Developers
June 2, 2020

Android Studio 4 Debuts, Bringing Motion Editor, Build Analyzer and More

Android Studio 4, the official IDE for Android development, brings a bevy of new features and improvements Android developers are sure to love.
Source: Pixabay

Google has released Android Studio 4, the official integrated development environment (IDE) for creating Android apps. This release brings a number of significant improvements and major new features that will help developers of all kinds of apps.

IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3

Under-the-hood, Android Studio 4 is based on IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3 and 2019.3.3. IntelliJ IDEA is a popular Java IDE created by JetBrains. When Google announced the first version of Android Studio, they chose the open-source version of IntelliJ IDEA to form the basis of it. Subsequent versions have included improvements from IntelliJ IDEA updates.

Kotlin Android Live Templates

One of the improvements the new version of IntelliJ IDEA brings is live template support for Kotlin.

Kotlin is a language that was designed to be fully compatible with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It can also compile to native code, as well as JavaScript.

Since Kotlin first appeared in 2011, 16 years after Java, an effort was made to improve upon some of Java’s shortfalls. The language has gained in popularity, with Google granting it “first-class” status on Android, alongside Java, in 2017. By 2019, the language had supplanted Java as Google’s preferred language for Android app developers.

Live templates allow a developer “to insert common constructs into your code by typing simple keywords. Android Studio now includes Android-specific live templates for your Kotlin code.”

C++ and Clangd

Beginning with Android Studio 4, clangd is now the “primary language analysis engine for code navigation, completion, inspection, and showing code errors and warnings.”

Motion Editor

One of the biggest new features in Android Studio 4 is the Motion Editor. In previous versions of the IDE, developers who wanted to create complex motion and widget animation needed to manually create and modify complex XML files.

The new Motion Editor, however, now provides an interface for a developer to visually create their animation. The editor will then generate the necessary XML files automatically, while at the same time providing code access for developers who want to tweak them further.

The editor also can convert ConstrainLayout to MotionLayout, with the click of a button, adding yet another layer of convenience.

Layout Inspector

The Layout Inspector has received a significant upgrade, giving a developer the ability to debug their app’s user interface (UI) much easier.

Best of all, the new inspector runs live, giving developers access to real-time data about how their UI is functioning and how resources are being used. This can help developers spot problem areas, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure their UIs run as smooth as possible.

CPU Profiler

Google significantly improved the CPU profiler in Android Studio 4, based largely on developer feedback. In particular, CPU recordings are much easier to analyze, thanks to Google’s decision to separate them from the main timeline and organize them into groups.

Similarly, the System Trace UI has visual improvements that make it easier to sort, distinguish and analyze individuals threads.

Under-the-hood, Google has improved the overall quality of the CPU Profiler and is seeing improvement in recording error rates over version 3.6.

Java 8 Language APIs

Google has improved support for Java 8 language APIs. In previous versions of the Android Gradle plugin, a number of Java 8 features were supported through desugaring, which has been extended to include all Java 8 APIs. This should open a number of possibilities for developers.

Android Studio 4: A Major Upgrade

This latest version of Android Studio 4 is a major upgrade that offers a number of welcome features for all types of Android developers. From improving how animations and motion are created, to Kotlin and C++ improvements, to better CPU and UI inspectors, this version of the IDE has something for everyone.

Not to be overlooked is the improved Java 8 API support, thanks to the improved desugaring engine.

“During these uncertain times, we’re humbled by the many developers around the world who are finding ways to keep doing what they do best—create amazing apps for Android,” writes Adarsh Fernando, Product Manager. “Whether you’re working from your kitchen table on a laptop or from a home office, you need tools that keep up with you. Android Studio 4.0 is the result of our drive to bring you new and improved tools for coding smarter, building faster, and designing the apps your users depend on, and it’s now available on the stable channel.”

It’s a safe bet this new IDE will be a big hit with Android developers. It includes under-the-hood upgrades, along with quality-of-life improvements that will make development much easier.

Android developers are encouraged to visit the download page to get started.

