back to article Just like a real computer: Android gets Android IDE

Android developers can now hack code on the move with the beta release of AIDE, the Android developer kit which runs on an Android device to create Android applications. AIDE is at beta version 7, but already allows the editing and compiling of apps, as well as automatic error checking (and fixing) and LogCat visibility. The …


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  1. david 63

    This could be the tipping point...

    ...that means I have the argument for investing in a keyboard for my tablet.


    1. DanDanDan

      Re: This could be the tipping point...

      So what you want is a netbook?

      I still fail to understand why anyone would choose a fondleslab over a netbook.

      1. Steve Ives

        Re: This could be the tipping point...

        Get your netbook out and surf/read/email/play stanging up on a train...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This could be the tipping point...

          If you have room to stand up and flop your fondleslab about, you have room to sit down on the floor and use a netbook.

        2. JEDIDIAH

          Re: This could be the tipping point...

          Whipping out your tokens of conspicuous consumption on mass transit is asking to be mugged. Not that standing with a tablet is much better than standing with a netbook anyways. Then there's the whole issue of SPACE during rush hour. Anything you have room to use will likely be an inferior experience.

          1. Gordon 10

            Re: This could be the tipping point...

            You don't get out much do you? I cant speak for any other transits but the tube at or near rush hour is probably one of the safest places to whip out your slab - if only because you have the safety of the herd. On my usual train the split is 15% iPads, 20% kindles

            , 10% lairy Bose headphones and 55% metro readers.

      2. crashtest

        Re: This could be the tipping point...

        Battery life for one, touch screen, less complicated maintenance, faster to boot/shutdown and the list goes on. They're gadgets that you can either use every day or not at all; very little middle ground, if any.

        1. toadwarrior

          Re: This could be the tipping point...

          A lot of those points are due to MS effectively killing the netbook market.

          Aside from the touchscreen aspect most of those things apply to a macbook pro which has an excellent boot time, awesome battery life, solid build quality and minimal maintenance.

          I'd say most of those things also apply to my asus eee (with SSD) with xubuntu on it.

      3. Some Beggar

        Re: This could be the tipping point...

        And I struggle to understand why anybody would choose a netbook over a fondleslab now that they're equipped with relatively meaty processors and grown-up applications/OSs.

        It's almost as if people have different tastes and needs.

        For most on-the-go applications, screen stroking is a better user experience than key poking. Particularly on the hobbit-size keyboards of a typical netbook.

      4. semprance

        Re: This could be the tipping point...

        Small experiment: 1) Rip keyboard off of your netbook. 2) Attempt to use netbook.

        Damn. And my tablet does it so well!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This could be the tipping point...

        Having made exactly that choice I agree with you. I spent 4x the cost of a netbook buying a shiny slab that is a complete pain in the arse to do anything practical on.

        It came with the keyboard, I still hate it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This could be the tipping point...

      It for Android not iPad, so no reason to get a keyboard as no one will use your app

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: This could be the tipping point...

      Or get an ASUS Transformer?

  2. g e


    I really want a decent IDE on Android, something like Netbeans (albeit cut down and not such a memory rapist).

    That would make a Transformer Infinity a serious consideration as a laptop replacement...

    1. Bill Cumming
      IT Angle

      Re: IDE

      You tried "terminal IDE"?

  3. Thomas 18
    Thumb Down

    "no business plan"

    There's the people that do the planning, then there's the people that do the doing.

    1. Craigness

      Re: "no business plan"

      If you fail to plan you plan to fail.

      ...or something

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: "no business plan"

        I don't think the OP was slagging off the planners. I think he was saying they are different roles, with difference skillsets.

        If that's what he is saying, then I agree.

        There are a lot of roles, many I'm not good at. Phone support, sales... there are reasons I don't do these things, but I don't badmouth those who do. If not for them, I wouldn't get a paycheck either!

  4. Cameron Colley

    I have an idea for a business plan.

    Why don't they say something like:

    "We plan to experiment with different models as we grow and learn what special value we can provide to the community to make their collective experience more engaging, exciting and useful."

    Seems to work for gimmicky photo-manipulation apps so it ought to work for this.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Following in Microsoft's footsteps

    This development only seems to conflate form factors that serve to completely different markets, an approach MS seems to have wholeheartedly embraced with Windows 8. I'm not convinced a hybrid is a sensible or practical idea, but time will tell.

