Illustration by Virginia Poltrack

Now in Android #49

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

NiA49 in Video and Podcast Form

This Now in Android 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.

Android Dev Summit, October 27–28, 2021! 📆

Remember to join us on October 27–28 for Android Dev Summit 2021! The show kicks off at 10 AM PT on October 27 with The Android Show. From there, we have over 30 sessions on a range of technical Android development topics, and we’ll be answering your #AskAndroid questions live.

MAD Skills: Paging 📑

The series on Paging continues on with more content! In the second episode, TJ shows how to fetch data and bind the PagingData to the UI, including headers and footers.

In the third episode, TJ adds a local cache to pull from and refresh only when necessary, making use of Room . The local cache acts as the single source of truth for paging data.

More MAD Content

But Wait, There’s More MAD content!

For ongoing content, be sure to check the MAD Skills playlist on YouTube, the articles on Medium, or this handy landing page that points to all of it.

Data safety in the Play Console 🔒

Google Play is rolling out the Data safety form in the Google Play Console. With the new Data safety section, developers will now have a transparent way to show users if and how they collect, share, and protect user data, before users install an app.

Read the blog post to learn more about how to submit your app information in Play Console, how to get prepared, and what your users will see in your app’s store listing starting February.

Android Basics in Kotlin course 🧑‍💻

Android Basics in Kotlin teaches people with no programming experience how to build simple Android apps. Since the first learning units were released in 2020, over 100,000 beginners have completed it! Today, we’re excited to share that the final unit has been released, and the full Android Basics in Kotlin course is now available.

AndroidX Releases 🚀

As the most outstanding release this time, WorkManager 2.7 was promoted to stable. This new version introduces a new setExpedited API to help with Foreground Service restrictions in Android 12.

Compose for Wear OS in Developer preview ⌚

The Wear OS launches continue! We told you two weeks ago that many of the Wear OS Jetpack libraries are now in stable. To follow that up, we’re bringing the best of Compose to Wear OS as well, with built-in support for Material You to help you create beautiful apps with less code.

Read the following article to review the main composables for Wear OS we’ve built and point you towards resources to get started using them.

Articles 📚

Have you ever wanted to apply special effects such as HDR or Night mode when taking pictures from your app? CameraX is here to help you! In this article by Charcoal Chen, learn how to do that using the new ExtensionsManager available in the camera-extensions Jetpack library.

Also about CameraX, this other blog post by Wenhung Teng talks about how to use the CameraX Exposure Compensation that makes it much simpler to quickly take images with exceptional quality.

Yigit Boyar wrote the story about how Room added support for Kotlin Symbol Processing (KSP). Spoiler: it wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.

Accessibility series 🌐

The accessibility series continues on with more information on how to follow basic accessibility principles to make sure that your app can be used by as many users as possible.

In general, you should ensure that interactive elements have a width and height of at least 48dp! In the touch targets episode, you’ll learn about a few ways in which you can make this happen.

Want even more accessibility? You are in luck, check out this entire new learning pathway aimed at teaching you how to make your app more accessible.

Documentation and Codelabs Updates 🏫

Widgets can make a huge impact on your user’s home screen! We updated the App Widgets documentation with the recent changes in the latest OS versions. New pages about how to create a simple widget, an advanced widget, and how to provide flexible widget layouts.

The Android Gradle Plugin (AGP) contains extension points for plugins to control build inputs and extend its functionality. Starting in version 7.0, AGP has a set of official, stable APIs that you can rely on. We also have a new documentation page that walks you through this and explains how to create your own plugins.

If you’re planning to start learning Jetpack Compose, our modern toolkit for building native Android UI, it’s your lucky day! We just revamped the Basics Jetpack Compose codelab to help you learn the core concepts of Compose, and only with this, you’ll see how much it improves building Android UIs. After you complete it, don’t forget to check out the Compose pathway that contains more resources to get the most out of Compose.

Talking about Compose, we expanded the Compose and other libraries page to cover how to start an activity for result, request runtime permissions, and handle the system back button directly from your composables. Also, we added a new Material Components and layouts page that goes over the different Material components in Compose such as backdrop, app bars, modal drawers, etc.! And even more! The Theming in Compose doc set now contains new pages about how to implement a custom design system, and the anatomy of a theme.

ADB Podcast Episodes🎙

There has been one episode of Android Developers Backstage posted since the last Now in Android. Check it out at the link below, or in your favorite podcast client:

Episode 177: Honor every photon. In this episode, Chet, Roman, and Tor have a chat with Bart Wronski from the Google Research team, discussing the camera pipeline that powers the Pixel phones. How cameras capture images, how the algorithms responsible for Pixel’s beautiful images, HDR+ or Night Sight mode works, and more!

Now then… 👋

That’s it for this time, with Android Dev Summit 2021, the Paging MAD skills series, the Android Basics in Kotlin course finally complete, Compose for Wear OS, CameraX and KSP articles, touch target accessibility video, Widgets doc updates, extending AGP and Compose new doc pages! Come back here soon for the next update from the Android developer universe.

Android Developers

The official Android Developers publication on Medium