Now in Android: Episode #1
Collector’s Edition! Kotlin, AndroidX, Blueprints, and ADS
One of my favorite things about the Android team is that we are all so enthusiastic about the technology we work on and about helping developers use it that we push information of all kinds (libraries, articles, samples, codelabs, videos, tweets, blogs, etc.) constantly and independently. Which is… awesome; I much prefer this model to one where everything goes through some sort of corporate funnel, resulting in a slow drip-drip-drip of formal, company-sanctioned artifacts.
But from the outside, it must be a little bewildering, wondering what and whom to listen to to catch the latest important news and bits. (Don’t tell anyone, but it’s not much less confusing on the inside; there’s a lot going on in parallel).
I thought it might help to try to collect, on an ongoing basis, some of the recent highlights that I’ve seen fly by to help you find things that you might otherwise have missed. This “Now in Android” article is an attempt to do that. Ideally, it will be the first in a regular series (see the subtle hint of this embedded in the use of “#1” in the title). Actually, my recent What’s Now in Android: Google I/O could be considered episode #0, because programmers are usually zero-based, so maybe it’s already a series.
So, welcome to Now in Android: Episode #1(the Collector’s Edition!).
There were some newsworthy things coming out of the Android team in the past few weeks that I wanted to call your attention to.
First of all, I hope you heard that Kotlin was named the “Breakout Project of the Year” at OSCON 2019. It’s pretty great news for Jetbrains and the Kotlin team, recognizing all of the excellent work that they’ve done and all of the amazing things that you’ve been able to do with the language so far. So… yay!
A simple, yet important, doc appeared on developer.android.com a few weeks ago. Normally another single page on that developer site wouldn’t warrant a separate callout. I mean, there are some pretty great pages on that site, but any one in particular is just one of many. But in this case, it was definitely worth a mention.
The problem raised by many of you was that it’s been really difficult to get a handle on what version of any particular AndroidX library is current. One of the great things about Jetpack libraries has been that they are now much more independent than the old Support Library that they grew out of. But the tradeoff of this is that they are all marching to their own release drummers, and it’s not obvious when you’re staring at the build file of your favorite IDE which version of what library you need.
So the docs team put together the AndroidX Versions page to make that information clear and accessible. This page will be kept up to date with all of the libraries in AndroidX, along with the exact current versions of those libraries, including stable releases as well as the earlier alpha and beta releases. So bookmark that page and check it often, whenever you need to grab the latest and greatest.
Android Architecture and Testing Blueprints, v2
The only true thing in a successful software project is that there will always be a future version. The future has now arrived for Android Architecture Blueprints.
Android Architecture Blueprints started as a collection of opinionated samples back in 2016 to show developers different ways to architect Android apps. When these projects were created, we didn’t have a Guide to App Architecture, Kotlin language support, or Jetpack’s Architecture Components. There was no Android-team-recommended way to write applications, and tooling for developers was limited.
Now we have all of these things, so v2 of the blueprints project focuses on first-party tools and libraries and offers modern architecture guidance for Android developers. Some of the modern architecture elements include use of Kotlin coroutines, ViewModel, LiveData, Navigation Component, and Data Binding.
Android Developer Summit Registration
Finally, there’s still time (until August 15th) to register for our very own Android Developer Summit, which is happening October 23–24 in Sunnyvale, California. It’s a great chance to absorb deep technical content as well as to talk with engineers from the Android platform team.
See You Next Time!
I look forward to future exciting episodes, pointing out more of what we’re doing and releasing for Android. Let me know if this is helpful, or if there are more things that you’d like to see in this kind of digest as I get things rolling.
Thanks to Florina Muntenescu for ideas and reviews.