In December 2014, Google released Android Studio as the primary integrated development environment (IDE) for Android mobile app development. The company launched Android Studio 2.0 with an array of new features in April 2016. The Android app developers can install Android Studio on three major platforms — Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. The feature-rich emulator, flexible build system, lint tools, testing tools, code templates, and code editor provided by Android Studio help developers to accelerate Android app development. Google has been updating the IDE regularly to simplify and speed up Android app development. In May, the company announced the first beta preview of Android Studio 3.0 with an array of new features.
Understanding Major Features included in Android Studio 3.0
Support for Kotlin Programming Language
Recently, the Android team announced first-class support for Kotlin programming language. Android Studio 3.0 will make it easier for developers to write Android apps in Kotlin. It allows users to integrate Kotlin code seamlessly with their existing app code. The developers can even use the built-in conversion tool provided by the IDE to convert Java files into Kotlin files. Likewise, they can use the new project wizard to create Kotlin enabled projects directly, while availing the development tools provided by Android Studio.
Adaptive Launcher Icon Wizard
Android O will allow developers to use adaptive launcher icons that change shape according to the underlying devices. Android Studio 3.0 simplifies adaptive launcher icon designing by providing a wizard. The developers can use the adaptive launcher icon wizard to create both new and legacy launcher icon assets. Also, the wizard helps developers to evaluate the icons across varying devices by providing previews.
Downloadable Font Resources
Android Studio 3.0 helps developers to use custom fonts and create downloadable font resources. The developers can use the XML fonts preview and font selection tools provided by the IDE to create downloadable font resources for their apps. The tools further allow developers to add custom fonts to the app through the downloadable font resources without bundling the resources into their APK.
Support for Android Things
Android Things enable developers to build connected embedded devices with existing Android development tools. Android Studio 3.0 makes it easier for developers to create apps on Android Things by providing several new templates. The developers can use the access the templates using both new project wizard and new module wizard. The templates will enable Android app developers to start creating Internet of Things (IoT) apps using their existing skills and tools.
Support for Instant Apps
Google allows users to run Instant Apps on their devices without installation. The upcoming version of Android Studio enables developers to include Instant Apps in their projects. The developers can avail two distinct modules types provided by the IDE — instant app and feature. The two new module types make it easier for developers to extend their existing Android mobile apps into instant apps.
Improved Build Speed
Google has made major changes to the Android Gradle plug-in used by the IDE to improve build speed. Android Studio 3.0 will come with a completely overhauled Android Gradle plug-in to speed up projects with many modules. Also, it will help developers to upgrade and enhance the project seamlessly in future. However, the redesigned plug-in may not support all legacy plug-ins, and the developers have to test the compatibility of existing plug-ins.
Enhanced Android Emulator
Android Studio 3.0 will come with an Android Emulator which is upgraded for Android O. The redesigned emulator allows developers to test their mobile apps elaborately with Play Store. It further makes development experience faster by supporting OpenGL ES 3.0 support for Android O. Also, the emulator makes it easier for developers to document the bugs found during testing and generate bug reports. The Android Emulator further comes with a user interface to simplify proxy setting management.
Redesigned Layout Inspector
Android 3.0 comes with an enhanced layout inspector. The new features included in the layout manager make it easier for mobile app developers to debug app layout issues. The developers even have option to group properties into common categories and avail search functionality on both Tree Views and Properties Panel.
A Myriad of New Development Tools
Google has included a set of new development tools in Android Studio 3.0 to simplify and accelerate Android app development. While using the upcoming version of the IDE, the mobile app developers can use several new development tools — Android profiler, CPU profilers, memory profiler and network profiler. Android Profiler will replace the monitoring tools used by the stable edition of Android Studio.
The developers can simply click on the Android Profiler to gather key information — CPU, memory and network activity — about an app running on real devices or emulators. The CPU profiler helps developers to improve the performance of Android apps by identifying CPU performance issues. It analyzes the CPU threads used by an Android app, and highlights the performance issues through built-in filters and data views.
The Memory Profiler comes with a unified interface that includes the legacy Heap Viewer and Allocation. The developers can use Memory Profiler to debug the memory usage problems in an Android app more efficiently. The Memory Profiler even has to capability to detect varying memory issues by analyzing heap dumps and memory allocation.
The developers can use the Network Profiler to monitor and evaluate the network activities of an Android app consistently. The tool further helps developers to improve the performance of Android apps by optimizing both background and foreground network usage. The advanced analysis feature provided by the development tool further makes it easier for users to enable network requests and payload analysis.
The mobile app developers can access and evaluate the new features and improvements included in Android Studio Preview. Google further allows developers to run the stable and beta preview versions of Android Studio side-by-side. Hence, the developers can now work on a single project on both versions of Android Studio.