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Build Android Application without Eclipse

Eclipse can be useful to build Android apps, specially the layout. So do not remove it yet.

I still prefer using VIM for development and if you like running everything in command line, this article is for you.

Download sample app

you can get our default android app (or what we can call a start app) on our GitHub account.

Create the build.xml

In order to use the command line compiler, you need to update the current project by adding the build.xml.

First, let's find out which target we have:

android list targets

To create the build.xml, simply run this command:

cd ~/path-of-my-android-project/
android update project --target 1 --path ./

This will create the following output:

No project name specified, using Activity name 'MainActivity'.
If you wish to change it, edit the first line of build.xml.
Added file ./build.xml
Updated file ./proguard-project.txt

Time to code!

Now that the build.xml is created, you can compile it.

Build the project

In order to build the project, you will need to use ant. This tool allows you to compile your project and create the .apk you need.

ant clean ; ant debug

This will output a lot of stuff. The most important thing is the last 2 lines. You should see something like this:

// ...


Total time: 3 seconds

This creates the bin/MainActivity-debug.apk. This is the application!

Run the application in the emulator

To run the emulator, you can simply run:

emulator @MyAndroid

The @MyAndroid will be the name of your android emulator. To see the list you can run: android avd

You can also use different configuration without alter or creating multiple instance of your emulator.

emulator @MyAndroid -force-32bit -partition-size 1024 -no-audio -no-boot-anim -no-boot-anim -qemu -icount auto -cpu-delay 0


emulator @MyAndroid -no-boot-anim -qemu -icount auto -cpu-delay 0


emulator @MyAndroid -wipe-data

Install/Uninstall the App

Now let's install the app. From the root of your application folder.

Install the app

To install the app, simply run:

adb install bin/MainActivity-debug.apk

This should output:

1162 KB/s (44504 bytes in 0.037s)
	pkg: /data/local/tmp/MainActivity-debug.apk

Now you can open the application in emulator.

Uninstall the app

adb shell pm uninstall -k

This should output:


Debugging your app

Unless you are the absolute grand Jedi in Android Development, you will have errors at some point. The logcat is there to help you figure out what is wrong with your app if your application suddenly stopped or if something just does not work.

To see the log, simply run this command:

adb logcat