Google’s Integrated Development Environments (IDE) are something that keep many developers eagerly awaiting each new release. Known as one of the most comprehensive and detailed IDEs around for Android development, Google continuously keeps on improving it in form of regular updates. Now, the company has launched the Android Studio version 2.2, and its time to take a look at what’s inside.
The Android Studio was previewed at the Google I/O earlier this year. After further improvements and taking user feedback into account, Google has decided to include almost 20 new features into version 2.2, stable release. The company has also brought improvements into all phases, including prototyping, iteration, development and so on. We will be taking a look at some of the most important and noteworthy of these additions.
First off is the Layout Editor. Google has decided to completely revamp the editor and included a new feature called constraint layout. The feature lets you build in a visual way, that is by dragging and droping widgets from the palette to the design surface or the component tree view of your application. Also included is a new blueprint mode that lets you change the visual attributes of your widgets.
Finally, Google has made debugging the User Interface easier by offering an inspector that lets you view and capture snapshots of the UI attributes as they would run on an actual device.
Next up is the Code Editor. The newest version of Android Studio offers you significant;y enhanced code analysis capabilities along with lint checks. One of the best features we ran across here was the ability to right click and search across all of Google’s code samples on GitHub — potentially increasing developer efficiency and reducing their headache.
The new editor also features support for the updated IntelliJ 2016.1. This new integration offers you enhancements such as right to left language support and method reordering, making life easier while coding your way through your next great app.
Next is a Firebse integration. The new integration allows you to add stuff like analytics (and other Firebase services) right into the IDE. The integration is pretty useful as it also gives developers access to things like crash reporting and cloud messaging. Google is also including documentation and code snippets to ensure that you can get Firebase up and running as soon as possible.
Then you have the Merger Manifest Viewer. The new feature allows you to view the manifest as it will look after all the contributions have been added in. Interestingly, contributions from different libraries will show up in different colors in this viewing mode.
One of the most important features of this update, is the new APK Analyzer in the Android Studio. You can now inspect how much space each component is taking by simply firing up and viewing you application’s APK. Best of all, you can get an estimate of the download size of the application from the studio itself.
Support for coding using C and C++ has been added using the CMake and NDK build systems. This allows developers to easily import projects in these languages and use the various enhancements provided by version 2.2 to improve them further.
A beta version of a new GPU debugger has also been included that lets you record GL commands during runtime and later replay and inspect them. The inspection also include viewing the GL state in each instruction, viewing the contents of the buffers and meshes too. Google as promised that the GPU debugger will be improved in the near future and its speed and stability will also be enhanced.
Finally, the SDK tools and the Android emulator have also been updated. You can now emulate a whole bunch of sensors generally found in smartphones such as, accelerometer, magnetometer and even ambient temperature. There is also a 3-D version of the device that you can move around and experiment with.
There are various under the hood improvements as well, including run time fixes, new app packaging code, improved accessibility and so on.
You can download the stable version of the Android Studio 2.2 by clicking this link.
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