Today, Android is perceived as the best mobile operating system by many developers. It is easy to understand them: Android is highly customizable, supported by a large community, and most smartphones operate on it. Despite the popularity, there are no signs the demand for Android apps will decrease in the future.
As a result, the demand for using different Android IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) for mobile app development is similarly high. Fortunately, there are tons of tools and platforms available in the market that can help you build incredible mobile apps for Android.
An IDE is an application suite comprised of basic tools that help software developers get the work done consistently and quickly throughout the software development life cycle. Every IDE is a framework that enables developers to build, run, and test applications on mobile devices running Android. The design of IDEs also enables a very comfortable and effective workflow for developers.
New Android IDEs continue to emerge, and the old ones evolve. In other words, there are many IDEs to choose from. To help you choose the right one quicker, we have put together a list of the best integrated development environments for Android devices.
Best Mobile IDEs for Android Development
For our list, we picked the 13 best IDEs, from the cream of the crops to IDEs for game development.
IDE for Android — AIDE
Arguably the most popular mobile IDE for programming in Java and C++, AIDE is a huge coding suite aimed at programmers of all levels. It allows to create C/C++ NDK and Java/XML apps for Android, as well as pure Java console applications. When you try this IDE, it really gives you a feeling that you could develop mobile apps only with your phone or tablet.
Aspiring newcomers can purchase interactive step-by-step courses that include Java programming, Android development, game development, and even creating apps for Android Wear-based devices. It should be mentioned that the IDE has an exceptionally user-friendly UI, so you can grasp what is has to offer really quickly. It is easy to create a new project or switch between existing ones. Also, when creating a new project, you could easily download source code from a remote repository or just create a new repository for future collaboration right inside a project.
Another nice-to-have feature is the ability to connect a Bluetooth keyboard, you can even bind hotkeys to main functions inside the IDE. The code editor itself has smart syntax highlighting and you can scale the window to change the amount of code that you’re able to see at once.
Sporting clean material design interface, AIDE offers real-time error analysis as you type, and automatic quick-fixes for simple errors, like auto-implementing methods or fixing imports. Navigation inside a project is very easy, and you can watch not only code structure but also debug information like Logcat logs.
The only downside of this IDE is that it doesn’t give you the ability to set breakpoints and debug your app.
However, even basic free version provides almost all the main features, allowing you to develop on a mobile device. From all the IDEs described in this article, this one is the most suitable for Android development.
One of the premium features that should be mentioned is a tool that allows you to create user interfaces for your application right inside IDE. You could change how you app looks like and see the changes without immediately launching the app. Premium features could be bought as separate functions or by subscription.
IDE for Android — DroidScript
Additionally, DroidScript users can make the most of a browser-based IDE, which allows for establishing a connection between a PC and mobile device so you can use a full-size keyboard and a big screen while running the code on your Android device.
The application includes plenty of documentation and a lot of examples of simple apps, which you could combine to write your own. Finally, writing code in your browser window is just fun. However, it is also the main disadvantage of this IDE: you need to open an additional application to code and switch between them every once in a while. It goes without saying that the browser itself doesn’t give you a lot of features, for example code completion or automatic error fixing. From our experience with this IDE, we would rather say that it is more like a good text editor, giving you the ability to run your .apk immediately.
IDE for Android — CppDroid
As the name implies, CppDroid is an IDE for C/C++ development. It offers a full set of tools and features for experienced developers, as well as examples and tutorials for those learning the art of coding.
When you launch CppDroid for the first time, the IDE will download all needed libraries and create a simple HelloWorld application.
CppDroid has a highly customizable code editor with smart syntax highlighting, themes, auto indentation, and auto pairing. Its features can be further extended with add-ons, which include a lot of application examples, programming tutorials, and even lessons for beginners (although these are available in the premium version).
You can also watch compile errors and warnings in special windows. On top of that, the IDE automatically fixes simple code style warnings. You can also set specific compile and link options for each project setting.
It should be mentioned that this IDE is a bit unstable, however it still gives you an opportunity to create fully-featured C/C++ applications with your mobile device.
IDE for Android — Android Web Developer (AWD)
AWD also allows you to access local files and folders as well as open and edit code remotely using FTP, FTPS, SFTP, and WebDAV.
The IDE’s developer markets the product as a great tool for those who want to learn web development, and promises to include new features in future releases.
Unfortunately, all the best features of this IDE are hidden behind the paywall. Still, when you unlock them, you get amazing functionality. You can get the ability to clone projects from the Git repository, auto format code structure, and use your Bluetooth keyboard with hotkeys.
