Android Development Frameworks – Getting to Know Eclipse

Android is one of the most popular mobile operating systems in the world, and it has become the platform of choice for many developers who want to create innovative and engaging applications for smartphones and tablets. To develop Android applications, developers need to use specific tools and frameworks, and one of the most widely used development environments for Android is Eclipse.

Eclipse is an open-source Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that provides a comprehensive set of tools and features for developing software applications. It was originally designed for Java development but has since been extended to support other programming languages, including Android.

In this article, we'll look closer at Eclipse and explore its features, benefits, and how it can be used for Android development.

What is Eclipse?

Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment with an IDE and an extensible plug-in system. It is primarily written in Java and can be used to develop applications in various programming languages, including Java, C/C++, Python, and others.

IBM initially developed Eclipse in 2001 and later became an open-source project supported by the Eclipse Foundation. It has since grown into a widely adopted IDE used by developers worldwide.

Features of Eclipse

Eclipse offers a wide range of features that make it a powerful and versatile development environment. Here are some of the key features of Eclipse:

  1. Integrated Development Environment (IDE): Eclipse provides a comprehensive IDE that includes a code editor, compiler, debugger, and other tools needed for software development.
  2. Extensible Plug-in Architecture: Eclipse has an extensible plug-in architecture that allows developers to add new functionality to the IDE through third-party plugins or by creating their own custom plugins.
  3. Multi-language Support: While Eclipse was initially designed for Java development, it now supports various programming languages, including C/C++, Python, PHP, and more.
  4. Code Editing: Eclipse offers advanced code editing features, such as syntax highlighting, code folding, code completion, and refactoring tools.
  5. Debugging Tools: Eclipse includes powerful debugging tools that allow developers to step through code, set breakpoints, and inspect variables during program execution.
  6. Version Control Integration: Eclipse supports integration with various version control systems, such as Git, Subversion, and Mercurial, making it easier to manage and collaborate on code repositories.
  7. Build Automation: Eclipse supports build automation tools like Apache Ant and Apache Maven, which can help streamline the build process and ensure consistent builds across different environments.
  8. Testing Framework Integration: Eclipse provides integration with various testing frameworks, such as JUnit for Java and PyUnit for Python, enabling developers to write and run unit tests more efficiently.

Using Eclipse for Android Development

While Eclipse can be used to develop applications in various programming languages, it is particularly well-suited for Android development. Eclipse provides the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin, which adds specific features and tools for building Android applications.

Here are some of the key features and benefits of using Eclipse for Android development:

  1. Android Project Management: Eclipse makes it easy to create, manage, and build Android projects. It provides wizards and templates to help set up new projects quickly.
  2. Android Virtual Device (AVD) Manager: Eclipse includes an AVD Manager that allows developers to create and manage virtual Android devices for testing and debugging purposes.
  3. Android Emulator: The Android Emulator is a virtual environment that simulates an actual Android device, enabling developers to test their applications without needing a physical device.
  4. Android Debug Bridge (ADB): Eclipse integrates with the Android Debug Bridge (ADB), which is a command-line tool that allows developers to communicate with and control Android devices or emulators.
  5. DDMS (Dalvik Debug Monitor Server): The Dalvik Debug Monitor Server (DDMS) is a debugging tool included in Eclipse that provides a graphical user interface for debugging Android applications.
  6. LogCat: LogCat is a logging system that allows developers to view and analyze log messages generated by their Android applications, making it easier to diagnose and fix issues.
  7. Hierarchical View and Layout Editor: Eclipse provides a hierarchical view and layout editor for designing and creating user interfaces for Android applications.
  8. Integration with Android SDK and NDK: Eclipse can be easily integrated with the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and Native Development Kit (NDK), providing access to the tools and libraries needed for Android development.

Getting Started with Eclipse for Android Development

To get started with Eclipse for Android development, you'll need to follow these steps:

  1. Install Java Development Kit (JDK): Since Android applications are primarily written in Java, you'll need to have the Java Development Kit (JDK) installed on your system.
  2. Download and Install Eclipse: Visit the official Eclipse website ( and download the version of Eclipse suitable for your operating system.
  3. Install Android Development Tools (ADT) Plugin: After installing Eclipse, you'll need to install the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin. This can be done by opening Eclipse and navigating to Help > Install New Software.
  4. Set up Android SDK: Download and install the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) from the official Android Developer website ( After installation, you'll need to configure Eclipse to point to the SDK location.
  5. Create an Android Virtual Device (AVD): Use the AVD Manager in Eclipse to create a virtual Android device for testing and debugging purposes.
  6. Start Coding: Once you've completed the setup, you can start creating new Android projects in Eclipse and begin coding your applications.

Alternatives to Eclipse for Android Development

While Eclipse is a popular choice for Android development, it's not the only option available. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  1. Android Studio: Android Studio is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Android app development, created by Google. It is based on the IntelliJ IDEA IDE and provides a more streamlined and optimized experience for Android development.
  2. IntelliJ IDEA: IntelliJ IDEA is a powerful IDE developed by JetBrains. While not specifically designed for Android development, it offers excellent Java support and can be used for Android development with the appropriate plugins.
  3. Visual Studio Code: Visual Studio Code is a lightweight and versatile code editor from Microsoft. While not an IDE in the traditional sense, it can be extended with plugins and extensions to support Android development.
  4. NetBeans: NetBeans is another open-source IDE that can be used for Android development with the appropriate plugins installed.


Eclipse is a powerful and versatile Integrated Development Environment that offers a comprehensive set of tools and features for developing software applications, including Android applications. With its extensive support for Android development through the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin, Eclipse provides a robust environment for creating, debugging, and testing Android applications.

While Eclipse has been a popular choice for Android development, there are alternative IDEs and tools available, such as Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, Visual Studio Code, and NetBeans. Ultimately, the choice of development environment will depend on personal preferences, project requirements, and the specific features and tools needed for your Android development workflow.

Whether you choose Eclipse or another IDE, learning and mastering the tools and frameworks used for Android development is crucial for creating high-quality, feature-rich, and user-friendly applications that can compete in the ever-evolving mobile app marketplace.

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