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Developing an Android Application

Updated on January 23, 2013

With the recent expansion of the Android platform caused by the

appearance of smartphones and tablets using this open source system, the

number of developers interested in developing applications for this platform has

increased exponentially. Since the Android platform is relatively new to the

market, there are not enough resources for developers who want to start with

Android applications. For the development of Android applications there are six

steps in order to make a successful application.



The first step is generating an idea that you want to transform into an

application for an Android driven device, like a smartphone, tablet or even some

desktop computers. The process of generating an idea is different for everyone

but in general it comes down to brainstorming as many ideas as possible and

selecting the best one you come up with [1]. The selection process can take a

long time and this is very well justified since this step is the most important one.

It is crucial that you thoroughly analyze each idea and iterate through this step as

many times as necessary in order to find an idea which is suitable and

manageable to implement. Most often you can come up with an idea on an

average day by realizing there is something you are missing on your device or

something you would like to have. Rough sketches and idea incubation are a

good way to filter and develop ideas further from the initial step[1].


The next step is to precisely define the functions and scope of the

application. This step is crucial to make sure that you don't do anything

unnecessary or waste resources intended for other segments of your application.

Often developers use an ad-hoc method where they just start developing which

causes them to take more work on themselves than they can manage and thus

never finish their application. Performance, functional and design aspects of the

application should be clearly defined in written form to serve as future reference

and description of the application. That description can then be used for new

team members to easily integrate into the project or to avoid mistakes later on.


The third step is to plan and prepare all the resources you will need.

Resources may include, but are not limited to: financial backing of the project,

developers, designers, project leaders and many others depending on the scope

and scale of the application. This has to be done in order to stay within the

bounds defined for the application and to prepare everything for development.

Once the logistics are set, you need to prepare the graphics, audio and any other

material you plan to use and will not develop on your own. This is where you

have to consider whether it is better to pay somebody to do all that preparation

work or produce everything in house. One is more professional and polished, but

it also often costs a lot more, and sometimes you need to make trade offs in both

aspects.


The fourth step is to start implementing the core of your application. This

is the step where you actually go from preparation to the realization of your

project. The core is supposed to provide all the functionality your application is

expected to offer. This includes handling all the user input you are expecting and

acting accordingly. All functional errors should be cleared out in this phase as

there is little sense in providing any other elements of the application if it is not

functioning as expected. You should use place holders for visual and audio

elements of your application intended just for testing until you move on to the next step.


The fifth step is assembling it all together. Once your application core is

functioning and running properly, you need to start implementing details about

how it should look, sound and interact with the user. Here the results of the

third and fourth steps are combined to form the full application. While it

may seem that the product is there at this stage, many more iterations need to

be done to refine everything before releasing the application to a wide audience.

Make sure everything fits and reiterate the last two steps if the outcome is not

satisfactory.


The final step is releasing the application. Most developers think that

publicizing the application means their work is done, but most of the work resides

in this last phase. Releasing an application has to include alpha and beta

testing. After that you have to release the application and promoting it. This

includes timing the release of the application, advertising and writing about it on

the internet to create a buzz around it, which is often required if you want your

application to be successful. Avoid beginning sentences with and And finally you

need to maintain and improve the application if any errors or problems arise or

there is a need to adapt the application to some request or need [2].


To sum up, development of an application starts with an idea. Once an

idea is set, you need to analyze all the requirements and prepare all the

resources needed to actually start developing. Developing a functional core of

the application is the next step, where you should make sure everything works

as intended. After a functioning application is made, you need to add all the

interactive, visual and audio elements to it. Releasing the application is the final

step and the longest lasting one since you have to provide support for the

application, develop it further and troubleshoot if any problems arise. Success is

a subjective term but almost every successful application has these steps in common.

References

[1] Douglas Graham and Thomas T. Bachmann, Ideation: The Birth and

Death of Ideas, New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2004

[2] “Application development life cycle: An overview” [online document],

Available: http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/zos/basics/index.jsp?topic=/com.ibm.zos.zappldev/zappldev_11.htm n.d. [December 12, 2012].

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