I have been working on Microsoft stack for over a long time, in fact almost my entire career. Now that with all the platforms out there and cross platform being a very important factor in any application development, knowing about other platforms and developing for them is very important . Since I have had some prior experience on Java, I thought of ramping back on it so that I could also explore the Android operating system.

Setting up Java and choosing an IDE was always confusing for me and so is it now. For .Net it was, is and always will be Visual Studio and the setup experience is seamless. For a person in the .net world moving into java would take some time in setting up the environment, and getting used to the IDE’s. Personally I feel that none of the java IDE’s matches the experience and features provided by Visual Studio - but that might be just me. But lets be happy with what we have and start setting up our development environment.

  •  Download the Java SDK. I have chosen to download the latest one as on writing this blog, as I did not have any reason not to. If you have a specific need to have a particular java version then you should get that. Install it into the appropriate location (e.g. C:\Program Files\java\jdk1.7)

  • Set JAVA_HOME in the system environment variables. Right Click on MyComputer –> Properties –>Advanced System Settings –> Environment Variables Under System Variables, add a new variable by clicking New and entering Variable Name as JAVA_HOME and Variable value as the path to the root jdk folder installed in previous step.(C:\Program Files\java\jdk1.7). Save the changes. To see if this has been saved you can verify by opening a command prompt and typing in echo %JAVA_HOME%, which should echo out the path set above.

  • Update PATH to include java path too, so that this can be executed from anywhere, without knowing the full path of the java compiler. Under system variables there would already be a variable with name path (if not add it), to which you can append the java path. Java is in the bin folder under the root folder, so append “;%JAVA_HOME%/bin;” to the path variable. Save and close. To check if this is successfully setup, open up command prompt and type in java. You should see usage information help for java.

  • Installing ANT. Download ant library and copy/install into a suitable location. Ant is used in the build of java applications and is more comparable to msbuild in .net.

  • Set ANT_HOME and PATH like we set for Java. Should be easy for you now.

  • Download and install Android SDK.

  • Set ANDROID_HOME to the android sdk root folder.

  • Set PATH for android tools(%ANDROID_HOME%\tools;) and platform-tools(%ANDROID_HOME%\platform-tools;)

  • Download an IDE. Eclipse, IntelliJ Community Edition , Android Studio are all freely available IDE’s that you can choose from. Android studio is based on IntelliJ IDEA. I chose to use IntelliJ for now for no specific reason.

Now you are all setup for starting your development with PhoneGap on Android . Hope this helps you to quick start your development.