28
Jun
Screen-Shot-2014-06-27-at-4.09.13-PM

 

Android Studio was first introduced to the world a little over a year ago at Google I/O 2013. At the time, it was coined a "Developer Preview" to indicate that it wasn't ready for major development projects, but people were welcome to experiment with it. In the following months, Android Studio has progressively improved, swatting many of the bugs and adding truly valuable features for developers and interface designers. After a long, and sometimes frustrating road, the upstart IDE is finally trading in its 'Developer Preview' moniker in favor of a shiny new 'Beta' tag.

Alongside the title change, Android Studio v0.8 also gained an array of brand new, and much needed features. Right out of the gate, this update includes compatibility and features for the just-released SDKs for Android Wear, Android TV, and the L Developer Preview.

The 'New Project' dialog now includes the current Android Version Distribution numbers along with descriptions of the features in each version to make decisions about which minimum API level to set for your app. There is also a new workflow for adding templates based on which devices are supported (e.g. Wear, Glass, TV). Tabs have been added to support different product flavors within gradle build scripts.

The layout renderer may be one of the biggest winners in this update. There is now an in-place interactive overflow menu that also makes navigation to menu files a single-click affair. Support has been added for the Material theme. And there is now an additional parameter that can take into account API versions and produce the proper look of a layout across multiple versions with their associated themes. The IDE also has a lookup feature to see what colors and effects have been applied to an element through theming.

apiversions

Not all of the changes are limited to the IDE, there are also new bits in Gradle and the wrapper, especially in the realm of code variants. The list of new concepts and features is a little daunting, but some of the biggest bits include: multiple-apk splits, improved dependencies, and support for Manifest Merger (a little secret, Google has been using this internally for a long time).

Take a look at the "What's new in Android development tools" video for a wild ride through the current state, new features, and a couple of plans for the future.

Unfortunately, updating the previous version was deemed impractical, so a fresh download of Android Studio is required to install v0.8 beta. Keep in mind, you don't need to re-download any SDKs, just the IDE itself. Make sure that you don't delete the existing SDK folder while upgrading. There are also new emulator images for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 based on the L release, so it's easy to start testing code even if you don't have the two devices that are already supported.

There's no question, this is a major update and it demonstrates a serious commitment to making Android Studio the first-class IDE for app development. The team seems intent on making fewer breaking changes and maintaining a deprecation period for things that need to be removed, so we should start to notice less updates that require regular re-jiggering to keep them building. Keep up the good work!

Sources: ChangelogDownload Page

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Konstantinos Pap

    Nice.

  • Godspoken

    That status bar. #HOLOYOLO forever.

  • NF

    This is yet another instance where we can't patch it. I wish they stop doing that

    • Ambroos

      Well... Preview/beta...

      I still prefer the traditional Eclipse ADT, partially because I'm used to it, but I can't help but feel the Gradle build is extremely slow compared to Ant.

      • EowynCarter

        I'm not a big fan of gradle, mainly because i don't really get how it works.

        But overall intelliJ >> eclipce

      • Rosh

        Yeah.. I was using Android Studio for a while but switched back to Eclipse for this reason.

      • Android Developer

        I wish they'd stop neglecting Eclipse.
        Android-Studio is getting more and more cool features, while Eclipse is left behind.
        At least they could make a nice way to move to this new IDE...
        I've even made a request for this here:
        https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=72653

        • Ambroos

          What I dislike most is that they're changing a lot of the documentation to an Android Studio/Gradle-based workflow. I was just looking at how to integrate App Engine Cloud Endpoints in an Android app, and the Eclipse/ADT documentation is nowhere to be found, all Gradle-based now.

          Support for Android L in the Eclipse ADT is nearly inexistent too. I sort of expect a full Android Studio release together with L - and discontinued ADT. Which is a shame.

          Personally I prefer Eclipse too. I like having one environment where I can do all my coding regardless of the programming language. I'm getting started on some Python, and C++ in Eclipse is pretty nice too. Android Studio is based on the JetBrains IDEs and even though I've tried Android Studio, IntelliJ, PHPStorm and PyCharm for their respective languages, I could never get used to them.

          • Android Developer

            Eclipse also has a nice range of plugins.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            I don't think ADT will be discontinued completely, but I have serious doubts that any more serious development effort will go into it. Even during the video the Tools team acknowledges that Android Studio is the top priority, and doesn't even comment on Eclipse. Since Android Studio isn't suitable for the NDK yet, I'm pretty sure Eclipse will remain in regular use for quite some time, even if it's not getting brand new features anymore.

            Personally, I'm a much bigger fan of Android Studio, but that's largely because I come from a Microsoft stack background (JetBrains modeled a lot of its general interface on Visual Studio). I've had to switch IDE's in the past for reasons like this, and I agree, it's a huge pain. Losing access to integrated tools and plugins, or just having to re-learn hotkeys, can ruin productivity.

    • MarkG54321

      Took me a whole 5 minutes to uninstall and install a fresh one, no biggie.

  • Gokh

    Dat french accent :D

  • Jonas

    Slowpoke is slow

  • Oscar Covarrubias

    yeah, "you know".

  • sam

    Does it work on FreeBSD?

  • Android Developer

    No love for Eclipse :(

  • Hendrik

    Profesionally we still use eclipse, but I just switched to android studio for a small private project and I like it a lot more in general. Problem is we build our eclipse project with maven (not eclipse) anyway because of build profiles / dependency Management / Continious Integration... At least android studio has the same build system as you would use on a build server. Understanding gradle when coming from maven is also not really a problem.

  • Sanjay Negi

    Now it makes more sense to me, lovely.

    http://www.techgreet.com/

  • App Vj

    Android studio is in beta now and looks better, but I think its still not there. Mainly because of Gradle and build issue. This morning I migrated one of my ADT apps to studio, but it couldn't build.
    Also I think module / project setting accepts free text (mainly Compile sdk versions, etc.). So I'm going back to Eclipse ADT for now and will wait for more stable version of studio.

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