Taking into account that today’s phones and tablets are more powerful than an average desktop computer was ten years ago, it is no wonder that any mobile device can run a full-scale software development kit. If you are going to code hard on a mobile gadget, you also need to consider ordering a Bluetooth keyboard. Getting one of the apps we suggested and paying under $20 for a keypad can really boost your productivity even on a small screen.
IDE for Android — Python Suite
Python is a popular high-level programming language that is mainly used for app development and projects that use artificial intelligence (AI). The core features of Python IDE include debugging support, syntax highlighting, and auto code formatting. Python offers other IDEs for development of high-quality apps, Pycharm and Spyder being the most popular as they offer plenty of advantages for developers.
IDE for Android — Java Suite
Java is a general-purpose programming language whose developers need an IDE to deal with difficult parts of writing Java code and using frameworks for Android app development. Some of the popular Java IDEs are Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJ IDE. All of them help to code and debug software written in Java easily. Regardless of what tool you choose, all this Java IDEs offer powerful tools for building and testing Android applications.
IDE for Android — Eclipse
Eclipse is a free open-source IDE that is used for building applications in Java and other programming languages. It is the second most popular IDE in the world. It has a vast support community and numerous plugins and configurations available. This Android IDE is used for creating comprehensive Android applications, IDEs, and other tools. It is highly customizable and can be used for any programming language for which the plugin is available. Eclipse is one of the best Java IDEs as it provides developers with a powerful and rich-featured tool for development of advanced Android apps.
IDE for Android — Arduino
Arduino IDE is an open-source platform that runs on Java, with built-in functionalities that make editing, debugging, and compiling code in the environment easier. It is available for different kinds of operating systems, including Android, and makes the code compilation extremely easy — Arduino is incredibly newcomer-friendly.
IDE for Android — Visual Studio
Visual Studio, or simply VS, is a Microsoft’s integrated development environment that is often regarded as a top IDE for Android app development. In the past, it wasn’t the first choice for Android development; however, in the recent years, everything changed: Visual Studio was integrated with Xamarin. Equipped with robust tools for swift coding, this IDE enables developers not only to develop eye-pleasing mobile apps but also test different functions. VS also gives analytical data to developers, helping them to boost app speed perform bug fixes quickly. With Visual Studio, software developers can build efficient and error-free apps with great UXs.
IDE for Android — Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine (UE) is an advanced IDE for Android game development that serves as a solution for the complexities of building high-level interactive games. This is a free and open-source tool, very popular among game developers due to its Blueprint System, allows to achieve more with less code. If you are new to Android game development, then this is the right option for you. Unreal Engine is relatively easy to grasp and user-friendly in general. It has also been around for years, so finding solutions and workarounds online will take little time. UE’s other features include a user-friendly interface and the ability to test your app thoroughly.
IDE for Android — Android Studio
The official IDE for Android, Android Studio is a software suite built by Google that has everything that will help you develop a solid Android app. It is known as the world’s third most famous IDE and is capable of accelerating the development process without sacrificing quality.
This IDE is ideal for those new to programming as it has app-building tutorials that help to grasp mobile and enterprise software development. Some of the features that make Android Studio a top integrated development environment are its flexible build system, real-time analyzer, intuitive visual layout, and smart code editor.
IDE for Android — Corona
Corona is a highly popular coding tool among software developers, and a top Android development IDE. From writing programs to deploying mobile apps, it ensures that coders have an issue-free mobile app development. Corona enables software engineers to develop adaptive and responsive apps, and developers also use this IDE for testing and making changes to the app after the release. Moreover, it is known for its well-maintained documentation and active support community. It also features previewing capabilities with which developers can see how the app looks like after changes have been made. What’s more, Corona enables programmers to test the final version and fix issues quickly and effectively.
IDE for Android — PhoneGap
Supported by Apache and Adobe, Phonegap is a widely-used IDE for Android app development. It helps programmers to build highly interactive mobile apps and allows them to see changes on their connected mobile devices instantly. It is an open-source integrated development environment that provides faster debugging and cycle building. Other useful features of Phonegap include third party software tools, a highly active support community, and a vast plugin library.
Which Is The Best IDE For Android App Development?
There are many mobile IDEs available in the market and we have outlined the very best of them to help you build engaging Android apps. Each mobile developer has personal preferences as to what IDE to use in a given project. This means that you may choose to work in other IDEs overtime after abandoning the one you started with. That is a common scenario. Different projects have different challenges, and there is no universal IDE. So, choosing the right IDE takes time and some effort.
As the demand for Android app development has been increasing, the collection of Android IDEs that helps the developers save time while developing high-performing apps will continue to grow as well. We hope that the list of the best mobile IDEs for Android we have shared will help you excel and boost your productivity after you find the best IDE for yourself.
In case you want to learn more about mobile app development and how your team can start benefiting from it today, don't hesitate to contact our experts and find out more.