08
May
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Holy cow! If you write Android apps, you need to look over here right now. You've probably heard of AIDE, a complete development environment that runs on and builds for Android. While it was pretty impressive before, you won't believe what the appfour GmbH team has in store now. Just today, version 2.0 of the Android IDE was pushed to the Play Store with support for building native apps with C/C++, quick previews of XML layouts, and a cleaner and even more Holo-themed interface, along with major enhancements to Git.

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These days, it seems like everybody can create basic Java-based applications on any old Android device thanks to tools like Tasker App Factory or any number of IDEs and compilers; but nobody even mentions building high performance native apps and games. AIDE breaks that barrier with full support for the Standard Android NDK (Native Development Kit) toolchain and includes templates and samples for building Java that leverages JNI (Java Native Interface) or fully native C/C++ code. The website also includes a simple NDK Tutorial to get you started, which mentions downloading the NDK on the first occasion that it is needed.

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For the rest of us that build our interfaces using XML, the new Quick Preview feature gives us a live rendering of how our layouts will look on a device. Switching between Portrait and Landscape is supported, as is outlining views in red to help with solving positioning issues. Not only can we see our layouts, but tapping on an object will navigate directly to its definition in code.

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Overall, the look and feel of AIDE has gone through a pretty significant facelift with new icons, an even more Holo-like appearance, and the subtle addition of line numbers. Switching between files is much more fluid thanks to a new swipe gesture and tabbed interface. Tablets automatically see tabs, but phones can opt to turn them off to conserve space.

Last among the headlining features, but certainly not least: a major expansion to support for Git. The update brings the ability to automatically create repositories with new projects and perform create, merge, and delete operations on branches. Considering the original version of AIDE completely lacked any kind of source control, and then only gained minimal Git compatibility a while later, this is a really important step forward. Solid versioning capability was one of the last roadblocks for being able to effectively use AIDE in more serious projects where source control is a must.

Full changelog:

2.0.0

  • New: Support building native apps with C/C++
  • New: Quick preview of Xml layout designs
  • New: Swipe between open files and between tool windows
  • New: Editor tabs for open files (optional)
  • New: Line numbers in the editor
  • New: Git create, merge, delete branch
  • New: Create Git repository for new project
  • Improved: Auto import for nested classes (OnClickListener)
  • Improved: Code completion in Xml layout files
  • Improved: App template includes the Android support library
  • Improved: Holo look and feel

These were just the main improvements to the app, but the blog post and changelog go on to include better code completion for XML layouts, auto-import for nested classes, app templates that now include the Android Support Library, and quite a few bug fixes. The overhauled interface combined with improved Git support is enough to bring the IDE well beyond the simple standards of hobbyists. Kudos to the appfour GmbH team for a job well done, and I can't wait to see what else will be coming in the future.

Source: Android-IDE.com

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • http://twitter.com/mavispuford Blake

    It would be cool to find out that they are developing AIDE from within AIDE.

    • Hans Kratz

      Of course we do! We use both AIDE and Eclipse to develop AIDE.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Thanks for stopping by.

    • TheCraiggers

      Creating your own IDE/Compiler by using the same IDE/Compiler is pretty standard actually. I'd be disappointed if they weren't.

  • Kent Andersen

    Its very cool, and I have used it a couple of times....but if you want to do serious app development, its still not quite there...but getting closer!

  • roger

    I read that app doesn't include NDK. it will install a mobile version of the NDK when required.

    I'm curious how large this 'mobile' version of NDK when installed on device ?

    • Hans Kratz

      The AIDE NDK takes about 150MB of internal storage once installed.

      • Vinay N S

        Any chance you can make it as a optional download? (like we see in games)
        Also more importantly, any chance we can see Google App Enging support built into AIDE?

  • GraveUypo

    might be usable with a bluetooth mouse/keyboard + hdmi-out

  • Thomas Steinbrüchel

    Saw that the first time because of this article.

    Crazy stuff they are doing, keep it up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

    I love AIDE, it's such a crazy concept. Good to see we have C/C++ and NDK support now.

  • Dan

    This is a very cool app. No more hauling the laptop around just so you can do code edits.

    Artem: why is it that the AndroidPolice play store widget always lists the price wrong for apps? The $9.99 premium key shows up at the bottom of this review as $10.83. It's not a big deal, I'm just curious why it happens.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It's the Appbrain widget, not AP. I'm not sure why though, they probably use a different locale and then convert the price for some apps.

  • Colin Richardson

    AIDE used to be good. Then they started taking away features and it got worse and worse. So stopped updating to try and keep some features. I then stupidly turned on "Auto Update" on my play store and it eventually made AIDE so crippled writing apps on an Android Device was harder than writing it in Notepad. Same, it used to be cool.

    • Matthew Fry

      What features did they remove? I picked it up a few months ago but haven't started my hobby coding yet so I've only opened it up a couple times.

  • Matchstick

    The thing I miss most in AIDE is an integrated debugger but I know that's a practical impossibility so I just have to write code without bugs in it instead :)

    • Matthew Fry

      Good luck with that :-P

  • Maccin Az Lootchee

    Is it possible to build a game like gta using AIDE?

  • Krista

    Is there any way to get the Nook HD to install the apks that are created with AIDE without having to pull them off and sideload them?

  • jawalgulf

    OAwO I like this app

    we can shoe more android

    for site: http://www.jawalgulf.com/

    android and smart phone Arabic spiking