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How can I do development on my Android device?

I was wondering if there are apps making it possible to program on an Android tablet? I know it's not the best "work tool" out there, but I was wanting to get one, and was wondering if it's also possible to get some work done with it.

  1. Is there some IDE app available for PHP or JavaScript?
  2. Is it possible to program compiler based languages using some sort of IDE (like C++)?
  • This is essentially a subset of the dupe, which has more answers, so I think it's best to close this one. Anyone who posted here should feel free to post their answers on the other question. Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 21:27

3 Answers 3


You asked for a compiler, or IDE, but I really don't think native code compilation is the way Android apps are intended to mostly work, so you're going against the grain asking for C/C++ compilers. And since there is no JDK that is self-hosted, Java is probably out of the question too.

That being said you can still do programming, just not compiler based programming:

Part 1. This is kind of a flippant answer, but it's fun, anyways:

You can program in Commodore Basic using the Commodore 64 emulator (Frodo, I think it's called), available in the android market. Of course you're limited to 38911 basic bytes free, and the syntax of "Commodore Basic 2.0".

It's not an IDE, in the modern sense, it's an interactive line-based BASIC interpreter. It can be pretty fun though. Command lines are actually really easy to use once you know what you're doing.

Part 2. Android Scripting Environment. Much more serious and up to date capabilities including Lua, and perhaps Python. Perhaps ASE might count as an IDE, depending on how you define IDE. ASE appears to be pretty simple (a text entry widget, and menus to save and run scripts), but that's all you really need on a small mobile device. ASE was thought of long before honeycomb tablets though, so the UI is optimized for smartphones, not tablets.

  • It should be noted that Google has substantially boosted Python support in ASE with their python-for-android project.
    – John
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 16:21
  • There's no fundamental reason why you cannot build a native C compiler for an android device, other than the limited performance and the hassles of adapting the compiler and all it depends on to work with an atypical C library or of bringing along the runtime of a standard C library not normally present on the device. Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 17:14
  • I didn't know about the scripting environment. Thanks!
    – Ither
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 18:03

Android (despite its Linux roots) is far from capable of running Eclipse IDE as is. Not only is the hardware inadequate for supporting such a large application, but Android lacks a full Java SE JVM (Dalvik is a subset) and SWT (Eclipse UI framework) implementation for native Android UI controls does not exist. On Linux, SWT implementations exist only for GTK and Motif.

You may be interested in project Orion, which is an effort at eclipse.org to create Eclipse-like experience in the browser. I understand that people have been able to use Orion from a mobile browser on devices such as the one on the iPad. Here's the link

This was an answer posted to a similar question on stackOverflow, being more directed at Eclipse, specifically.

It looks like, at this point, there are no IDEs available specifically for Android tablets.

On the other hand, it is possible to do a straight Linux install on most rooted tablets, which would allow you to run the Linux native application for an IDE like Eclipse. Be aware though that Linux is not designed for a tablet, so there are risks.


The best way (I think) is to run a vnc client from the tablet to a Linux/Windows box where you have your development environnement already setup... I've seen some youtube clips about vnc and it's fast (on wifi at least)...

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