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Illustration by Virginia Poltrack

Now in Android #18

Android 11 Updates, #Android11: The Beta Launch Show, articles, codelabs, and an ADB podcast episode

Chet Haase
May 20 · 6 min read

Welcome to Now in Android, your ongoing guide to what’s new and notable in the world of Android development.

NiA18 in Video and Podcast Form

This is also offered in video and podcast form. It’s the same content, but with less reading required. The article version (keep reading!) is still the place to come for links to all of the content that’s covered.

Video

Podcast

Click on the link below, or just subscribe to the podcast in your favorite client app.


Android 11 Updates

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Dial it up to Android 11

We’re still cranking through the Developer Preview phase of the Android 11 release.

There have been a couple of related items since the last :

Developer Preview 4

The next preview release was launched a couple of weeks ago. Developer Preview 4 was more incremental, so there wasn’t a big announcement about it, but check out the release notes (including diff reports for API 29 -> DP4 or just DP3 -> DP4) for the details, or the preview site to see all of the details on Android 11.

Beta Plans

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Dave Burke posted an article on the Android Developers Blog that talks about what’s coming up for Android 11. In particular, there’s been a slight adjustment* in the release schedule, as we shifted all of the Beta releases (and the final release) out by about a month. You can see the details in the article or on the updated preview Timeline site.


#Android11: The Beta Launch Show

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In order to help you understand everything you need to know about Android 11, we’re hosting an online event called #Android11: The Beta Launch Show. Join us soon for a show hosted by Dave Burke and followed by several deep-dive technical talks.

Also, immediately following the show will be a special session of #AskAndroid. We’re collecting your questions now onTwitter (see some of the questions that are already posted on the show site); tweet your questions at us with the hashtag #AskAndroid and we’ll try to answer them during that session.

Check out the show site now and sign up for updates on the event. See you then and there!


Articles

App signing Q&A

Wojtek Kaliciński wrote an article to explain a lot of the details behind app signing by Google Play:

Allowing Google Play to sign your app provides safety and security against key loss (a real problem that many developers have faced) or theft.

Developers have asked us many questions about the new app signing process, and about app signing in general. Wojtek’s article walks through those questions (bonus: with answers!) to explain how things work, comparing the old model of developers managing their own keys with the new world of using Google’s secure infrastructure to manage the keys.

As a bonus, developers that opt into app signing can start taking advantage of App Bundles (for which Play can deliver smaller configuration-specific versions of your app, without you having to either serve huge APKs that handle all situations or manage tons of configurations-specific APKs).

WindowManager Library

Kenneth Ford and Andrii Kulian wrote an article about the new WindowManager library in Jetpack.

This library was created specifically to handle some of the new device form factors (read: foldables) that are hitting the market these days. Wouldn’t it be helpful to allow developers to access information about these alternative displays across versions, instead of being limited by APIs that are only added to the core platform in the latest release? The team thought so too, so that’s why they wrote this library.

There will probably be more capabilities and APIs added to the library over time, but for now the focus is on these foldable devices, to ensure that your apps can have information about the device that helps you determine how to handle these new situations. For example, if a device is half-folded, should your UI controls display on one fold and the media content on the other?

The library is currently in alpha (alpha01 to be exact); stay tuned for future beta and stable versions as it develops.

Also, be sure to check out the WindowManager sample app, which shows how to use these APIs.


Codelabs

Gesture Navigation

Murat Yener has released a new codelab showing how to do gesture navigation properly.

Gesture navigation is a new facility in Android 10 which gives more screen real estate back to users by using gestures to take the place of the traditional buttons in the navigation bar. Instead of clicking on the Back button, you can just swipe that activity back.

But this new capability in Android needs to be handled correctly by developers in order to correctly deal with situations like avoiding interactive UI in areas of the screen that will now be used by gestures.

Murat’s codelab covers the details and best practices; work through it to learn how to correctly implement gesture navigation in your app.

Getting Started with CameraX

Meghan Mehta updated the Getting Started with CameraX codelab last week.

Now the codelab works with the latest Beta version of CameraX. We got some comments on the recent CameraX Beta video that the codelab was broken with recent API changes, so there were clearly a bunch of people that were waiting for this update.

Besides updating to the Beta version, the codelab now also includes more explanations of the code (always handy in a tutorial…). Also, the latest release of Android R emulator now supports concurrent analysis and capture.


ADB Podcast Episodes

There’s been another episode of Android Developers Backstage posted since the last Now in Android. Check it out at the links below, or in your favorite podcast client:

ADB 139: AndroidX. Jetpack. AndroidX. Jetpack. Whatever.

In this episode, Romain, Tor, and I talked with Nick Anthony and Alan Viverette from the AndroidX team about the libraries, processes, conventions, and realities of shipping the huge suite of AndroidX libraries every two weeks.


Now then…

That’s it for this time. Go check out the latest Android 11 preview! Join us for the upcoming Android 11 Beta Launch Show! Read all about App Signing by Google Play and the new Jetpack WindowManager library! Try the new Gesture Navigation and updated CameraX codelabs! Listen to the latest ADB podcast episode! And come back here soon for the next update from the Android developer universe.

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