Google released Version 2.0 of its Android Studio integrated development environment (IDE) for developers of Android applications.
The new tool is currently available in preview via the Canary Channel for Android Studio, which is the channel that Google uses to deliver the latest updates to the technology.
Google introduced Android Studio in May 2013 as the official IDE for Android app development. The tool is based on the IntelliJ IDEA development environment for mobile applications from JetBrains.
In addition to the features available with Intellij, Android Studio offers multiple additional capabilities, such as code templates for commonly used app features, a layout editor for drag-and-drop editing, app-signing capabilities and built-in support for Google Cloud Platform.
With Android Studio 2.0, Google has introduced several new capabilities that it says will help developers improve their workflow and speed up application development and deployment times.
One of them is a new "Instant Run" capability that lets developers quickly see changes to code running on a device or an emulator. Developers can add a line of code, delete a line or modify it, and instantly see what impact that change has on the application when it is running on a device.
Developers can enable Instant Run on existing applications or on code that they are currently developing. The feature is available for applications running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and later versions of the operating system.
Google has also released a new GPU profiler for developers of graphics-intensive games and apps. The tool, which is officially in early preview, lets developers identify potential performance problems in their applications by providing them with graphical views and visual representations of the time taken to render frames when the application is running. "The tool is in early preview but is very powerful," Android Product Manager Jamal Eason said in a blog post announcing the availability of Android Studio 2.0 on Nov. 23. "You can record entire sessions and walk through the GL Framebuffer and Textures as your app is running [code]," Eason said.
With Android Studio 2.0, Google has also updated the capabilities of its Virtual Device Manager feature so developers have multiple pre-defined device profiles for testing their applications in emulation mode. A multi-screen app development feature lets developers build apps for different Android devices, including smartphones, tablets, Android Wear and Android TV.
Since releasing Android Studio two years ago, Google has been pushing Android app developers to get off the Eclipse IDE and use its own IDE instead. Though Eclipse offers no native support for Android, developers have been using Google's Android Development Tools (ADT) plug-in for Eclipse IDE to write Android apps.
Google has noted that Android Studio is the official development environment for Android and that developers using Eclipse ADT will need to move to Android Studio if they want to continue receiving the latest IDE updates. Google has said that moving to Android Studio from Eclipse will require developers to adapt to a new build system, project structure and functionality.
The company has provided an import tool so developers can migrate their Eclipse ADT projects quickly to Android Studio. Google has also set up a site to help developers migrate to Android Studio.