In 2013, Google released the first version of its Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Android Studio. It aimed to provide an all-in-one development experience that was faster and smoother than the de facto standard for Android coders at the time, Eclipse.
After three years, Android developers got the first major update to the official IDE earlier this month with the release of Android Studio 2.0, followed quickly by a 2.1 update. Built-in tools include the obvious code editor, code analysis functionality and a fully configurable emulator.
Google says Android Studio 2.1 is the fastest way to build apps with higher quality and better performance for all Android devices: phones and tablets, Android Auto, Android Wear, and Android TV. The update comes with new features such as Instant Run and Cloud Test Lab integration.
Instant Run allows developers to code and run their apps continuously to see the changes they make during programing. The Instant Run button analyzes the changes and determines how it can deploy the new code in the fastest way, updating the emulator.
Android Emulator on Android Studio 2.1 is about three times faster compared to the old version. Android Debug Bridge (ADB), communicates with the emulator 10 times faster than with an attached physical device. The new emulator also comes with Google Play Services built in and new management features for calls, battery, network, and more.
Cloud Test Lab Integration allows developers to code and test-run an app across a wide range of Android devices for compatibility purpose. The Cloud Test Lab itself isn’t free, but it alleviates the need to run many different emulators locally.
App Indexing Code Generation helps to improve the visibility of app content in Google Search by adding auto-generated URL links into the app code. Developers can then test and validate the app’s indxing code in Android Studio.
GPU Debugger Preview helps diagnose and debug graphics rendering problems. Developers can go through an Open GL ES game or app frame by frame to pin down issues.
Android Studio 2.1 is available on Windows, Mac and Linux. Developers already using Android Studio can get the newest update in the program menu or download from the Android Studio site.
What’s coming next?
Google’s development team released Android Studio 2.1 on April 26. This first update
focuses on fixing bugs and improving Instant Run with new tweaks to increase performance.
In addition, Android Studio 2.1 supports Android N Developer Preview, a pre-release edition of the next Android version. Android N is still under development but available for beta testers as Android N preview until the final release, which is projected in Q3 of 2016.
Once released to the public, Android N will introduce new features such as multi-window support, notification enhancements, a mobile data saver, Android TV recording, and network security.
Have questions about app development for Android or other mobile platforms? Email us or call 603.881.9200.