The Android SDK includes a variety of tools that help you develop mobile applications for the Android platform. The tools are classified into two groups: SDK tools and platform tools. SDK tools are platform independent and are required no matter which Android platform you are developing on. Platform tools are customized to support the features of the latest Android platform.
The SDK tools are installed with the SDK starter package and are periodically updated.
The SDK tools are required if you are developing Android applications. The most important SDK tools
include the Android SDK Manager (
android sdk), the AVD Manager (
avd) the emulator (
emulator), and the Dalvik Debug Monitor Server
ddms). A short summary of some frequently-used SDK tools is provided below.
Virtual Device Tools
- Android Virtual Device Manager
- The AVD Manager provides a graphical user interface in which you can create and manage Android Virtual Devices (AVDs) that run in the Android Emulator.
- Android Emulator (emulator)
- A QEMU-based device-emulation tool that you can use to debug and test your applications in an actual Android run-time environment.
- Helps you create a disk image that you can use with the emulator, to simulate the presence of an external storage card (such as an SD card).
- Lets you manage AVDs, projects, and the installed components of the SDK.
- Hierarchy Viewer (hierarchyviewer)
- Provides a visual representation of the layout's View hierarchy with performance information for each node in the layout, and a magnified view of the display to closely examine the pixels in your layout.
- The Android
linttool is a static code analysis tool that checks your Android project source files for potential bugs and optimization improvements.
- SDK Manager
- Lets you manage SDK packages, such as installed platforms and system images.
- Lets you access the SQLite data files created and used by Android applications.
- Translations Editor
- Lets you view and update all your string resource translations in one convenient place.
- Android Monitor
- Android Monitor is integrated into Android Studio and provides logcat, memory, CPU, GPU, and network monitors for app debugging and analysis.
- Android Debug Bridge (adb) is a versatile command line tool that lets you communicate with an emulator instance or connected Android-powered device. It also provides access to the device shell.
- ADB Shell Commands
- Learn the commands available for advanced command-line operations.
- Dalvik Debug Monitor Server (ddms)
- Lets you debug Android applications.
- Device Monitor
- Android Device Monitor is a stand-alone tool that provides a graphical user interface for several Android application debugging and analysis tools.
- Generates graphical call-stack diagrams from trace log files. The tool uses the
Graphviz Dot utility to create the graphical output, so you need to install Graphviz before
dmtracedump. For more information on using
dmtracedump, see Profiling with Traceview and dmtracedump
- Converts the HPROF file that is generated by the Android SDK tools to a standard format so you can view the file in a profiling tool of your choice.
- Lets you analyze the execution of your application in the context of system processes, to help diagnose display and performance issues.
- Provides a graphical viewer for execution logs saved by your application.
- Allows you to build encrypted and unencrypted APK expansion files in Opaque Binary Blob (OBB) format.
- Shrinks, optimizes, and obfuscates your code by removing unused code and renaming classes, fields, and methods with semantically obscure names.
.apkfiles by ensuring that all uncompressed data starts with a particular alignment relative to the start of the file. This should always be used to align .apk files after they have been signed.
- Draw 9-patch
- Allows you to easily create a
NinePatchgraphic using a WYSIWYG editor. It also previews stretched versions of the image, and highlights the area in which content is allowed.
- Image Asset Studio
- Helps you to generate custom icons for your Android applications from existing images, cliparts, or text. It generates a set of icons at the appropriate resolution for each generalized screen density that your app supports.
- Vector Asset Studio
- Helps you add material icons and import Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) files into your Android Studio project as a drawable resource.
- A command line utility that lets you encode PNG images to the ETC1 compression standard and decode ETC1 compressed images back to PNG.
- Tracer for OpenGL ES
- Allows you to capture OpenGL ES commands and frame by frame images to help you understand how your graphics commands are being executed.
The platform tools are typically updated every time you install a new SDK platform. Each update
of the platform tools is backward compatible with older platforms. Usually, you directly use only
one of the platform tools—the Android Debug Bridge (
Android Debug Bridge is a versatile tool that lets you manage the state of an emulator instance or
Android-powered device. You can also use it to install an Android application (.apk) file on a
The other platform tools, such as aidl,
dx, are typically called by the Android
build tools, so you rarely need to invoke these tools directly.
As a general rule, you should rely on the build tools to call them as needed.