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Setting up your Mac for Android Development

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Installing Android SDK is straightforward but a few tweaks can make your development environment much faster and better.


Download the Android SDK bundle from the official Android Developers page. This bundle includes the Android SDK, Eclipse and other useful tools.

Unzip the downloaded file anywhere and run the Eclipse Application.

This should be enough but the emulator will be extremely slow. No worries, there are some additional packages you can install to solve this problem.

Hardware acceleration

On Eclipse, go to Window -> Android SDK Manager Check the option "Intel X86 Atom System Image":

Android SDK Manager

You also need to install the "Intel x86 Emulator Accelerator (HAXM)" but until the date of this post, an important Hotfix for OS X 10.9 has not been included into this package at Android SDK Manager. So go ahead and download this file from the Intel's website.

To ensure Eclipse is running properly we will create a "Hello World" Android app but first go ahead and close and re-open Eclipse so make our new packages available to be used.

For this click on the button New Android Application:

New Android App

Provide an Application Name, for test proposes we named ours "Test" and accept all default options for the new project.

New Android App New Android App New Android App New Android App New Android App

Before you can run the app on the emulator you will need to create an Android Virtual Device Manager.

Go to Window -> Android Virtual Device Manager -> New

Provide a name for your device, select a Device and Target. To enable the hardware acceleration, make sure to select "Intel Atom (x86)" as CPU/ABI and to check "Use Host GPU" and then click OK:


To run your example app go to Run -> Run As -> Android Application.

You should see the emulator like this:

Hello World

Look at the console log for "HAX is working and emulator runs in fast virt mode", this is the proof that the accelerator is working properly:


Vim Integration

There are a few solutions to integrate Vim with Eclipse. We've chosen the plugin Vrapper and it's the easiest one to install. If you are not familiar how to install a plugin in Eclipse, just go to Help -> Install New Software. A new window will popup, then click on the "Add..." button. Give it a name, like "Vrapper - Vim plugin" and set the location to "http://vrapper.sourceforge.net/update-site/stable"

Now choose the Vrapper plugin, the Java extension and the Surround.vim plugin:


Anyways those are some small tweaks we've found helpful. Let us know if there are any other improvements you'd suggest.

Happy coding!

*Update: You should be using Android Studio to develop for Android. It has a much better support and integration with all libraries.

Posted in Mobile and tagged with android