Using Eclipse, load the API Demos application as a New Android Project. To do this, select File | New | Project from the Eclipse menu bar; a New Android Project wizard opens. Do not worry about the options in this wizard for now. Simply select Create Project From Existing Source and browse to the folder with the API Demo application in it. When the project is loaded, choose Run to see it execute in the Android Emulator. Navigate your way through the more than 40 different applications. Use each application to become familiar with the terminology and function of each API tool it demonstrates.
The Hello, Activity! application, shown in the following illustration, is a simple Hello World!–style application. Though simple in its design, Hello, Activity! does a good job of showing off the abilities of the platform. You will create your own Hello World!–style applications soon.
Lunar Lander, shown next, is a small game that plays on the Android Emulator. Lunar Lander shows how a simple 2-D game works on Android. The controls are fairly simple, and the game is not very complex. However, given these drawbacks, it is a great starter for game development.
Lunar Lander implements a simple control scheme (Up, Down, Left, and Right). The game also displays relatively fluid graphics and looks impressive given the platform. Complex game theories such as collision detection are used in a simple way. Although this book does not cover programming games for the Android platform, if you are interested in doing so, you may want to look at Lunar Lander for some tips.
Note Pad, as shown in the illustration that follows, allows you to open, create, and edit small notes. Note Pad is not a full-featured word editor, so do not expect it to be something to rival Word for Windows Mobile. However, it does a good job as a demonstration tool to show what is possible with a relatively small amount of code.
Skeleton App, shown next, is an application shell. This is more of a base application that demonstrates a couple of different application features, such as fonts, buttons, images, and forms. If you are going to run Skeleton App by itself, you really are not going to get much out of it. You will be better served by referring to Skeleton App as a resource for how to implement specific items.
The final demo that is included with the Android SDK is Snake. This is a small, SNAFU-style game that is far more simplistic than Lunar Lander. This illustration shows what Snake looks like when run.
If you navigate to the base folder of each of the sample applications, you will see a folder named src. This is the source code folder for the given sample application. You can use this to view, edit, and recompile the code for any of the applications. Take advantage of this source code to learn some tricks and tips about the Android platform.