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emacs – Android development without using Eclipse

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


Ok so I am an avid user of Emacs and tend to stay away from using IDE’s unless I absolutely have to and I see that it is recommended to use Eclipse with a plugin for developing android. I was just wondering if it is really necessary to use the Eclipse plugin (or some others out there)?

How to&Answers:

You can absolutely use Emacs: http://riddell.us/AndroidWithEmacsOnUbuntu.html. (This site has disappeared but a copy was captured by the Wayback Machine which can be found here http://web.archive.org/web/20120321225744/http://riddell.us/AndroidWithEmacsOnUbuntu.html) It describes how to use Emacs and only Emacs for a test application.
No Eclipse.


I recently wrote some code to allow the use of CEDET with Android projects. This is currently in a bzr development branch of CEDET on sourceforge. The post is here:


It supports creating a new android project, builds, starting up the debugger, installing on a device and moving between some XML files and some matching .java files, and vs-versa. It includes some fixes to the java support and smart completion also.

As with most things of this nature, help getting it more robust is welcome.

Basic instructions for download are here:


and you’ll need the android branch.


Why then not to use Eclipse with Emacs+ plugin which will give all the power of Google tools + familiar Emacs shortcuts, etc? Alternatively you can simply set your key scheme to Emacs by doing Eclipse->Window->Preferences->General->Keys and setting schema to Emacs

If you are adamant on using Emacs “as is” I would also recommend looking into “Mavenizing” your project with maven-android-plugin which you can trigger from Emacs


You can try Android-emacs-toolkit.

Android-emacs-toolkit helps to build android development
environment on emacs. It contains a emacs major mode which help
to develop android sdk and ndk program.

It provides support for create new avd, launch avd, create
new android project
, build and rebuild Android sdk project,
build and rebuild Android ndk project, install and uninstall
, run executable ndk project, output emulator log on

This toolkit tested on WindowsXP/7, Ubuntu11 with android-sdk and


It’s certainly possible not to use Eclipse. You’ll miss on some features such as better semantic help with Java than I think you can’t get anywhere else, but you’ll gain the ability to use your favorite editor, easier-to-debug build processes, and the possibility to work on a less powerful machine.

The Developers’ Guide has a section on developing in other IDEs. The SDK contains a small Emacs package to debug Android applications with GUD. There’s a little information in the Emacs Wiki, pointing to two interfaces to run SDK tools inside Emacs (Emacs is nice for reading logcat output, for instance): RemVee‘s android-mode, and Jonathan Arkell‘s EmDroid.


I recommend using Eclipse. However if you do not wish to use Eclipse, read this article: