Here’s a list of 5 cool apps which will help every developer in developing better apps for android.

Lets dive in to the list.

Android UI PatternsAndroid UI  Patterns

Update : 21/5/13 : App was removed from play store. Download the v4.1 apk file below

Android UI patterns app backup (com.groidify.uipatterns)
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Android UI patterns app backup (com.groidify.uipatterns)

UI design is the most time consuming and difficult phase of android application development. Deciding on a UI widget to use becomes very challenging until you look at the actual demo. This is where Android UI Patterns app excels at. It lists down all popular UI libraries used in Android and provides with a customizable working demo. It also provides a direct link to the github repository where the source code is hosted at. Some of the most  common libraries you will end up using in every modern app viz.  Action Bar Sherlock, View Pager, Holo Everywhere, Pull to refresh etc are pre-bundled along with the app. If you are new to Android world, this is an excellent app to discover UI patterns used across the platform. More useful if you are a android visual designer wanting to show an android developer the kind of user interaction you would like to see in the app. Every interaction designer will love the app for the demos and every developer will love  the app for providing open source libraries with cool demos.

AIDE - Android IDE


Android app on Google Play

Now that you have decided on the UI using the Android UI Patterns app, its time to write code. Typically you will grab a Mac, PC or a linux machine and install ADT to get started. But the coolest thing about android is that you can write, compile, test,  check in and publish your app right from within android.  Meet AIDE, a complete IDE which has syntax highlighting, auto completion, source code management all bundled as an android app and it does all the above development tasks.

The app also provides dropbox integration along with GIT support. It even provides basic refactoring tools along with a built in file manager and logcat viewer. All in all, a very useful app for quick fixes on-the-go, but if you are looking for a primary IDE for everyday development, this app is not there yet.  On the contrary, an awesome app to show off to your iOS colleagues ;)


SQLite debugger

SQLite Debugger

Android app on Google Play

Sometimes while debugging issues in android, haven’t you wished that you could directly look into the data present in the database. Those painfully slow debug sessions might just become easier now. SQLite debugger is a free app which lets you look at your data from the DB and also look into the private databases used by other apps too (root). You can run raw queries which return paginated results, you can get a visual look of the schema and you can create backups of your DB to a SD Card and restore them later too, quite handy! The app works very well if you have a rooted phone. if not, you can use it to debug SQLite issues with your app (create and raise their Intent). Having access to databases of other apps is a good way to learn android schema design patterns and this app does its job well.


Dexplorer 1.0 update


Android app on Google Play

Update (21st June ’13) : A new update of the app (v1.0) has made it a lot more cooler. Check it out on play store.

This app lists down all the installed apps on your phone and decompiles their .dex files to give you java source code. It lists down the java packages used inside the app and shows every java class.  Although the app currently does not show method bodies (planned for future), it can show you all the fields and their initial values along with the interfaces used.

This app is for 2 sets of people. The first is those who would like to peek into others source code and understand the way they have designed and structured the code. The second is those who have performed code obfuscation using proguard or any other tool and want to verify that the .apk which is uploaded on play store is code obfuscated or not. If you dont belong to either, this app is not too helpful to you.


FX android app

FX File Explorer

Android app on Google Play

This is just a file explorer. But why does it make it into this list ? Thats because of its additional root addon which helps you look into your app’s private files and shared preferences. Almost every file explorer provides root support, but this app does it better than the rest.

How is it useful to developers ? A lot of apps store sensitive data in the shared preferences. This app will help you navigate to your app’s private folder (/data/data/com.youdomain] and ensure that the files present there are not raw files which can be easily read by other apps on a rooted phone. You can also use this app while debugging, when you need to look into the values stored in shared preferences. Also useful when you want to see what the other popular apps store in their shared preferences database. This when combined with SQLite Debugger on a rooted phones gives you complete access to all the data stored by the apps installed on your phone. If you suspect that any app is storing some crucial data, you could use this app and SQLite debugger to find out the exact values or tamper them just for fun.


Thats my short list of handy apps for development. If you know of an awesome app which can help other developers, post it as a comment.

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