    Wearing my developer's hat, I want all the bells and whistles on a computer. I don't use tablets much (just for watching the occasional movie) because I'm rarely separated from my laptop. The different forms all have an appeal that applies in a specific context, and I want them to be optimised for that experience, e.g. I want my phone to be small, lightweight, and no hassle, i.e. optimised for being mobile and communicating. I want my development environment to be powerful, fast, maxed out with ports, RAM, and hard drive space, big screen, and optimised for keyboard. It uses ruinous amounts of power (compared to the phone), but I need it. And I want to be able to simultaneously use multiple operating systems and development tools and be able to control every detail of the installation. And I don't want 'cute' graphics to get in the way or slow anything down.

    These requirements directly conflict in almost every way. An improvement for one is a drawback for the other. If you want Android as a development platform, just treat it as any other flavour of Linux and install it on a (full-blown) laptop. Hybridising forms just seems like a wasted effort.

    1. Irongut

      Re: Following in Microsoft's footsteps

      I definitely would not want to program an entire app on my phone but maybe on a tablet with a keyboard it would be useful for some hacking while travelling. Where this IDE could really shine though is debugging. Sometimes you just can't beat stepping thruouh the code on the device that's giving you problems.

    2. Norman Hartnell
      Thumb Up

      Re: Following in Microsoft's footsteps

      I think this IDE is a great development for Android precisely because it means you *don't* need a second device (like a high-powered laptop) to be able to develop Android apps. I don't know much Java, but I'll be dipping a toe in if it means I can develop apps for my tablet.

    3. phen

      Re: Following in Microsoft's footsteps

      I'm a developer... and a pacer. If I sit or stand in one place for any length of time the brain fog starts rolling in. A laptop doesn't fit my use case. No, a standing or treadmill desk doesn't help (much). I need the stops, turns and speed variability to really get my creative juices flowing.

      A good IDE on my tablet would (will!) be perfect!

      I'm sorry it won't work for you. I guess you could... umm... lets see... not use it?

  6. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Bring over the Native Development Kit so we can write programs in a nicer language like C, and you've got me sold. Especially if it ties in well with the Eclipse C IDE too.

    1. Stick

      Given that they've already got AAPT and the Dalvik toolchain working, hopefully it's only a matter of time! I imagine that there's a lot more dependencies with the NDK though; sh, gcc, make, etc.

  7. sebacoustic
    Thumb Up

    My Psion 3 not only has an IDE, it shipped with all the programming manuals. Cool stuff it was.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As did the amazing Psion MC 400 that was mentioned in the article. The only known screen-shots from one of these devices can be found here

  8. Stick
    Thumb Up

    Could be useful during my commute

    I've just had a go, and it's really cool! I've wanted something like this for ages.

    (And also annoying; I've been working on something similar but mine's in the really early stages.)

  9. Bush_rat
    Thumb Up

    I'm all for this, but yet 1 more thing that inexperienced android users should never have, for pain of bricking! But yeah, i always hoped i could do something like this with a jail broken IPod touch, but after needing to wipe it 3 times i gave up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You cannot brick your phone using this app unless you use it to write an application to brick your phone. Note, you'll be wanting to use this permission:

  10. Rich Woods

    This is fantastic news and makes me very happy.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A killer app for Android that will show why it exists. Android owners are always banging on about why it's better because it's open and now they can fix all of its shortcomings while on the move instead of waiting for other developers to fix it for them. Perhaps now the quality will rise to something close to IOS!

  12. RyokuMas


    I guess we'll see a further upsurge in virus production on the Android now that you don't need a desktop to code for them!

    1. Gordon Fecyk

      Virus writers, do your part!

      In these trying economic times, the anti-virus industry needs all the help it can get.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Oh you basts

    That's taken away one of my "I shouldn't buy a tablet yet as it can't do ..." items. *shakes fist*

    This'll be perfect for those moments when I want to go for a smoke but also have an idea on the go.

  14. Colin Millar

    Just what we need

    Loads of bug ridden crap written by amateurs.

    Oh well - it will all look right at home in the android app store.

    1. honkhonk34

      Re: Just what we need

      El Reg really should have a "NO INNOVATION ALLOWED!" picture tag.

      1. Colin Millar

        Re: Just what we need

        If you think anyone will "innovate" writing android apps you definitely havn't see the app store.

