Google launches Android Studio 2.0

Android Studio 2.0 will speed coding iterations and add new Instant Run feature

Android Dev Summit Google launches Android Studio 2.0
Credit: Google

Google opened the Android Developer Summit this morning with the announcement of an update to its integrated development environment (IDE) Android Studio 2.0 to an over-subscribed audience of independent developers at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California. Android Studio 2.0 available today as a preview release is faster and more stable, according to group product manager Stephanie Cuthbertson.

VP Android Development Dave Burke compared the speed of the improved IDE to the quickness of web development. Web developers almost instantly see the results of a code change. HTML, CSS or Javascript changes are rendered in seconds when the page is refreshed. Fast, iterative coding and debugging is very productive.

Google’s Android Studio 2.0 preview promises to bring similarly fast iterative development to native Java development. Typical Java project build speeds leave developers unproductively staring at their screens for a minute or longer have been reduced by 2 to 2.5 times to 25 – 30 seconds. Incremental builds drop to single digit seconds.

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Google saved the best news about Android Studio almost until the end – Instant Run lets developers see the impact of code changes in their running apps in a second or two. Proving the statement, Burke demonstrated this fast turnaround with a graphically-rich chess game app. Burke changed the code that rendered the pieces’ size and category. Each iterative code change was reflected in a about a second in the emulated chess game. Instant Run works with every physical device and every emulator dating back to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which covers 96% of the Android devices in use today.

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Consistent with the theme of faster and more stable, a new set of fast Android device emulators was announced that promises to cure a nagging complaint of slow device emulator load times. Staring at a screen waiting for a slow emulator to load is another waste of developer time. The new emulators can test subsystems such as the camera, GPS, texts and battery. Apps can be tested under a variety of conditions such as fully charged and low battery levels on many emulated hardware models from the many vendors of Android devices.

A new GPU profiler was added to improve debugging graphically intensive apps such as maps, games and video. Graphic performance and logic errors can be difficult to trap, analyze and correct. The new GPU profiler can record and replay the app frame by frame while the error is traced to a specific cause inside the app.

App Indexing puts app content in Google Search results. An example is a search based on a person’s name will return a link to the LinkeIn app on the users Android or iOS device. It is a powerful feature for developers because it presents information in their apps in Google Search results making search and the app more useful to users. Since mobile search recently eclipsed desktop search, the probability that information in an app will best satisfy a search is very high. But to take advantage of app indexing the developer needs to make changes to expose their app to Google’s indexes. Android Studio 2.0 will suggest where to add deep linking and built in static analysis will check syntax. The IDE will interact dynamically with Google Search to test if the final result is properly indexed.

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