I have decided to take the plunge and learn a bit about mobile development on the side this quarter. There is no doubt that the future is mobile and it thus only makes sense to get a first hand experience with the state of the art right in mobile development tools right now.
I decided to give Android development a whirl using the PhoneGap framework. The framework promises a low learning curve and an environment with which I am already familiar.
Of course, before I could start, I had to set up the development environment. And that's where I ran into problems. I use a PC with Windows 8 on it and it just saddens me to look at the state of modern non-Microsoft development tools on Windows. It's almost as if the platform is an after-thought. But I'll reserve that rant for another post.
Here are a few tips for others like me who ran into problems setting up PhoneGap on Windows:
No need to download Eclipse, Android SDK and ADT plugins separately. You can download a bundle containing all three from here.
JDK, not JRE. Make sure to download and install the JDK, not just the JRE. Otherwise you'll get an error telling you that you are missing tools.jar.
Set up the PATH variable properly. Don't forget to add path to java.exe, ant.exe and android.exe to the PATH system variable.
Don't install the JDK under the default directory. Ant doesn't like spaces in the path and you'll need to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to the JDK root (Ant reads this variable)
Hope this will help you get started quickly. I'll post about my experience with PhoneGap once I've had a chance to play with it some more.