and CPU power to run properly. It’s a disadvantage for developers with older computers or limited resources.
- ❌ Some developers complain about system lagging, which may slow the development process.
- ❌ Expect a slow installation process. You need to download and install Android Studio, which is at around 1.6 GB, along with the Android SDK, which is even bigger at about 5 GB. It may take about 30 minutes or several hours, depending on the internet connection.
Android Studio is free to download and use. But Android developers must pay a one-time fee of $25 developer’s license — a requirement for publishing apps to Google Play Store.
Postman simplifies APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) the lifecycle — designing, developing, deploying, and consuming — for each step. It helps developers create better APIs faster. Postman started in 2014 as a side project by a software engineer who wanted to simplify the API testing process. Now it has over 25 million registered users, making it the world’s largest API hub.
- ✅ It fosters interactive collaboration among Android mobile app creators, testers, designers, and other important people working on a project, including conducting API testing.
- ✅ It allows developers to define APIs using OpenAPI, RAML, or GraphQL specifications. These specifications can be imported into Postman and used to generate collections of requests that can be used for testing.
- ✅ It has a sandbox feature for developers to write and run tests for each API request. The test results are shown in the Postman app and can be exported for further analysis.
- ❌ Developers must set up a proxy or emulator to capture and send requests from a mobile device. It can be a bit tricky, and may need some extra resources.
- ❌ It lacks a native way to mock or stub API responses on its own. This means developers must turn to other third-party tools or services to simulate different data or errors.
- ❌ It lacks native integration with Git repositories. This could potentially hinder collaboration and version control.
Postman offers three pricing plans, the Basic plan starts at $19 per month, billed monthly.
Xamarin is an open-source platform that lets developers create high-performance native apps for Android, iOS, and Windows using just a single shared codebase. It’s handy because it makes the native mobile app development process simpler and faster, and you can reuse code across different devices.
- ✅ It allows developers to create native user interfaces for each platform and supports platform-specific APIs. This helps developers create device-specific features like integrating push notifications, Google Maps, and accelerometers.
- ✅ It simplifies app maintenance for developers, as the tool makes it easier to maintain and update applications across different platforms.
- ✅ It offers a community and support, providing useful resources and tips for Android developers.
- ❌ It may not be the ideal Android app development software for complicated UI or heavy graphics apps.
- ❌ Mobile apps created through Xamarin can have an overhead, making them ‘heavier’ and may take up more space than native apps.
- ❌ Developing UI is time-consuming and not mobile-friendly.
Xamarin is an open-source, free Android development tool. However, to use it in an enterprise setting, additional costs may apply.
Source: Coding Minds Academy
Unity3D, often called Unity, is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies. It is widely used for creating 2D, 3D, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) games and applications for various platforms, including PCs, consoles, different Android devices, and websites.
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- ✅ It provides developers a powerful and flexible environment for building, testing, and deploying games and interactive applications across multiple platforms.
- ✅ It offers a powerful visual interface for creating and editing game objects, scenes, and assets.
- ✅ It features an extensive library of free and commercial assets, including textures, models, animations, and more.
- ✅ It Supports C# scripting, allowing developers to create custom game logic and functionality.
- ❌ It may not provide the same level of performance as some other game engines, especially for complex games.
- ❌ While Unity is relatively easy to learn, it may still take some time for new users to become familiar with its features and tools.
- ❌ Unity’s Asset Store may not have as many high-polygon 3D assets as other game engines, a caveat for developers looking to create highly detailed and realistic 3D environments or characters in their games.
Unity offers various pricing plans, including a free version for individuals, hobbyists, and small businesses with less than $100K in revenue in the prior 12 months. Unity Pro and Unity Enterprise and Industry plans are available for businesses and teams. The former costs $2,040 per year/seat, while the Industry plan costs $4,950 per year/seat. For the Enterprise plan, it’s best to contact the team for the exact price.
Proxyman aids Android app developers in debugging HTTP requests on their Mac computers. It lets you see and analyze all the requests passing through your device by routing them through a proxy. The proxy intercepts the requests and shows developers information about them. It’s a useful tool for debugging network-related problems.
