Android Studio was first introduced and launched at Google I/O conference in May 2013. It is the official integrated development environment (IDE) for developing for Android platform and is freely available under Apache License 2.0
In May 2013, Android Studio was in early access preview stage from version 0.1. Its first stable version was released as version 1.0 in December 2014. It was designed specifically for Android development based on Jet Brain’s IntelliJ IDEA. It is an intelligent Java IDE and excels in mobile, enterprise and web development with Java, Groovy, Scala and Kotlin; with all the modern and latest technologies and frameworks available.
Apart from the capabilities that IntelliJ excels in, Android Studio also offers following powerful features:
- Code templates that would help you in building common app features.
- Build variants and multiple apk file generation
- Flexible Gradle-based build system
- Rich layout editor and support for drag and drop theme editing.
- Built-in support for Google Cloud Platform, that makes it easy to integrate Google Cloud messaging and App engine.
- And many more…….
Google launched version 2.0 of its Android Studio in November 2015. The latest stable version 1.5.1 (Dec 2015) is available for download on Android developer site. As per recent updates from Android, Android Studio 2.0 Preview 6 is available at Canary channel. It contains bug fixes of Preview 5.
Android Studio 2.0 preview is available on canary channel and stable build channel for download at:
- Canary channel – http://tools.android.com/download/studio/canary/latest
- Stable build channel – http://tools.android.com/download/studio/builds/2-0-preview
For beginners, you can update your current IDE to 2.0 preview (currently preview 5), but it is not recommended. Instead, you should keep two separate copies of IDEs.
Let us check out new features of Android Studio 2.0
Instant Run: Speedy build and deploy
Instant Run allows developers to build and deploy their apps both to emulator or to a physical device at once and then their code can be changed and can deploy it. It lets you to see quickly the changes running on the device or emulator. According to Google, builds are faster in the new version by atleast 2 -2.5 times.
Another promising feature is GPU profiler which allows optimisation of OpenGL ES (Open Graphics Library for Embedded Systems) code. It is a powerful tool that not only shows details about the GL State and Commands but also can record entire sessions and walk through Textures and GL Framebuffer as your app is running OpenGL ES Code.
Improved Android Emulator
The new improved Android Emulator is having following top two benefits:
- Speed and Performance: The new Android Emulator now supports Symmetric Multi-Processing while emulating the latest Android 6.0 release. This results in significant I/O improvements in both ADB and emulator. This indicates faster performance while testing your app.
- Usability and User Interface: It also includes a brand new user interface that makes it easy to use. Now no need to depend on command-line parameters to use Android Emulator. Now only a mouse click or a keyboard shortcut is enough for common tasks and emulator features.
Some more upgraded features of Build system are as follows:
- It supports a flexible Gradle-based build system, app-signing capabilities and Built-in support for Google Cloud platform. This brings lot of control and flexibility to developers.
- With the introduction of new experimental shrinker, you can get the shrinking benefit right in debug mode.
- There is a huge improvement in adb push and pull as new protocol for it has been introduced.
- App indexing is another new feature in this IDE. It basically allows users to access content from apps directly from Google’s search engine.
Thus the Android Studio 2.0 has come up as an improved mobile-app ecosystem to keep up in the competition with the updates in Apple’s development platform Swift. So the development tools for such platforms are becoming more feature-rich and more efficient for beginners as well as power users.