Use SDK utilities with App Inventor


I have seen this question asked many times in the forums and lately, there was a thread asking how it was done.
Even if you are not a programmer, it may benefit you to download and install the SDK
There are some tools in the SDK that you can also use with App Inventor. For example, I use the emulator from the SDK which has a Galaxy TAB emulator, I also use the SDK to build an emulator to the specific size of my HTC Evo 4g. There is the zipalign program that you need when getting stuff into the market and one of my favorites is DDMS. DDMS stands for Dalvik Debug Monitor.
First you need to download and install the Java SDK. Then you can download the android SDK. There are detailed instructions on the SDK page so I will let you read those here.
If you think you might later try to program in full blown Java with the SDK, you may want to consider installing eclipse as well.
After you have the SDK installed, Assuming you are using the windows version as I am you get to the SDK directory here.
C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-windows
Inside the tools directory lives the emulator a few other utilities related to the SDK and the ddms program.


This is a screenshot of my designer and my emulator to the right.

screen 1

Once you are in the tools directory you look for a program called ddms.bat.
Upon launching ddms.bat, you should be presented with a screen like this:

screen 2

This is the initial screen when you get into ddms. Click on the emulator under name in the top portion of the app.

Checking the logs

Notice the log section at the bottom, this shows the log file on the phone.
Here you can see some of the status’s of the phone..

screen 2a-Log

You can scroll up and down through the log file to examine the contents of the log.
When you are troubleshooting, it comes in handy to look at this log. Sometimes you will get specific answers when you look through this log. It is color coded too so in the sample below, In yellow, you see a call to java and kawa shell.

Screen 6



This is a nicer way to use the adb logcat because it gives you a list that you can scroll through. To open logcat, click on Device in the menu and then click on Run logcat. To update the display after you do something in the app, simply cancel the logcat window and then run logcat again and it will stop at the latest status of the phone.

screen 3


screen 5


Screen Capture

To get the screen capture, you click on the Device Menu and then select Screen Capture. On the Device Screen Capture page when it first comes up you will see the page that the app is currently showing, You can rotate it, save it or copy it to the clipboard. if you have another screen you would like to capture from your phone, Goto the screen you want to capture on the phone or emulator(Whichever you are using) and then hit the refresh button on the Device Screen Capture page and wallah, you have the new screen to save.

screen 4


Bonus: Create your own emulator

Inside the SDK directory you can find the SDK and AVD manager which you can use to create your own customized emulator set up however you want it.You can add many features to your emulator and make different configurations to test on.
You launch the program by going to the Andriod SDK directory and clicking on the SDK Manager.exe Click on cancel in the
choose packages to install dialog. Click on virtual devices and then click on New.

screen 8


Screen 9

Type in the name you want to use for your emulator.
Choose a target o.s. Usually android 2.2 API level 8 2.2 since 95% of devices are 2.2.
Set the size for the sd card.
Set the resolution to the size of your display
For hardware, select new and add what ever hardware you want your phone to support.
Click on Create AVD to build your emulator,
Now you can launch your new Android Virtual Device by starting the sdk manager, clicking on the new device and clicking start. You app inventor apps should run on this emulator.
Here are the settings I used for my htc evo 4g emulator.

htc evo 4g avd


Connecting to the new emulator

To connect to the emulator that you just built and started in the previous step, from the blocks editor click on connect to device and the emulator should appear in the list of devices.



If you get the error adb not found while using any of the sdk apps make sure you have your path set to the platform tools directory. If your using windows it should be C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-windows\tools.



So, There you have it. You now can use some SDK tools to enhance your programming in App Inventor.


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