- ✅ The app tab feature lets developers easily see all the applications on their computer that are sending requests. They can also filter the requests by application. It’s like having a special window that shows them everything their apps are doing.
- ✅ The results filter option gives developers many ways to find exactly what they need, which is helpful when there are hundreds and thousands of requests.
- ✅ It supports ADB (Android Debug Bridge) feature. ADB helps Android developers by letting them interact with Android emulators and run different commands.
- ❌ It might not work properly with some VPN apps. This is because the VPN apps could make all traffic go through the VPN server instead of the Proxyman local server, which stops it from capturing the traffic.
- ❌ While this tool is designed to be user-friendly, there can be a learning curve for Android developers unfamiliar with network debugging or the specific features of Proxyman.
The price of Proxyman varies based on the plan and how many devices you want to use it on. The standard plan costs $69 and is perfect for developers with one device, while the personal plan is $79 per license, which is great for 2 devices and has all the premium features.
IntelliJ IDEA is a Java-based integrated development environment (IDE) that comes in two editions: Community Edition (free and open-source) and Ultimate Edition (commercial). The main goal of IntelliJ IDEA is to make coding easier and more efficient for Java, Kotlin, Groovy, and other Java-based languages.
- ✅ Smart code editor provides an efficient way for developers to write code with its code completion, context action, and error highlighting.
- ✅ It includes built-in developer tools and integrations like Maven, Gradle, and Gant for automating processes to lessen switching between applications.
- ❌ It lacks some of the specialized features like APK analysis support and an integrated emulator that can affect debugging, testing, and optimization processes.
- ❌ Beginners may find it intimidating to use its complex platform, and indexing is slow for large projects.
- ❌ While the Community edition is free, the Ultimate edition, which includes additional features and tools, is paid. This cost can be a barrier for some developers, especially those just starting out or working on a tight budget.
IntelliJ IDEA community edition is free, but the commercial version offers individuals and organizations pricing plans according to their needs. The entry-level plan starts at $16.90 per month, billed monthly.
GitHub is a platform and service in the cloud for software developers. It helps them store, manage, and control their code using Git. With GitHub, developers can collaborate on projects from anywhere. It has an easy-to-use interface and many features to help manage code, track changes and work with others effectively.
- ✅ Collaborators contribute to the work, solve code issues, and merge activities in a single platform while reducing errors and enhancing communication.
- ✅ Allows developers to keep track of the various changes made to every iteration of their code. This feature is particularly useful when multiple people are working on a project, as it helps avoid duplication of work and allows developers to easily revert to a previous version if necessary.
- ✅ GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered coding assistant that can be integrated into Android Studio. It can help supercharge your programming by suggesting code as you type, learning from your edits, and helping you navigate the codebase.
- ❌ Any developer working on the same project could change the code, and without proper communication, this could lead to confusion and potential errors.
- ❌ GitHub has a restriction on the number of requests a GitHub App can make within a specific time frame. This helps to stop misuse and denial-of-service attacks and ensures that the system is accessible to all users. However, if an app needs to make many requests quickly, this restriction could limit its functionality.
- ❌ Updating and aligning code with best practices can be a big task. It’s especially true when the code is meant to be public and used by others. To keep it clean and well-documented, developers must put in some effort.
- ❌ It can be a target for data breach and loss, a downside of collaboration with other developers as some may inadvertently leave sensitive data in their code, such as API keys, access tokens, and encryption keys.
There you go – our best Android app development tools that can do wonders in the life of an Android developer.
There are hundreds of tools out there that make Android app development more accessible for beginners and veterans alike.
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This article has been reviewed by one of our Android app developers, Arthur Limchiu.
Maria Krisette Lim is a Content Marketing Specialist at Appetiser Apps. She has more than 12 years experience in producing content on the web and print ads. Krisette has a BSBA degree major in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. When she's not tinkering with words and punctuation, she's either curled up with a book while sipping hot tea, playing with her toddler or tinkering website builders.
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