On its Android Dev Summit, Google today announced a number of new tools and features for developers who write applications for their mobile operating system. Some of these are no surprise, including support for the latest Kotlin release, which is becoming increasingly popular in the Android developer's ecosystem, as well as new features for the Android Jetpack tools and APIs, as well as Android Studio IDE. The biggest surprise, however, is probably the launch of the API update for the app.
Although the name does not exactly make it sound like a breakthrough function, it's actually a big deal. With this new API, developers now get two new ways to get users to update their app.
"This is something developers have asked us for a long time ̵
Say that you sent your application with a big mistake (that happens …), and will ensure that all users are upgrading immediately; You will soon be able to show them a full screen blocking message that will be displayed when they first restart the app and while the update is being used. It's obviously just meant for big bugs. The second option gives more flexibility and allows the user to continue using the app while the update is downloaded. Developers can fully customize these update streams.
Currently, the new update API is tested early by a few partners, and the plan is to open it for more developers soon.
As Cuthbertson stressed, the team's focus in recent times has been on giving developers what they want. Poster the child for what she noted are the Kotlin languages. "It was not a Google-designed language and maybe not the obvious choice – but that was really the best choice," she told me. "Looking at the last few years, you can really see an investment that started with IDE. It's actually only five years and since then we've built it out, based entirely on developer feedback."
Today the company announced that 46 percent of professional developers now use Kotlin and over 118,000 new Kotlin projects were launched in Android Studio in the last month alone (and only from users who choose to share metrics with Google) so that the investment definitely pays off .
One thing developers have recently complained about, are the building times in Android Studio has slowed down. "What we saw internally was building faster, but what we heard from developers externally is that they are slower," said Cuthbertson. "So we started benchmarking, both internally under controlled circumstances, but also for all who chose, we began to benchmark the entire ecosystem." What the team found was that Gradle, the core of the Android Studio building system, is getting much faster, but the system and platform you build are also important. Cuthbertson noted that Specter and Meltdown fixes had a major impact on users of Windows and Linux, such as custom plugins. In the future, the team will build new profiling tools and analytics tools to allow developers to gain more insight into their building times, and Google will build more of their own plugins to accelerate performance.
Most of this is not in current Android Studio 3.3 beta yet (and beta 3 of version 3.3 is launching today too), but one thing Android Studio users will probably be happy to hear is that Chrome OS will Get official support for IDE early next year, using Chrome OS's new ability to run Linux applications.
Other updates announced by the company today are new Jetpack Architecture component libraries for navigation and workforce, which makes it easier for developers to add Android's navigation principles into their apps and perform background tasks without writing much boilerplate code. Android App Bundles, which allow developers to modulate their applications and send some of them on request, also gets some updates, which are Instant Apps, which users can run without installing them. Using Instant Apps URLs is now optional, and building them in Android Studio has become easier.