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Android IOS Programming Software

Android Needs a Simulator, Not an Emulator 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the simulated-grass-is-greener dept.
An anonymous reader writes Jake Wharton, Android Engineer at Square, has written an article about one of the big problems with building apps for Android: developers need a simulator for testing their software, rather than an emulator. He provides an interesting, technical explanation of the difference between them, and why the status quo is not working. Here are the basics of his article: "A simulator is a shim that sits between the Android operating system runtime and the computer's running operating system. It bridges the two into a single unit which behaves closely to how a real device or full emulator would at a fraction of the overhead. The most well known simulator to any Android developer is probably (and ironically) the one that iOS developers use from Apple. The iPhone and iPad simulators allow quick, easy, and lightweight execution of in-development apps. ... There always will be a need for a proper emulator for acceptance testing your application in an environment that behaves exactly like a device. For day-to-day development this is simply not needed. Developer productivity will rise dramatically and the simplicity through which testing can now be done will encourage their use and with any luck improve overall app quality. Android actually already has two simulators which are each powerful in different ways, but nowhere near powerful enough."
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Android Needs a Simulator, Not an Emulator

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:52AM (#47261093)

    Given the open source nature of Android, what I don't understand is how no project so far has integrated the Android runtime with the Linux desktop. Licencing issues maybe? Leave it in a separate PPA.

    It would be amazing to be able to run Android applications in Linux seamlessly, ideally integrated with the indicators and notifications provided by the OS.

    That would be a killer feature (and would expand the library of games available for Linux by 1,000,000%), in addition to other applications.

    I know it is possible to emulate Android, there are some options for this, but it is not about emulating a phone in my computer; I already have a phone. What I would love is to run Android apps in it (of course, as long as that software includes x86 libraries, or there is an emulation layer available).

  • by kav2k (1545689) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:08AM (#47261143)

    Great. Now, do you have a spare tablet around for every target android version?

  • by rklrkl (554527) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:08AM (#47261145) Homepage

    Whilst playing around a little with Eclipse and the Android SDK, I found it much easier to just plug in my Android tablet (or it could be an Android phone or both) and download/run the app on that. You get to check rotation, multi-touch, camera etc. a lot more easily this way and it's just as easy (if not more so) than running the emulator. Of course, there could be Android devs without any Android devices at all, but I suspect that's a tiny minority.

    The main use of the emulator is probably just to test different screen dimensions render OK - I personally wouldn't use it during the bulk of development though.

  • Re:So much wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:26AM (#47261195) Journal
    Virtually nothing? I'd say that the simulator covers about 95% of my testing and diagnosis needs. I only have to resort to running on a physical device when I have to test stuff related to the on-board sensors, camera, or push notifications. So far I've found 1 case where the simulator did not behave as expected. If it works on the simulator, chances are it'll work on the device. If it doesn't work on the simulator, in almost all cases you will be able to use the simulator to diagnose and fix the issue. I should note that I do not do game development; I've no experience in writing apps with high performance 2d/3d graphics.

    With that said, I always test release candidates on various types of real devices.
  • Re:So much wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by coinreturn (617535) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @10:01AM (#47262263)

    Bullshit. [snip] The simulator is entirely useless for developing an actual app.

    No, what I said is not bullshit. In my experience, it works great. Yours differs. That does not make my experience bullshit. Perhaps you suck at programming.

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