At Touchtap, we take our tools pretty seriously and are always looking for new ways to improve on how we build our apps. On the Android side of things, there are pretty much two options to building an app: use Eclipse or use Android Studio. We chose the later, and for good reason – its built for Android development, period.
This latest version is the second major release for the IDE, and includes many notable changes and feature additions. After reviewing some articles on the subject, we have summarized the major items below. (NOTE: one really useful resource we are pulling info from is this article on Dzone).
Instant Run = Faster Edits & Deployment Cycles
The first new feature of note is called Instant Run. This gives users the ability to edit and view code changes using a newer/faster emulator. With this tool, developers are enabled to execute faster code edits and app deployment cycles. In addition, the android emulator is faster than real devices. This tool is a beta release, which can be downloaded in the beta channel.
Now, it is possible to quickly make changes to your app code while the app is running on an Android device or even an android simulator. Developers do not need to wait for the entire app to rebuild/redeploy each time the code is changed. Depending upon the changes made, the results can be seen within under a second.
Fast ADB (Android Debug Bridge)
Google included Fast ADB in this release, which means that installing and pushing files is now up to 5x faster with Android Studio (Whoa!). This was accomplished with an updated Android Debug Bridge (ADB) offered in platform-tools 23.1.0. It is possible to optimize games or apps using OpenGL ES code and Google Profiler Preview.
Hot and Cold Swaps
Behind the scenes, the 2.0 version analyzes the app code during first compilation of your app so that it is possible to determine where to swap out the code and resources. It automatically uses one of the two swap methods to update your app – hot or cold swap. For this version (beta), a cold swap has been introduced, which quickly restarts the whole application.
Other features also include app indexing, which works by indexing the URL platforms which the users provides in the app manifest. When URLs are supported from the app content, users can go directly to those links from Google Search results on their device, which is really cool. In addition, URL testing and validation are featured in the beta, which you can validate your URLs by using the built-in validation tool. Finally, the Android emulator is new and faster that also includes fixes and small enhancements. Rotation controls on the emulator toolbar and added multi-touch support has been added to help test apps that utilize gestures such as pinch and zoom.