Understanding of development environments - Intellicore

Understanding of development environments

When it comes to developing mobile application development, there are several options available; the most suitable depends on your specific requirement. This document will cover the core enthronements for each operating system. In the mobile market, there are three big hitters when it comes to operating systems (OS) – iOS, Android and Windows 7. Each of these operating systems has a corresponding development environment.


Firstly, in order to develop applications for iOS with Xcode you must have access to a computer running Mac OSX

Xcode is the official development environment for iOS, you can download it here.

When it comes to developer tools, Apple's Xcode is up there with some of the best. Xcode allows users to develop applications for both OSX and iOS and includes the instruments analysis tool, iOS simulator and the latest Mac OS X and iOS SDKs. The Xcode interface is incredibly easy to navigate and use and includes several helpful features:

  • Single Window – All development tasks in Xcode are consolidated into a single view. The Xcode 4 work area has several unique UI elements that make it easy to work on many different tasks (even multiple projects) without cluttering your work area. The editor is always front and center.
  • Built-in Interface Builder - Interface Builder has been completely integrated within the Xcode IDE, this allows the user to easily build and hook-up their interfaces to their code which saves a lot of time spent writing boiler plate code.
  • Automatic Error Fixing - Beyond just reporting errors, the IDE is intelligent enough to fix errors for you. In many cases Xcode will not only report an error, it will present a solution as well. By clicking the error to see the available fix-its, such as correcting an assignment to a comparison, repairing a misspelled symbol, or appending a missing semicolon. A single keyboard shortcut will instantly have the error repaired, and let you continue coding.

For more information see: https://developer.apple.com/technologies/tools/whats-new.html

For a new mobile developer, Xcode is extremely helpful. However, it only allows users to develop for Apple devices.

Eclipse (with Android Developer Tools)

As a developer, when it comes to developing applications for Android you have several options (see this stack overflow question for more details: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1715697/what-is-the-best-ide-to-develop-android-apps-in

However, in this article I'm going to focus on Eclipse – specifically the Android Developer Tools (ADT) plugin.

Developing Android applications using Eclipse can be very useful, especially for developers who are already used to Eclipse.

Integrated Android Project Building, Creation, Installation, Packaging, and Debugging

ADT integrates many development workflow tasks into Eclipse, making it simple for developers to rapidly create and test Android applications.

SDK Tools Integration

Many of the SDK tools are integrated into Eclipse's menus, perspectives or as a part of background processes ran by ADT.

Java and XML Editors

The Java editor contains common IDE features such as compile time syntax checking, auto-completion, and integrated documentation for the Android framework APIs. ADT also provides custom XML editors that let developers edit Android-specific XML files in a form-based UI. A GUI lets you design user interfaces with a drag and drop interface – much like Xcode.

Integrated Documentation for Android Framework APIs

Developers can access documentation by hovering the mouse over classes, methods, or variables.

For more information see: http://developer.android.com/tools/help/adt.html

Visual Studio (with Windows Phone SDK)

  • Firstly, in order to develop applications for Windows phones you must have access to a computer running Windows 8.

Developing applications for Windows phones is done through Microsoft Visual Studio 2012. As a developer you can either opt for the free Express Edition that comes bundled with Windows Phone SDK 8.0, or you can use one of the high-end Visual Studio environments (Professional, Premium or Ultimate) and use Windows Phone SDK 8.0 as a plugin.

The Windows Phone SDK comes with a whole host of features:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone – Allows developers to easily design, develop, build and debug their Windows Phone apps, taking advantage of the familiar Visual Studio environment. If developers already have a non-Express Edition of Visual Studio 2012, the Windows Phone 8 Add-in for Visual Studio lets developers develop apps alongside other Windows projects.
  • Windows Phone Emulators – The SDK includes Windows Phone 8 Emulators in 3 screen sizes (WVGA, WXGA and 720p) with 1GB RAM and an additional 512MB RAM version of WVGA for validating your Windows Phone 8 apps on different targets.
  • Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone – Blend is a professional designer tool for building UIs for Windows Phone apps and is included as part of the SDK.
  • XNA Game Studio – Enables developers to develop XNA Windows Phone games.

For more information see: http://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us

In conclusion...

As a mobile application developer, I would recommend taking a look at all the development environments mentioned above before looking any cross-platform development tools (to be discussed in my next article).

The reason for this is because I believe the above IDEs will help you gain a more thorough understanding of their corresponding platform, and a thorough understanding of each platform is essential to good application development.