Can We Develop Android App in Visual Studio Code?

Android, Android Apps

Can We Develop Android App in Visual Studio Code?

Visual Studio Code is a popular code editor that has gained immense popularity among developers due to its simplicity and flexibility. It is primarily used for web development, but can it be used for developing Android apps? Let’s find out!

Setting Up Visual Studio Code for Android Development

Before we begin, make sure you have Visual Studio Code installed on your machine. You can download it from the official website and follow the installation instructions.

To develop Android apps in Visual Studio Code, we need to install a few extensions that provide support for Android development:

  • Java Extension Pack: This extension pack includes essential tools and features for Java development, which is the primary language used for Android app development.
  • Android SDK Tools: This extension provides integration with the Android SDK and allows us to build, test, and debug our apps from within Visual Studio Code.
  • Kotlin Language: If you prefer using Kotlin as your programming language for Android development, this extension provides support and features specific to Kotlin.

To install these extensions, open Visual Studio Code and navigate to the Extensions view. Search for each extension by name and click on the Install button. Once installed, make sure to restart Visual Studio Code to apply the changes.

Create a New Android Project

To create a new Android project in Visual Studio Code, we can either use a template or start from scratch. Let’s explore both options:

Using an Existing Template

If you want to kickstart your project with a predefined template, you can use tools like Android Studio or Android CLI to generate the necessary project files. Once the project files are generated, you can open the project folder in Visual Studio Code and start coding.

Starting from Scratch

If you prefer to start from scratch, you can create the necessary project structure manually. Open Visual Studio Code and create a new folder for your project.

Inside the project folder, create a new file named build.gradle. This file contains the configuration for your Android project.

In addition to the build.gradle file, you need to create other necessary files like AndroidManifest.xml, res directory (for resources), and java directory (for source code). You can create these files and directories manually or use tools like Android CLI to generate them for you.

Building and Running an Android App in Visual Studio Code

Once you have set up your Android project in Visual Studio Code, building and running your app is straightforward:

  1. Build: To build your app, open the terminal in Visual Studio Code by navigating to View -> Terminal. In the terminal, navigate to your project directory using the ‘cd’ command.

    Once inside the project directory, run the command ‘gradle build’ to build your app.

  2. Run: To run your app on an emulator or a physical device, make sure you have either an emulator running or a device connected to your machine. In the terminal, run ‘gradle installDebug’ command to install and run your app on the selected device.

You can also debug your app directly from Visual Studio Code by setting breakpoints in your code and using the debugging features provided by the extensions we installed earlier.


While Visual Studio Code is primarily designed for web development, with the help of extensions and proper setup, we can develop Android apps in Visual Studio Code. It provides a lightweight and flexible development environment, making it a viable option for Android developers.

Remember to install the necessary extensions and set up your project correctly to get started with Android development in Visual Studio Code.

Happy coding!