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Rapid Android Development: Build Rich, Sensor-Based Applications with Processing


Cover image for Rapid Android Development

Rapid Android Development

Build Rich, Sensor-Based Applications with Processing


Create mobile apps for Android phones and tablets faster and more easily than you ever imagined. Use “Processing,” the free, award-winning, graphics-savvy language and development environment, to work with the touchscreens, hardware sensors, cameras, network transceivers, and other devices and software in the latest Android phones and tablets.

Printed in full color.

This comprehensive update to the book brings all the code examples up to the new Processing version 3 and Android Lollipop 5.0. The release of the Ketai library v11 makes new sensors available and extends the list significantly, also bringing the minimum Android requirement up to Android 4.0 ICS.

An extensive reference site available at has been launched to document all available Ketai classes and methods, along with additional examples. The Ketai source is now hosted on Github and library-related issues can be submitted there. All errata submitted by the readers have been addressed and fixed, and figures now illustrate apps running on the latest high-density displays.

The 3D chapter has been updated to reflect a texture-related method change. The Sharing and Publishing Applications chapter now includes the possibility to sign apps for the Play store from within the Processing IDE, and discusses an alternative JavaScript package for developing Web apps called p5.js.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book; there is no other text on Processing and Android
quite like it on the market. It is extremely exhaustive and well structured, and
it avoids the pitfalls of preaching to the converted or assuming too much prior
knowledge. It is not a small thing to write for experienced creative coders and
n00bs alike. Daniel Sauter clearly knows his stuff.

- Jesse Scott

Adjunct Faculty, Interaction Design and Smartphone Development, Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Langara College

Rapid Android Development successfully aims at a wide audience—from beginners
to experienced developers. I recommend it to anyone who wants to use Processing
to develop Android apps, especially creative coders who will be inspired by the
diverse techniques for mobile development that fill this book.

- Andrés Colubri

Computational Researcher,, Harvard University and Fathom Information Design

Even if you think you know Processing for Android, this book will still teach you
something new, be it 3D, data storage methods, or networking techniques. It
provides a solid framework from which aspiring Android developers can launch
into developing apps, all while being enjoyable to read.

- William Smith

Moderator, Processing Forum

Daniel Sauter’s Rapid Android Development provides a serious guide to using the
platform for creative coding that Processing provides for leveraging the full potential
of Android devices. Advanced graphics, gestures and sensors are only the tip of
the iceberg, and you will find yourself diving into sophisticated sensor-based
applications, games and art-ware, learning a host of techniques for coding and
even publishing them in Google’s Play market. This book is invaluable!

- Jesus Duran

Artist, educator, and CTO,, Ketai LLC

Whether used for education, application prototyping or just plain fun, Processing
for Android is easy to learn and can produce truly stunning visual results. If you
don’t have time or interest to learn the intricacies of Android OpenGL, radios and
sensor programming, but want to benefit from all the magic that these technologies
have to offer, this book provides the shortest and most informative path toward
achieving that goal.

- Mike Riley

Author, Programming Your Home

See All Reviews

What You Need

Install the pre-release of Processing 3 (currently 3.0a5) from This will offer you Android mode 3.0.1. Depending on your device, you might need to install a USB driver to run sketches on it, most will run right out of the box. You will also need to install Android. An Android phone or tablet is required to test most of the examples in the book.

Generally, all three required packages – Java, Android, and Processing – are moving on, requiring the typical updates we need when dealing with new versions of OS and devices.

Contents & Extracts

Full Table of Contents


  • Getting Started with the Touch Screen and Android Sensors
    • Getting Started
    • Working With The Touch Screen Display excerpt
    • Using Motion and Position Sensors
  • Working with Camera and Location Devices
    • Using Geolocation and Compass
    • Using Android Cameras excerpt
  • Using Peer-To-Peer Networking
    • Networking Devices with WiFi
    • Peer-To-Peer Networking Using Bluetooth and WiFi Direct
    • Using Near Field Communication (NFC) excerpt
  • Working with Data
    • Working With Data
    • Using SQLiteDatabases
  • Creating 3D Graphics and Cross-platform Apps
    • Creating 3D Graphics
    • Writing Cross-platform Apps In Processing.js


Daniel Sauter is an artist and educator with eight years of experience teaching Processing. His work has been shown internationally in numerous exhibitions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Daniel is an Associate Professor of New Media Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and organizer of the Chicago Mobile Processing Conference.