Getting Started with Android Studio

Open up Android Studio. When you open the software for the first time, you should see a screen like this one:

Android Studio opening screen

When you create projects, they will appear in the white area on the left, ready to be quickly reopened. Since you haven't created a project yet, click the link that says Start a new Android Studio project. When you click this link, you'll get the following dialogue box:

The New Project dialogue box

In the Application name area at the top, enter Hello Android World. (Some people have reported problems with white spaces in application names when running on an Android Virtual Device. It's been OK for us, though.)

Entering an Application Name

The Company Domain name can be changed to something a little more useful to you. The one in the image above says This will used as a package name (where all your files live). But note that the package name is reversed: com.example.ken. This is somewhat confusing, as it's not a domain name for the internet. So it's not a real web address. All you're doing here is settings up a unique namespace that points to where all your applications files live. In the image below, we've changed our Company Domain name:

Entering a Company Domain

You can type almost anything you like as the Company Domain, as long as your names are separated by dots.

The Project Location at the bottom is where you're saving your project to. We're saving this to the Documents folder, inside another folder called AndroidApps. Click the button on the right of the textbox, if you want to save your project elsewhere.

Click the Next button when you've filled in all the boxes above. The screen will then look like this:

The Target Android Devices screen

This screen is asking you to select where your app will be running: on a phone or tablet, on a wearable device, on a TV, on Android Auto, or Android Glass. We'll only be creating projects for phones or tables, so make sure that option is selected.

Have a look at the dropdown box for Minimum SDK. (SDK is short for Software Development Kit.)

Android API list

The list shows you all the various flavours of the Android operating system. What you're doing here is selecting the minimum version that you'd like to support. When you select a flavour, it will display what percentage of all Android users that you will be reaching. By selecting Ice Cream Sandwich, we'll be reaching 97.4 percent of all Android users.

Click the Help me choose link to see a breakdown of all the different Android flavours:

Android versions by market share

Take note of the API levels for each Android version. Ice Cream Sandwich is API level 15. The higher the API level the more features are added. So if you decide to develop for KitKat and later, API level 19 or greater, then testing on a phone that has an API level of 15 will cause you problems. Simple because Ice Cream Sandwich won't have those new features of API level 19. You'll see how to change API levels in your code. It's quite easy!

Click Next on your New Project dialogue box, though. The next screen is a list of the available projects templates:

Activity templates

We want Empty Activity. Select that one and click Next. You'll see this screen:

The Customize the Activity screen

Just leave the Activity Name and Layout Name on the defaults. But the Activity is the name of a Java file, and Layout is the name of an XML file. The XML file takes a reverse, lowercase version of the Activity Name.

Click Finish to create your first project. (It's a bit slow to load, though. Best to wait for any red lines to disappear before doing anything.)

In the next lesson, we'll take a look at the Android Studio IDE.

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