August 2011: Google’s install process for Android is still terrible

Following my own install-guide from Jan 2011 (because Google didn’t provide one at the time)…

  1. Google still doesn’t provide an install guide
  2. Eclipse is a *little* clearer on what to download – but only slightly
  3. Eclipse.app on Mac OS X is *still* broken
  4. ADT is still “hidden” by Google for no good reason (my install guide still works)
  5. Google still blocks you from downloading any “Android OS platform” (this is a core part of the SDK that is *not* included in the SDK – you need it to make Android apps)

(also, in passing, I updated the instructions to be a lot clearer / a bit more idiot-proof. I just used them to do a fresh install, and it went smoothly – with fewer problems than trying to use Google’s auto-installer)

EDIT: On the plus side:

  1. My install guide spared me waiting for an extra 0.5Gb of Android OS platforms to download (I was able to copy/paste them on the hard-drive, no extra install work needed. Just don’t use the installer!)
  2. ADT v 12 is noticeably more stable and better-integrated with the Android emulator – auto-starting smoothly where previous versions needed you to lead them through baby steps on first-run

Which means the key problem from a year ago still holds today:

Google is still effectively blocking you from using Source Control on Android projects

And they wonder why people still prefer the pain of working with Apple…

4 thoughts on “August 2011: Google’s install process for Android is still terrible

  1. adam Post author

    They won’t allow you to download the SDK, and they won’t allow you to download the ADT Eclipse plugin.

    To get either of those to download, you have to reverse-engineer what their installer is doing under the hood, and then re do it manually (and then add equivalent steps to your build system).

    See the linked blog post for an indication of how much work that takes (although, once someone’s figured it out, it’s fast + easy to do – it just took a lot of effort and trial and error to figure it out).

    Sometimes companies decide to use an installer … when they do, they usually provide a “install from local files” option in the installer and an “export this install to a local script you can re-run in future” option. Google didn’t. Only sane alternative I can see is to do the above: manually download and install everything.

    PS: I only started all this because Google’s installer was so weak. It looked like it was written in Java by the kind of person who gives programmers a bad name: little or no error checking, no handling for typical network errors, etc. All obvious stuff.

  2. adam Post author

    “Source Control … with only half the files in my project” … is not Source Control. It’s “hope and pray”.

    The exact API you’re coding to, the exact SDK version … are fundamentally part of your source. Because your source is – literally – directly dependent upon them.

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