Best IDEs for Android Development in 2024

Photo of Dawid Lijewski

Dawid Lijewski

Jun 14, 2024 • 9 min read
ides_android

For professional software developers, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), is the primary set of tools and frontend of any development.

It’s hard to imagine, but there were times when everything had to be written manually in a basic text editor, without continuous text parsing to provide instant syntax error feedback or integrated debuggers.

Although it’s still possible to create and build software in such a rudimentary way, there are plenty of advanced IDEs that make our work easier. It’s important to choose the right tools for the job and write software in a skillful and efficient way. Below, we explore the best IDEs for Android development, focusing on the features and ease of use of each Android development IDE.

Android Studio

Android Studio is the official integrated development environment for Android developers, designed specifically for mobile development, and supported by Google and JetBrains. It’s built on top of the powerful IntelliJ IDEA core, and has been with us since 2013, practically becoming the de facto standard for Android development.

This IDE covers all required use cases, alongside providing efficient debugging, syntax checkup, easy-to-use integration with AVD emulators, and SDK management. The Android Software Development Kit (SDK) integrates seamlessly with Android Studio, offering a comprehensive set of tools and features tailored specifically for Android development. Plus it’s completely free of charge for all use types!

In fact, the tool is so well-regarded, that some developers look no further than Android Studio.

Main features of Android Studio:

  • Intelligent code editor, providing advanced code completion, refactoring, and code analysis in runtime.

  • Support for code templates

  • Built-in Android emulator that supports software testing on many devices, including phones, tablets, TVs, watches, and cars

  • Integration with Git, GitHub, and Bitbucket

  • Build system is based on Gradle

  • Support for Kotlin, Java, NDK, and C++

  • Functionality can be expanded with plugins – for example, Javascript support

  • Integration with Firebase and Google Cloud Platform

  • Visual editor for XML and Jetpack Compose layouts

  • Advanced debugging tools for every app’s layer

  • Vector Asset Studio for creating, editing, and managing vector graphics and image assets

  • Translations Editor that helps edit locale files

  • APK analyzer

  • Integration with Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

  • UI for browsing

  • Managing connected devices

  • Lint static code analysis framework includes over 365 lint checks across the entirety of your app

  • Apply Changes lets developers push code and resource changes to the running app without restarting itp – and in some cases, without even restarting the current activity

The recent stable release – “Chipmunk” – introduced the following changes:

  • Janky frames detection for devices running at least Android 12

  • Support for deploying preview of Jetpack Compose UI from Library Modules

  • Long list of small fixes and added support for the newest Gradle and Android SDK versions

Android_Studio-1
Source: Android Studio

Eclipse

Eclipse is a free and open-source IDE that was initially developed by IBM and is currently maintained by the Eclipse Foundation. Before the rise of Android Studio, Eclipse was widely used with ADT (Android Development Tools) to provide an integrated development environment for Android app development. It’s one of the most popular IDEs on the market thanks to its support for over 100 programming languages, including C++, JavaScript, Ada, and Rust. Eclipse is a full-featured, powerful IDE that enables developers to write top-class software, which is why it’s on our best IDEs for Android development list.

Main features of Eclipse IDE:

  • Version Control Software integration

  • Build tools integration with Gradle, Maven, and Apache Ant

  • Wide range of plugins for extending IDE functionality

  • Code completion tool and syntax checker

eclipse-2

Source: Eclipse IDE

Visual Studio and Xamarin

Xamarin is a free and open-source mobile application platform. It’s used for building native and high-performance iOS, Android, tvOS, watchOS, macOS, and Windows apps in C#. Meanwhile, Visual Studio is the most popular tool for writing code using C#. Visual Studio and Xamarin streamline the entire app development process by providing a comprehensive set of tools and features to accelerate development, simplify integration of native device features, and offer debugging support.

Xamarin enables developers to share an average of 90% of their applications across platforms. This pattern allows developers to write their business logic in a single language (or reuse existing application code), while achieving native performance, look, and feel across each platform.

Main features of Visual Studio with Xamarin:

  • Interface builder, allowing developers to prototype an entire user interface without writing any code

  • Integration with Git

  • Test-driven development environment

  • Integration with Vim text editor

  • Mobile cross-platform support

xamarin
Source: Xamarin

AIDE

AIDE allows the development of Android apps and websites directly on mobile devices. It enables users to visually design apps and write code, but also offers real-time error checking, refactoring, and smart code navigation.

Main features of AIDE:

  • What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor

  • Possible to build apps directly on Android devices

  • Projects are compatible with other IDEs

  • Fast prototyping

aide
Source: Android IDE

DroidScript

DroidScript is an easy-to-use, portable coding tool that simplifies mobile app development by allowing you to create mobile apps with JavaScript. It is considered one of the best app development software options for creating Android applications.

Main features of DroidScript:

  • Free (although there is premium access)

  • Possible to build apps directly on Android devices

  • Integration with HTML and CSS

droidscript
Source: DroidScript

Unreal and Unity

It may not seem obvious at first glance, but there are no better IDEs for developing 3D graphic apps and games than Unreal and Unity.

Unity is an incredibly powerful cross-platform game engine and IDE. Its uses span 3D and 2D game development, and even building non-game applications. Unity is the most popular platform used by professional game developers on the Google Play Store.

Honorable mention as one of the best IDEs for Android development also goes to Unreal, another 3D game engine that's popular for developing games on PCs. However, it isn't as good as Unity at 2D development, and more fiddly to get to grips with.

unity
Source: Unity

Facilitating Android app development with the best IDEs

If you’re an Android developer, then it’s important to choose the right Android development IDE for the job. IDEs can make your work easier and help you write applications in a more skillful and efficient way. There are plenty of great IDESs out there that can help you create amazing Android apps. In this article, we explored some of the best IDESs you can use.

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Dawid Lijewski

Android Developer at Netguru
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