I’m a big fan of the command line. I spend most of my programming time in the Integrated Development Environment of
Vim. When I started dabbling in Android development, I feared I would be stuck in the IDE all the time, wrangling some binary file formats using graphical click-and-play tools, with little to no understanding of what goes behind the scenes. I was delighted to learn otherwise.
In order to build a “Hello world” project for Android, you need two text files. One will be an XML. The other - a Java source file. That’s it. Then you build and install that project on your phone with a single command.
I’m not here to sneer at a good IDE. Despite my fears, Android Studio is proving to be a very comfortable tool. As a newcomer to Android, I can see great value in the instant feedback, code completion and all the suggestions it provides. They make exploring the APIs this much easier. But an IDE, no matter how well thought out, can make us lazy. It can shield us from what it really means to place a button in the UI designer or what really happens when I press
Build. I think it’s beneficial to look behind the curtains from time to time.
Which is why I ventured to find the Absolutely minimal Android project.