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How can I use MS Visual Studio for Android Development?

Posted by: admin March 10, 2020 Leave a comment


Can you use Visual Studio for Android Development?

If so how would you set the android SDK instead of .NET framework and are there any special settings or configuration?

How to&Answers:

Yes, you can use Visual Studio for Android (native) using “vs-android”.

Here are the steps to set it up:

  1. Download the Android SDK here.

  2. Download the Android NDK here.

  3. Download Cygwin here.

  4. Download the JDK here.

  5. Download Visual Studio 2010, 2012 or 2013 here.

  6. Download vs-android here.

  7. Download Apache Ant here.

  8. Set environment variables:

(Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment Variables)

ANDROID_HOME = <install_path>\android-sdk
ANDROID_NDK_ROOT = <install_path>\android-ndk
ANT_HOME  = <install_path>\apache-ant
JAVA_HOME = <install_path>\jdk
_JAVA_OPTIONS = -Xms256m -Xmx512m  
  1. Download examples from here.

It works like a charm… and best so far to use.


Yes you can:


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In case you get “Unable to locate tools.jar. Expected to find it in C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre6\lib\tools.jar” you can add an environment variable JAVA_HOME that points to your Java JDK path, for example c:\sdks\glassfish3\jdk (restart MSVC afterwards)

An even better solution is using WinGDB Mobile Edition in Visual Studio: it lets you create and debug Android projects all inside Visual Studio:


Download WinGDC for Android from


Believe me, I’ve tried so hard to find a decent IDE for Android developement but I failed. I used Visual Studio for many years, and it is so hard for me to get use to the way Eclipse doing things.

However, the new IntelliJ supports for Android development, it’s the closest you can get.


If you’re interested in producing HTML5 hybrid applications (web apps wrapped in a native container giving access to device functions), the Nomad Visual Studio extension supports building for android devices.


From the Android documentation:

The recommended way to develop an Android application is to use Eclipse with the ADT plugin… However, if you’d rather develop your application in another IDE, such as IntelliJ, or in a basic editor, such as Emacs, you can do that instead.

Currently, there are plug-ins for IntelliJ IDEA and NetBeans, but you can still use the tools in /tools to build, debug, monitor, measure and start the emulator.


Much has changed since this question was asked. Visual Studio 2013 with update 4 and Visual Studio 2015 now have integrated tools for Apache Cordova and you can run them on a Visual Studio emulator for Android.


Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 now has options for Android development: C++, Cordova, and C# with Xamarin. When choosing one of those Android development options, Visual Studio will also install the brand new Visual Studio Emulator for Android to use as a target for debugging your app. You can also download the emulator without needing to install Visual Studio. For more details see

Visuals Studio 2015

Visual Studio Emulator

Video of features https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Visual-Studio/Visual-Studio-2015-Final-Release-Event/Visual-Studio-Emulator-for-Android

Java Extension for Visuals Studio 2012, 2013. 2015


That depends on what you actually want to achieve.

You want to keep on making normal Java-based Android application, but use Visual Studio for development? Then it’s bad news, as Visual Studio has no built-in java support. Thus, if you use it out-of-the-box, you will lose all Java-specific Eclipse functionality (IntelliSense for Java, Java debugger, wizards, etc) as well as numerous Android plugins (that are Eclipse-specific and won’t work with VS).

On the other hand, you can use Mono for Android to develop apps in C# in VS, but they won’t look as smooth as the native apps (some functionality might be missing, look-and-feel slightly different, etc.). In that case such app could sell less than a “normal” Java app that looks and feels like all other Java apps.

If you are talking about native Android code (in C/C++), such as games, the news are not as bad. As Visual Studio has no problem with C++, there are numerous ways to make it work:

  1. If you only want to compile your code, you can use the free vs-android toolset. It’s essentially a set of build rules telling Visual Studio how to launch Android compiler.

  2. If you want to compile and debug your native code with Visual Studio, you will need something more advanced, such as VisualGDB for Android. It can build/debug your Native code independently, or together with debugging Java code from Eclipse.


I know this q is quite old but it might me useful:



Besides, you can use VS for Android development too, because in the end, the IDE is nothing but a fancy text editor with shortcuts to command line tools, so most popular IDE’s can be used.

However, if you want to develop fully native without restrictions, you’ll have all kinds of issues, such as those related to file system case insensitivity and missing libraries on Windows platform..

If you try to build windows mobile apps on Linux platform, you’ll have bigger problems than other way around, but still makes most sense to use Linux with Eclipse for Android OS.


I suppose you can open Java files in Visual Studio and just use the command line tools directly. I don’t think you’d get syntax highlighting or autocompletion though.

Eclipse is really not all that different from Visual Studio, and there are a lot of tools that are designed to make Android development more comfortable that work from within Eclipse.


You can use Visual Studio for Android Development. See a nice article on it here


If you want to create an Android application using c# language you can use Xamarin.
they created this great Cross Platform development tool which enables developers to develop iOS and Android apps in C# language.

Xamarin is offered in different licenses from free to enterprise levels but for not I will be using the starter version which is the free version. It includes the Xamarin Studio which is great start for those who want to try out creating their first apps for Android, they also offer a Business license which lets you develop in Visual Studio so you can use that rich experience similar to developing Web Apps or Windows Apps, then they have this Enterprise which contains everything


You can use Visual Studio 2015 to building cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, and Windows.

IDE: https://www.visualstudio.com/en-US/explore/cordova-vs

Hope this will help!