Working with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android

At the end of August, Microsoft published the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android. At Neudesic, the partner behind developing the both toolkits for iOS and Android, we’ve been working with customers that use the toolkit to connect mobile applications to the cloud. One of the recent requests however has been to provide a walkthrough of getting started with the toolkit. The current build on GitHub was released for a specific version of Eclipse and the Android tools, and as a result, can be a little challenging getting the library and sample code up and running.

In this post, I’ll explain what it takes to download the toolkit, create a brand new environment in Eclipse, and get started quickly with the toolkit.

Getting Started – What You’ll Need

Firstly, there is a list of tools that you’ll need to download.

1. Eclipse. Download from http://eclipse.org – we’ll be using Helios in this tutorial.

2. JDK. We’ll be using the default that ships with Mac OSX, but if you are on a PC, you’ll need JDK 1.6 or higher.

3. Android SDK and Eclipse Tooling. Download the Android SDK from http://developer.android.com (we are using r14 for this walkthrough). Also follow the instructions for configuring the Android tooling within Eclipse. After you have installed everything, use the AVD manager to setup a new AVD for an Android 2.3.3 device.

Setting Up the Library in Eclipse

To import and build the library in Eclipse, perform the following steps.

1. Download the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android from GitHub. If you have the Git client installed, you can use this command:

git clone https://github.com/microsoft-dpe/wa-toolkit-android

Otherwise, go to the site and pull down the zip file of the repo.

2. Create a new directory for your Eclipse workspace:

mkdir wa-toolkit-android-workspace

3. Launch Eclipse, and point the default workspace to this newly created directory:

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  1. Create a new Android project called AzureLibrary, set the target to Android 2.3.3, use com.microsoft.cloud.android as the package name, but do not create an activity or test project.

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  1. Right click on the AzureLibrary project and select Import. Choose General / File System as the import source, and click on Next.
  2. Browse to the /library/src/com folder in the toolkit folder that you downloaded from GitHub.
  3. Click on the Browse (into folder) button and select the src folder under your project. Expand the src folder, and check the com folder as shown in this screenshot:

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  1. Click on the Finish button. The import will complete.

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  1. Right click on the project, select properties, and change the Java compiler version from 1.5 to 1.6. (The default is 1.5, yet the toolkit uses many constructs only supported in 1.6)

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  1. Click OK, and say yes to rebuilding the project. The project should now build with no errors.
  2. Assuming everything builds correctly, right click on the project, and select Properties again. Go to the Android setting, and click on the Is Library check box.

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Setting Up the Sample Application in Eclipse

To import and build the sample application in Eclipse, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a new Android project called AzureSample. Select Android 2.3.3, set the namespace to com.windowsazure.samples.sample, and choose not to create an activity.

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  1. As you did with the library, right click on the project, and select Import. Select the /samples/simple/src as the source and import into the AzureSample/src folder.

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  1. Right click on the project, select Properties, select Android and add a reference to the AzureLibrary project:

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  1. Right click on the project, select Import. Import from the /samples/simple/res folder into the AzureSample/res folder. This will import the resources required for the sample application.

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Answer yes when prompted to overwrite the main.xml file.

  1. Right click on project, select Import and select the file system again. Select the AndroidManifest.xml from the root of the source directory and import into the root of the destination project.

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The Sample project should now build with no errors.



Configuring your Windows Azure Account Name and Key

In order to setup the sample project, you need to supply your account name and key, as provided by Windows Azure. You can obtain this by logging into the Windows Azure Portal (http://windows.azure.com) and navigating to Storage Accounts to obtain the details.

When you have the name and key, perform the following:

  1. In the sample project, open ProxySelector.java from the src/com.windowsazure.samples.sample package.
  2. At the top of the file replace the ACCOUNT and ACCESS_KEY values with the account name and access key for your Azure storage account.

 

Running the Sample

1. To run the sample, right click on the sample project, select Run As / Android Application.

  1. Once the emulator is up and running, unlock the device.
  2. Refer to the LogCat/Console window in Eclipse if there are any errors.
  3. Click on the Start button in the sample application.
  4. Select either table, blob, or queue storage and browse the storage associated with your Windows Azure account.

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That’s it! Your sample application is now up and running, and you are able to browse Windows Azure storage!

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