New Android SDK Tools and ADT Revision 17

Android with Screwdriver and Spanner InlaidThe Android Developers blog just announced an update for the Android SDK Tools and ADB. This new release, version 17, brings many improvements to the build process. Here are some of my favourite new features:

  • Added check for Android API calls that require a version of Android higher than the minimum supported version. This will save you from having to test your app on Android 1.6 for example, only to have it fail due to an API call that was introduced in Android 2.1
  • Added a feature that allows you to run some code only in debug mode. Builds now generate a class called BuildConfig containing a DEBUG constant that is automatically set according to your build type. You can check the (BuildConfig.DEBUG) constant in your code to run debug-only functions such as outputting debug logs.
  • Added feature to automatically setup JAR dependencies. Any .jar files in the /libs folder are added to the build configuration (similar to how the Ant build system works). Also, .jar files needed by library projects are also automatically added to projects that depend on those library projects.
  • Updated the resource chooser to show the resolved value for resources. For example, when selecting @string/hello the chooser displays a resolved value such as “Hello World”). The resource chooser also now allows you to edit the chosen value directly.

There are plenty more changes to be found in the SDK Release Notes and ADT Release Notes. The Android Emulator can now run x86 system images at native speed, thanks to contributions from Intel. Lint has also received a major upgrade, with 40 new rules checking for performance and code issues.

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AIDE – Develop Android Apps on Android

Android Java IDE (mobile Eclipse)

During the past month or so, I’ve been testing a number of different apps on my Asus Transformer Prime tablet. The landscape form factor, coupled with a built-in keyboard make the Transformer a very different beast to most other Android devices.

While I’ve found the device great for gaming, basic productivity and email applications, I still needed my desktop for one important task – developing Android apps. Eclipse doesn’t run on Android, and for a long time there was no suitable Java IDE which could compile Android apps natively on the ARM architecture.

Along comes AIDE.

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Hijack any Facebook account with Faceniff – Firesheep for Android

A hacker called Bartosz Ponurkiewicz has released a simple Android app called Faceniff (Facebook + Sniff), which allows you to hijack the Facebook profile of anyone on same wireless network as you. Think Firesheep, but running on something you can slip in your pocket and carry anywhere. Oh, and it’s “for educational use only”  😉 Understand?

The interesting thing about Faceniff is that it works with WPA2-PSK encrypted networks (as well as the lower grade WAP protocol). So it doesn’t matter how strong your wireless encryption is, it’s still susceptible to inside attacks. All you need is a rooted Android phone with Faceniff installed.

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Android Asset Studio – Generate Icons for your Android App

I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful tool which I’ve been using recently for packaging all my Android apps. It’s called the Android Asset Studio, and contains a variety of tools you can use to generate icons for your Android app. If you’re looking for an easy way to generate professional looking launcher icons, or simply trying to resize your company logo to fit the Android notification tray, look no further. This handy little website is the perfect tool for all your Android icon needs.

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