        1. Some Beggar

          Re: Just what we need

          Don't take this the wrong way or owt ... but did you mean to log in to Crochet Weekly rather than the Register? You seem terribly grumpy about technology.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just what we need

          Hypothesis: Android apps are bad. iPad apps are not. There is a massive overlap between apps available on Android and iPad. Therefore, iPad apps are...

          Oh sod it, I can't even be bothered with you..

          1. Colin Millar
            Thumb Down

            Ah - a fanboi

            I think android is amateur crap therfore I must be an iTard.

            I suppose I should stop being surprised at the complete inability of some commentards to avoid false logic.

        3. CarlC

          Oh I don't know, myself and a number of other hobby robotics developers are using Android to build some interesting stuff using things like IOIO and the Nao robot. May not have made it into the App Store but Android provides a really good platofrm for this type of stuff............

          Now I can tweak my robotics apps on the go - that is just really really useful.

    2. Some Beggar

      Re: Just what we need

      Why would they be any more amateurish and buggy simply because they're developed on the target itself? If anything, on-target development is generally more stable as it is more likely to be test-driven rather than hacked.

  15. sisk

    Developing on a tablet?

    Maybe on a Transformer, but on most tabs? No thanks. I'll keep Eclipse for that, thanks.

    Come on now, I can't be the only one who shudders at the thought of writing code on a virtual keyboard.

    1. Blitterbug

      Re: Developing on a tablet?

      Shudder at a virtual keyboard? Oh, I dunno... I bashed away (fnaar) on a Speccy for two years. *that* was pretty virtual. Not a keyboard at all, really... Seriously though, I find I am faster on capacitive screens than I would ever have believed possible. Used to sneer at the whole idea, a few years back. Then I tried it. And find it pretty usable, even when needing to capture lengthy text and numeric sequences accurately in the field, with all the shifting into and out of numbers, symbols and so forth.

  16. Christian Berger

    Good step, but not quite there yet

    The reason why people (who like Unix) like Unix is that your normal interface is just as powerful as a programming language, but quite easy to learn and you can easily access virtually any program already written for Unix by using pipes.

    The next logical step would be a "graphical shell" which has things as powerful as pipes and loops. How would that look like? I have no idea. Maybe it would be something like "GRAIL" a pen based programming environment from the 1970s. This might then be the "tipping point".

    Having a compiler for your platform on your platform is just sensible. That way you can install software from source.

    1. sisk

      Re: Good step, but not quite there yet

      "The next logical step would be a "graphical shell" which has things as powerful as pipes and loops."


      Actually, I think there's more than one, but this is the one I have on my phone and tablet. Not that I ever use it. If I need something like that it's easier to plug into a PC and use adb shell so that I have a regular keyboard.

  17. Jolyon Smith
    Thumb Up

    You only need a business plan if you plan to be in business

    If you are just doing something because you want to do it and enjoy doing it, then you don't need a business plan.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Haven't been able to run a compiler on a handheld since I stopped using my Palm m500 with OnBoard C. This might just convince me to ditch my netbook.

  19. Andrew Moore

    "your correspondent developed commercial software on a ... Psion MC400"

    You have my sympathies. The OPL on the MC400 was a cut down version that didn't do justive to its former glory.

  20. heyrick Silver badge


    Can anybody recommend a good "I've installed the IDE...the hell do I do now?" guide?

    1. scarshapedstar

      Re: Guide?

  21. Mr Happy :)

    Ok for Kids :)

    If your a professional dev then you require serious power lots of ram/larges screen/ mouse or pad. My dev kit is a 27 inch iMac maxed out developing for Android, iOS. BlackBerry and windows phone. A tablet even with keyboard won't hack it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gotta love the knee jerk MS bashing

    ...I'm not really sure how anyone can consider using a device powered by Google code after their stunt this month. But then the whole thing has been a storm to watch.

    "NO, no I don't want ID cards, covert/overt snooping of my private life."

    "YES, give me a shiny shiny with GPS tracking.

    You want my contacts, text messages, photos and call log?

    Your going to let it act as a replacement for money?

    You want me to fund the project at profitable levels for all involved?

    weeeeell, normally I wouldn't let my nearest relative have that much info but, okay, if you say it's dual core with a nice screen and more shiny shiny than everyone else's."

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