The Android developers summit was held the previous month, and it ended on a really illuminating note. The event witnessed significant developments and announcements by keynote speakers from across the tech world. There was a lot of exciting news regarding the future of Android from the developers perspective.
There were announcements for the better integration of programming languages like Java and Kotlin. The continuously evolving Android marketplace was also discussed at length, and developers got a glimpse of what they could expect from the future.
So instead of scratching the surface, let us take a deep dive into the major highlights of the Android Developer Conference 2019.
APP BUNDLES AND PRE-REGISTRATION
App bundles were introduced in the play store around a year and a half ago. Since its inception, app bundles 2,50,00 app bundles have been produced. App bundles now make up for the 25 % of active installs. Taking this into consideration, Google produced new tools and frameworks for app bundle developers. The new tools include developing, testing, and sharing of app bundles, the ability to install older versions of a given app, and offline testing of dynamic delivery. This means that developers can now test app bundles internally without installing APKs of any application. Also, developers can now upload debuggable artifacts of any application on the internal test track and figure out why the app is experiencing problems on a particular device.
Google has also announced rewards and benefits for developers. This is done to ensure a high user retention rate. Pre-registered users have shown a high engagement rate with the presence of rewards.
The Google play pass was also discussed at the Android developer conference. Google play pass is Google’s premium subscription service that is being fine-tuned to suit both the developers and the customers. However, no specifics were given at the summit.
ANDROID STUDIO 4.0
The latest version of the Android studio is here. The canary of Android Studio 4.0 is available for developers, and it includes Jet pack compose. Jet pack compose is a new UI toolkit that uses Kotlin programming language. The new version includes live preview, code completion, and full support for kts script files. That’s not all though, the latest version of the Android studio provides full support for Kotlin live templates and a motion editor. The Jet pack also got a CameraX to address different types of cameras on various Android devices. Let us discuss these developments elaborately and how are they going to affect the developers.
- Jetpack – google released the latest sets of libraries under the name Jet pack. These libraries have two main functionalities- they integrate new tools for the developers to reduce boilerplate coding, and the other primary function is replacing the old support and app compatible libraries with the new ones. These new libraries provide support for backward-compatible functionality, a feature which the older libraries lacked.
- View binding – this feature is essential for Kotlin development. It is a null safe alternative and helps in data binding. Also, it is compatible with any XML layout regardless of the fact that whether it is wrapped in the layout tag or not. Overall, this is a good alternative for findviewbyID().
- Compose – as we have discussed above briefly that compose is the UI toolkit of the Jetpack. It simplifies the layout creation by allowing developers to use a declarative approach to UI development rather than the imperative approach that was previously being used. Currently, it has been released as a developer preview.
- CameraX – CameraX is an extension of camera2 API. cameraX has vendor extensions that allow third-party vendors to release libraries and use the features of the first-party camera in their apps.
Recent years have witnessed a growth in the use of Kotlin to develop Android applications. Taking a cue from this, Google has extended its support for the language in its latest version of the developer’s tool. For instance, Google has introduced incremental annotation processing and optimizations to R8 for Kotlin, thus increasing the compilation speed. Previously the compilation speed seemed to be a significant problem for Kotlin developers. With this improvement, Google intends to improve the Kotlin developer’s experience on the Android studio.
As the summit has now ended, and Google is done with all the recent developments and announcements, we can say that Google has put efforts into the latest version of the Android studio. Although there was not a direct mention for Android 11, Google indeed dropped some hints about it.
Also, the key takeaway from the summit was the Android Studio 4.0. Along with that, there were other essential announcements, also such as the Google play pass, pre-registration benefits, and the advantages of deploying app bundles.
There had also been significant changes in the play store review process. The new app review policies will be displayed clearly on the developer’s console. If any developer feels that his or her app has been removed from the play store without proper explanation, then he or she may raise an appeal.
These appeals would not be reviewed through any bots or automated process. Instead, the appeals will be reviewed by actual people. Google also said that it would be strengthening its review policy to keep frauds, hackers, and impersonators at bay. This is reassuring for sincere developers who work hard to develop quality apps for the users.
Apart from all this Google also shed some light on project treble, which focuses on optimizing the operating system to install updates quickly. This has proved to be successful. Android 10 has been rapidly installed on the devices. To put this in perspective, Android 7 took 18 months to reach the number of devices that Android 10 covered in 3 months.
The next development in the Android studio will be the full integration of artificial intelligence. Google is working extensively on that front. The IT giant has also encouraged developers to come forward with ideas regarding the quick integration of AI in the apps available on the play store.