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android development

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Android KTX is an extension library for writing shorter and cleaner Android code in Kotlin

As developers, it's almost always desirable to be able to write shorter and more readable code without sacrificing performance, stability, or control. Many Android devs have adopted Kotlin to replace Java because it delivers on those points and many others. Even though Kotlin's syntax and language features make it well-suited to Android, it's still not designed specifically for Android, so there are plenty of platform-specific patterns that require a lot of boilerplate code. To that end, a new extension library called Android KTX was released in preview form today with a focus on wrapping a lot of that boilerplate code.

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Play Store to require new and updated apps to target recent API levels and distribute native apps with 64-bit support

The Play Store created some controversy last month after announcing plans to remove apps that used Accessibility Services for any purpose that didn't directly relate to disabled users. While Google is reconsidering the best implementation for the Accessibility Services policy, a separate announcement introduces additional policies intended to help make apps distributed through the Play Store more secure and possibly improve performance. Over the next two years, developers will be required to target a recent SDK version in their app updates and provide 64-bit versions of native apps if they aren't already. The Play Store will also begin adding some new metadata to APKs for verification purposes, but most developers shouldn't need to worry about this.

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Android Studio's Emulator reaches stable channel with Quick Boot for 6-second startup times, Play Store support, and an assortment of other improvements

Back in October, Android Studio 3.0 was set loose to the stable channel with improved support for the Kotlin language, platform technologies like Android Things, and many other new and improved features. At the same time, a major upgrade to the Android Emulator also went out to developers on Android Studio's canary channel. It came with quite a few enhancements, but the the headliner was Quick Boot, which can reportedly achieve startup times of less than 6 seconds. Today, this version of the emulator reaches the stable channel and the Android Tools team posted about many of the other valuable improvements this update brings.

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[Deal Alert] Packt's eBooks are all on sale for just $10 each, including Android development ones

Have you been thinking about getting into Android development (or any development in general) lately? Don't know where to start? Well, Packt currently has its full catalog of eBooks and videos available for just $10 apiece - a great deal, considering the original prices of some of these books.

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Google launches new vitals tools in the Play Console Dashboard to find and solve problems

In one more slice of I/O developer news, Google has launched another set of tools for developers using its Console Dashboard for apps on Google Play. The new tool automatically analyzes app reports to show developers pertinent info about app issues. This is the 2nd big feature about making app performance and bug fixing easier for developers after the new visual profiler tools in the latest preview of Android Studio.

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InBrief
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Facebook open-sources its Litho UI framework for Android

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Redditors find partial screenshot functionality is hidden in Android Nougat's code

Screenshots are great for sharing something funny with a friend, but it'd be so much easier if we could do that without having to crop the original shot first. Some Redditors discovered over the weekend that partial screenshot functionality is currently hidden in Android Nougat, and can be turned on via the source code and then used with either the normal screenshot buttons or a physical keyboard.

A commit in Nougat reveals the code, which sees 'a partial screenshot function in TakeScreenshotService'. /u/Maxr1998 and @MrWasdennnoch were able to modify TakeScreenshotService to turn it on (see YouTube video below), while /u/vyashole, using the modified code, used a keyboard with an OTG connector to take screenshots, using the combination CTRL+META+SHIFT+S to take a partial screenshot.

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InBrief
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Android Developer Site Slightly Redesigned With Navigation Drawer And Bold Header

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Mobile Dev + Test Is Offering Android Development Tutorials, Sessions, And Workshops In San Diego on April 17-22; Register Now With This Coupon Code For $200 Off [Sponsored Post]

The Mobile Dev + Test conference is back this year and better than ever, with in-depth Android development and mobile training, tutorials, keynotes, and sessions! In addition, TechWell events is also launching the collocation of the inaugural, Internet of Things conference, IoT Dev + Test with Mobile Dev + Test. Both conferences will be happening at the Westin San Diego April 17–22, 2016. Register for one conference and gain access to both conference programs. Pick and choose what content is right for you and build a customized week of learning and networking.

In addition to the new IoT Dev + Test conference, a new 2-day training course has been added to help testers learn how to better automate their mobile testing efforts, Effective Mobile Automation using Appium®.

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Microsoft Releases Standalone Android Emulator With Easy Instructions To Use It With Android Studio And Eclipse With ADT

Microsoft surprised Android developers last year with the launch of a brand new emulator designed for performance and features that aren't available anywhere else. While the initial Preview release only included an image for KitKat, subsequent updates introduced an expanded set of emulator images and some valuable new features. While a high-speed emulator is certainly compelling, many developers still didn't adopt it because it had to be downloaded and installed alongside a very large Visual Studio package, not to mention it was also frustrating to set up for use with other IDEs. Last week, Microsoft unburdened the emulator and released it as a standalone download along with step-by-step instructions to set it up to easily run with Android Studio and Eclipse with ADT.

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