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26 posts

Geek


Topic # 223290 22-Sep-2017 14:01
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I would like to learn how to write mobile apps. I have a windows laptop, Android phone and Android tablet.

 

What software or applications do I need to install?

 

What is the easiest tool for a beginner to use to write Android apps?

 

 

 

 


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726 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1871109 22-Sep-2017 16:14
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I've just been on a similar voyage of discovery. Here are some of the things I've learned/ can recommend.

I don't know how much you know already, but I'll assume basically nothing, like me.

Android and iOS apps are written in different languages, as different as English and French. In other words there are similarities, but not enough that you can just pick it up.

I was paralysed with choosing between the coding languages for a long time, before I started with Java, as it seemed the closest relation to Dalvik which is the language of Android.


Java is SO HARD. I hadn't done any coding since I was about 14 at school, on a Commodore Pet in 1979. But even that's way more than the general population. I did the Java Tutorial free online course by Sololearn on my iPad. There are plenty of other free courses. It would be easier learning in a group, or from a real person, because often something doesn't work, and you cannot figure out what is wrong. It's usually some goddam curly brackets missing, or a capital letter in the wrong place. I passed the course, but to be honest, a lot of the time I had no idea what I was doing. I'm no thicko, but it was a very dispiriting experience.

I don't think any other the other main languages are any easier

My recommendation is to start with HTML, the language of websites. According to the snobs, HTML isn't a proper coding language. That doesn't matter. It's easy to learn, it's useful. You get practice in spotting your mistakes, and you can do fun things straight away.
Again, there are lots of free courses, but I recommend the W3schools courses. They also seem to be the go-to place for the correct way of doing things.
Running on from HTML you start CSS. CSS splits off the formatting of your webpage from the content into a single file. It's a step up from HTML, and a step closer to 'real' coding.
Once you know these two languages you can make proper websites, and you will be starting to hear more about JavaScript in the W3Schools course. JS really is a proper coding language, and you can do way more with it.
You may ask why not go straight to JS? I don't know if you physically can, but every course I found said you need to do HTML and CSS first.

Anyway, back to apps:

There is a brilliant service called Phonegap. You upload your folder of HTML, CSS and JS files (that you've learned to write) to the phonegap site, and it will spit out apps for iOS, Android and Windows phone*. It does this by wrapping them into bundles with the correct formatting for each device. You don't have to learn any Xcode or Dalvik.

*There is a bit more too it, but for clarity that's basically it.





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1871118 22-Sep-2017 16:24
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You DON'T need a fancy computer, and it doesn't matter if its pc or mac. The screen needs to be big enough that you can see a decent amount of code at a time. I'm using my daughter's old laptop that she took to uni in 2009.

I wasted loads of time downloading lots of different software, and got more and more confused, and my laptop got more and more clogged up.

The only thing you need is a user friendly text editor, for writing your code. To display it, it just comes up in a browser. Chrome seems to be the preferred browser.


Notepad will work, but you want something that will number the lines for you, colour code the different bits, and show the different files down the side.

There are lots of different ones, and again it's easy to be paralysed by choice. I recommend Netbeans.




HTPC: Antec NSK2480B case, AMD A4-5300 CPU, Asus F2A85-M LE mobo, WD Caviar Green 64Mb 2TB HDD, HD Homerun, Win7 Home Premium, RAM 1600Mhz 4Gb.
iPad air 2


 
 
 
 


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1871149 22-Sep-2017 17:18
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You may want to check out Visual Studio Community edition.




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Geek
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  Reply # 1871169 22-Sep-2017 18:30
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Android studio is de facto IDE these days.

https://developer.android.com/studio/index.html

There are two type of app development - native and non-native. Native apps are written mainly in Java. Non-native are written in JavaScript and run in some kind of a container (phonegap/Cordova for example)

There are ton of information / tutorials online here is official one:

https://developer.android.com/guide/components/fundamentals.html

To start coding a native app you need to understand how platform works.

If you want to try non-native apps development have a look at

https://www.sencha.com/products/touch/
or
http://ionicframework.com/docs/v1/guide/

To code in JavaScript you don't need Android studio, any text editor would work, though IDE would make it much easier



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  Reply # 1871186 22-Sep-2017 19:53
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If you don't know how to code already then I'd take a look here.

https://www.b4x.com/b4a.html

They also have a iOS version that you can use on windows - no Mac required.

The trial/demo is probably enough to give you an idea of which direction you want to proceed.


IcI

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1871216 22-Sep-2017 21:11
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You can also listen to the CodeNewbie podcast

 

Edit: Inserted link




26 posts

Geek


  Reply # 1872581 25-Sep-2017 16:23
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Thanks for the great info. I'll explore the suggestions.


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  Reply # 1872846 26-Sep-2017 07:51
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tchart: If you don't know how to code already then I'd take a look here.

https://www.b4x.com/b4a.html

They also have a iOS version that you can use on windows - no Mac required.

The trial/demo is probably enough to give you an idea of which direction you want to proceed.

 

I second B4X, especially if you have any Visual Basic experience.


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  Reply # 1873071 26-Sep-2017 14:09
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MurrayM:

tchart: If you don't know how to code already then I'd take a look here.

https://www.b4x.com/b4a.html

They also have a iOS version that you can use on windows - no Mac required.

The trial/demo is probably enough to give you an idea of which direction you want to proceed.


I second B4X, especially if you have any Visual Basic experience.



Good to know that I'm not alone!

While I do prefer basic style languages I have picked up Java as a result of b4x which is great. So I use a combination of Java libraries and b4x - works great.

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