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16 May 2013, 11:43

Android Studio opens its doors

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Android Studio logo Few of the announcements at Google's I/O conference have involved open source software, but one announcement did: Android Studio, a new IDE environment for Android application development. Although Android Studio is only an early preview at the moment, Google is looking at it to eventually become the default development environment for Android applications, replacing the current solution of the Eclipse IDE and ADT Plugin.

Android Studio is based on the community edition of JetBrain's IntelliJ IDEA, but expands the IDE to add Gradle-based build support for compilation and deployment, Android-specific refactoring, and quick fixes in the editor. These are complemented by performance, usability and version compatibility checking tools, support for ProGuard and app-signing for better deployment. For more rapid development, template-based wizards create common Android elements, and a graphical layout editor with drag-and-drop component palette and multiple screen layout previews should make development much easier.

Editing with Android Studio
Zoom Custom editing comfort for Android developers in Android Studio
Source: Google
The new Gradle-based build system should work well not only in the IDE but also in continuous integration environments and is far more capable of handling complex build configurations. Gradle build systems use Groovy-based files with Groovy code and a build DSL – further details are available in the preview documentation.

The editor's static analysis capabilities have been enhanced by the developers adding metadata to the Android APIs which identifies things like which methods can return null and what constants are allowed. The IDE then uses that information to spot potential errors in the code, beyond what IntelliJ's IDEA can normally accomplish.

Also included in Android Studio is a quick way to add a cloud-based backend using Google Cloud Messaging code, which can automatically be added to a project, and support for ADT Translation Manager, a plugin which Layout views
Zoom Developers can easily see their layouts on multiple sizes of displays
Source: Google
takes strings from a project and sends them through translation services in the Google Developer Console. Android Studio is also able to import Eclipse projects, as long as those projects have been exported with the latest ADT Plugin.

Android Studio 0.1 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and includes the SDK tools and latest Android platform and system images to get users started. Google also offers a tips and tricks page for those who want to quickly access the new features added atop of the already documented IDEA. The open source project is available on with the code apparently under an Apache 2.0 License.


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