Two new releases for Android development have hit the market, with drag-and-drop functionality and simple scripts to allow designers unfamiliar with Java to quickly learn how to create and deploy applications for the mobile platform.

Xamarin, a provider of development software for Android, iOS and Windows, today announced Xamarin Designer for Android. Designer allows developers to create Android applications from within Microsoft’s Visual Studio or Xamarin’s IDE, according to the company.

Xamarin Designer, according to COO Joseph Hill, allows C# developers to write code in C# and utilize .NET libraries to create applications, and then the tool renders the Android XML files to the device.

Hill said designers can create applications for all Android-supported hardware by selecting different options for different hardware models directly in the designer. Developers can edit all properties and components for native Android applications from within Xamarin’s IDE or Visual Studio, using the Designer plugin. Xamarin Designer supports Android API levels going back to 4, as well as the Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich versions of the operating system.

Meanwhile, the recently released Designer4android allows Java developers to create and test Android applications for any Android-based device, according to Erel Uziel, founder and CEO of Anywhere Software, the tool’s creator.

Anywhere Software, based in Israel, started in 2005 with Basic4ppc, a tool used to create applications for Microsoft’s Pocket PC. Basic4android is a desktop-based application for Microsoft Windows-based PCs, and provides an additional tool for native Android development, according to Uziel. The tool’s user interface is very similar to Visual Basic and allows developers who are not familiar with Java to easily create Android applications by converting simple scripts to standard Java.

Designer4android, the newest tool, is also a Microsoft Windows-based desktop-based application that was created after customers familiar with Java requested the ability to delve deeper into the codebase of an Android application. Designer4android is made up of three components: properties grid, a WYSIWYG designer, and designer scripts, which include the abstract designer. Uziel said the abstract designer and the WYSIWYG designer help developers see exactly what will render on each Android-based device.

He explained that the tool automatically adjusts to the proper screen size based on the abstract designer, which shows images where buttons and other application components will be in the live application. The designer script window also provides a place for developers to customize the UI elements and determine where certain components should appear in all Android applications generated, independent of resolution and screen size.

The tool is available on the Anywhere Software website, and the company offers a 30-day trial before purchasing.

About Victoria Reitano