A new extension for Visual Studio lets you use Visual Studio to create Android apps in the Microsoft IDE.
Android++ is a freely distributed extension that comes with MSBuild scripts that enable Android application development within Visual Studio.
It is aimed primarily at NDK based C/C++ applications, though it also incorporates customisable deployment, resource management, and integrated Java source compilation.
Justin Webb, who created Android++, is an Android programmer at game company NaturalMotion of Oxford, England. In a blog post about the new extension, he says that Android++ augments Visual Studio to support NDK-based “native” development, continuing:
You have a choice of LLVM/Clang or GCC-based source compilation and it includes multi-process (parallel) compilation and Pre-Compiled Header (PCH) support and the custom-built MSBuild scripts support C/C++, Java, and resource generation and provide dependency tracking and minimal rebuilds on every stage of deployment.
The extension is currently in closed beta, and while Webb is still accepting applications he says he will prioritise anyone who has existing Android experience to minimize the support needed. Rollout to registered testers will occur in a staggered fashion over the next few weeks.
If you’re interested in taking part in the beta, visit the Download page to send a request email.
Native development and debugging extension for Visual Studio
Android++ is a freely distributed extension and associated MSBuild scripts designed to enable Android application development within Visual Studio. Primarily for NDK based C/C++ applications, it also incorporates customisable deployment, resource management, and integrated Java source compilation.
Zero Hardware Restrictions
Unlike some alternatives, you can debug on the majority of devices – there are no hardware or vendor restrictions, and no license checks to get in the way.
LLVM & GCC
Customisable compiler options offering you the choice between LLVM/Clang or GCC-based source compilation. Including multi-process (parallel) compilation and Pre-Compiled Header (PCH) support.
Custom-built scripts to support C/C++, Java, and resource generation. Dependency tracking and minimal rebuilds on every stage of deployment. You won’t even need ANT.
Integrated GDB Debugging
Support for device and emulator source-level debugging using the IDE you’re used to. Automatically deploy and run your applications, or attach to an existing running process.
The Android operating-system powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries around the world. It’s the largest installed base of any mobile platform and growing fast – every day another million users power up their Android devices for the first time and start looking for apps, games, and other digital content.
Despite this, development on Android lacks the coherence and simplicity offered by iOS – specifically with regard to those developers targeting native (C/C++) applications. There are many reasons for this, but much of it is down to the lack of a dedicated Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and native source-level debugging.
Large numbers of these developers world-wide use Visual Studio as their primary IDE. Either by preference, or other external factors. The goal of Android++ is to assist and transition those developers to target the Android platform by providing the ability for them to use their existing skills and working practices.
While I'm not a C++ guy, I still thought this pretty awesome...