TagsAndroid StudioJava 8 language APIsCC++
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersJune 2, 2020
Android Studio 4 Debuts, Bringing Motion Editor, Build Analyzer and More
Android Studio 4, the official IDE for Android development, brings a bevy of new features and improvements Android developers are sure to love.

Google has released Android Studio 4, the official integrated development environment (IDE) for creating Android apps. This release brings a number of significant improvements and major new features that will help developers of all kinds of apps.

IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3

Under-the-hood, Android Studio 4 is based on IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3 and 2019.3.3. IntelliJ IDEA is a popular Java IDE created by JetBrains. When Google announced the first version of Android Studio, they chose the open-source version of IntelliJ IDEA to form the basis of it. Subsequent versions have included improvements from IntelliJ IDEA updates.

Kotlin Android Live Templates

One of the improvements the new version of IntelliJ IDEA brings is live template support for Kotlin.

Kotlin is a language that was designed to be fully compatible with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It can also compile to native code, as well as JavaScript.

Since Kotlin first appeared in 2011, 16 years after Java, an effort was made to improve upon some of Java’s shortfalls. The language has gained in popularity, with Google granting it “first-class” status on Android, alongside Java, in 2017. By 2019, the language had supplanted Java as Google’s preferred language for Android app developers.

Live templates allow a developer “to insert common constructs into your code by typing simple keywords. Android Studio now includes Android-specific live templates for your Kotlin code.”

C++ and Clangd

Beginning with Android Studio 4, clangd is now the “primary language analysis engine for code navigation, completion, inspection, and showing code errors and warnings.”

Motion Editor

One of the biggest new features in Android Studio 4 is the Motion Editor. In previous versions of the IDE, developers who wanted to create complex motion and widget animation needed to manually create and modify complex XML files.

The new Motion Editor, however, now provides an interface for a developer to visually create their animation. The editor will then generate the necessary XML files automatically, while at the same time providing code access for developers who want to tweak them further.

The editor also can convert ConstrainLayout to MotionLayout, with the click of a button, adding yet another layer of convenience.

Layout Inspector

The Layout Inspector has received a significant upgrade, giving a developer the ability to debug their app’s user interface (UI) much easier.

Best of all, the new inspector runs live, giving developers access to real-time data about how their UI is functioning and how resources are being used. This can help developers spot problem areas, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure their UIs run as smooth as possible.

CPU Profiler

Google significantly improved the CPU profiler in Android Studio 4, based largely on developer feedback. In particular, CPU recordings are much easier to analyze, thanks to Google’s decision to separate them from the main timeline and organize them into groups.

Similarly, the System Trace UI has visual improvements that make it easier to sort, distinguish and analyze individuals threads.

Under-the-hood, Google has improved the overall quality of the CPU Profiler and is seeing improvement in recording error rates over version 3.6.

Java 8 Language APIs

Google has improved support for Java 8 language APIs. In previous versions of the Android Gradle plugin, a number of Java 8 features were supported through desugaring, which has been extended to include all Java 8 APIs. This should open a number of possibilities for developers.

Android Studio 4: A Major Upgrade

This latest version of Android Studio 4 is a major upgrade that offers a number of welcome features for all types of Android developers. From improving how animations and motion are created, to Kotlin and C++ improvements, to better CPU and UI inspectors, this version of the IDE has something for everyone.

Not to be overlooked is the improved Java 8 API support, thanks to the improved desugaring engine.

“During these uncertain times, we’re humbled by the many developers around the world who are finding ways to keep doing what they do best—create amazing apps for Android,” writes Adarsh Fernando, Product Manager. “Whether you’re working from your kitchen table on a laptop or from a home office, you need tools that keep up with you. Android Studio 4.0 is the result of our drive to bring you new and improved tools for coding smarter, building faster, and designing the apps your users depend on, and it’s now available on the stable channel.”

It’s a safe bet this new IDE will be a big hit with Android developers. It includes under-the-hood upgrades, along with quality-of-life improvements that will make development much easier.

Android developers are encouraged to visit the download page to get started.

Android Studio
Java 8 language APIs
C
C++
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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