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Create your own Android app – this is how it works

  • 21. November 2020
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The smartphone is a constant companion for most of us – so why not create your own Android app? We show you different ways how to program your own application and use it for example to present your company.

The project of your own Android app

Creating even a less complex app is still a lot of programming work. But thanks to the general spread and importance of apps and smartphones, a few ways to get results quickly have evolved – even without learning to program yourself.

It is difficult to write code without any previous knowledge – the only way to do this is to have a graphical user interface that independently writes the code behind it. On the net you can find a few modular systems where you can easily combine graphical elements to create your personal app.

The best providers include GoodBarber, Swiftic, AppYourself and Shoutem. The prices start at 20€ per month.
Once you have registered, you can start creating your app immediately. This works fast and easy for simple content like representative offices for a company.

Take a close look at the offer: Often suggested web apps are little more than a mobile website. Only native apps are real apps, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, for example. They have more functions, can be accessed offline and, if well implemented, appear more valuable.

Consider the costs and disadvantages: Even for a self-assembled app, modular providers may charge up to 500 euros. In addition, monthly costs for hosting may be incurred. However, you usually do not have your app completely at your disposal: Since the source code is often not visible, you cannot hand over the app to other experts.

In addition, the functionality of modular apps is reduced, which means you would have to hire a team of developers to customize the app to your needs. Or you can program the app from scratch as soon as you want to add special features to the app.

App Inventor – Lego bricks for Android programming

If you are more interested in Android development for personal reasons, the former Google project is more interesting and free. The “App Inventor” is a so-called “WYSIWYG-Editor” (“What you see is what you get”) similar to the online construction kits, which lets you assemble an Android app with graphical building blocks.

The use of the software requires the installation of Java, which you can also download here. You can install App Inventor on Windows, Mac or Linux. Then you will need a current browser and an Android phone or tablet, whereby an emulator is also suitable for testing the apps afterwards.

Following the Lego-Mindstorms principle, you can playfully design simple applications and dare to try out more and more complex apps. You will also find plenty of tutorials on the “App Inventor” homepage.

Develop Android apps with the languages of the web

If you already have experience in web design, Apache Cordova might be something for you. Because the app is programmed with HTML, CSS and Javascript under Cordova, the code can also be used on other platforms such as a website for stationary computers. This means that there is one code for several platforms. Cordova also offers the possibility to use apps offline.

Cordova runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and requires Node.js, Gradle, Java SDK 8 and Android Studio.
If you have got Node.js running, you can install Cordova with the tool npm on the command line. To install the other programs, follow the instructions in the documentation. Once the app is compiled, npm loads a local web server so you can view the app in your browser.

Programming yourself – The long way to your own Android app

If you have some previous knowledge, you can also try to build an app yourself. This will give you a real introduction to the subject. However, patience is required here: many hours will pass before you achieve satisfactory results when reading in, watching tutorials and trying things out.

Android apps are basically based on Java: So you first have to get familiar with this programming language. As a standard work for the introduction and accompaniment “Java is also an island” is recommended. Of course, you also need to download the “Java Development Environment”.

With this basic knowledge you can start with the actual Android programming in the “Android Studio”. You will also find numerous videos and texts for this.