It’s Google I/O today and as tradition dictates, the company is taking advantage of the event to present the latest versions of its Android Studio development environment. A new beta of Android Studio Dolphin with features like View Compose animations and Wear OS emulators, plus a preview of Android Studio Electric Eel, which is now in the canary channel in early access, is launching today today.
For the most part, all of the interesting announcements are part of Electric Eel, which comes as no surprise. The select feature, I believe, is Live Edit, which allows developers to make changes to code and immediately see the results in composition preview in Android Studio and in the app running on the desktop. built-in emulator or a physical device.
Sean McBreen, who leads developer experience for Android at Google, noted that this is something developers have been asking for for a long time, given that it will allow developers to speed up their cycle times without having to wait to test. their changes. It was noted that Android Studio already had Live Literals, which allowed developers to modify small individual values. Now, however, developers can do things like add new functions and tweak the user interface and see the effect of those changes in real time.
Also new to Android Studio is built-in support for Firebase’s Crashlytics, Google’s crash reporting service. With the new App Quality Insights windows, developers can now see their stack traces right in their IDE and even see which lines of code are likely to cause a crash. The idea here, of course, is to allow developers to do more of their work in a single application without having to switch contexts.
“A problem for a developer today is that although he gets very good information from Crashlytics, to see what errors are happening and the events that preceded them, so that he can debug and reproduce some of the errors and fix them, he often has to switch to another tool,” explained Francis Ma, Firebase product manager. “This is a big first step where we share the Firebase experience in Android Studio. »
Given that Google today announced both its first in-house smartwatch and a new tablet, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Android Studio is adding additional support for large-screen devices, including tablets and foldables, as well as wearables. The idea behind Google’s “modern Android development” is, after all, that developers can learn to write apps for one form factor and then apply it to all the others. But foldables and wearables introduce their own UI challenges and developers don’t always have access to them, which is why Android Studio now offers developers a unique resizable emulator that allows them to quickly test an app on different factors. of shape.
For WearOS in particular, the Android team introduced a new way to build declarative user interfaces with the beta launch of the Compose UI SDK. A few other WearOS-related updates include the ability to see Wear Devices in Device Manager and pairing multiple watch emulators to a single phone. Android Studio will also remember these devices after being closed.
In a similar vein, Jetpack, Google’s suite of reusable Android libraries that aims to help developers avoid (re)writing boilerplate code, is also getting some nice updates, especially on the hardware side. user interface of Jetpack Compose, the company’s toolkit for creating native Android user interfaces. The updated WindowsManger library now supports multi-window environments for large-screen devices, as well as the ability to scale apps to the physical state of a foldable device. There’s also a new DragAndDrop that allows developers to accept drag-and-drop data both inside and outside of their app. This is obviously an increasingly common scenario on large-screen devices. Both of these libraries have now reached their stable 1.0 milestones.
And speaking of optimizing apps for large screens, Google itself is also going through a process where it’s updating its own apps like Photos, Gmail, YouTube Music, and YouTube for large-screen devices. As McBreen told me, the company is working to get all of its 50 most-used apps ready for big-screen devices by the end of the year. “The idea here is that we have to give a model to the industry of what we want to do, but we also have to make sure that our advice and our meaning makes sense – and so we are working on those applications,” said he stated.