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Android Studio – Empowering Android Developers!

We just tried out the new Android Studio (early access preview) and so far it seems great!

To start with, when we installed the IDE we found everything included at one place – SDK tools and SDK packages – all bundled within the Android Studio application directory

There were some interesting pre-included plugins inside – like gradle, Groovy, android-designer and CloudEndpoints.

Project Explorer

We did find some changes to the project structure compared to Eclipse – most of the files
were shifted inside src directory (including res and AndroidManifest file).

Android Studio also includes a new build system based on Gradle.

Layout Editor

One of the biggest challenges with Android is the number of different devices available, all with different screen resolutions. A successful app would have to support multiple screen resolutions and developers had to see how layouts would render while making changes to the XML.

Android Studio allows us to preview layout while editing the XML, making the process much faster. This was not allowed in Eclipse (with ADT); we had to switch between Graphical Layout and XML panels after we edited the XML.

You can also preview layouts on multiple device resolutions through a “Preview All Screen Sizes” from the device drop-down while the XML is edited. Google I/O keynote presentation gave us a sneak peak how this would work.

Eclipse with ADT – layout editor

Code Editor

Android Studio also includes a powerful code editor which allows deep static code analysis to find problems like

  • Control flow issues
  • Code style issues
  • Declaration redundancies
  • XML issues and
  • unused resources, incomplete translations, hard coded texts etc – all identified through Android Lint tools

We were reminded of static code analysis announced for XCode by Apple which was a big thing at that time! It is great to see this as a built-in feature in Android Studio.

Based on the IntelliJ IDEA, it also includes features like smart editing and advanced code refactoring.

This is a great step forward by Google – an IDE built for Android. But it is still in its early preview state and some features are not yet rolled out completely. Haven’t yet tested Google Cloud Endpoints integration into the IDE.

There are a couple of bugs we found right away when using the IDE – for instance when trying to update (Check for Updates), we get a connection failure error. Not sure yet if this is a problem with the update servers or a bug in the IDE.

  We, as developers, always wanted to have an IDE built for Android just like XCode for iOS to make the process of developing Android apps as painless as developing for iOS. This initial version is super cool and we are really excited to see this IDE progress with time making development for Android fun.

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Anurag

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