Google Releases Stable Build of Android Studio 3.4

The updated core tool for developing Android applications, Android Studio, is now available in a new stable release. Android Studio 3.4 and Project Marble have been under development for six months and Google calls this a "milestone release" thanks to the rock-solid foundation of key workflows.

Google concentrated its efforts on making Android Studio as solid as possible. This means more than 300 performance enhancements and bug fixes are sprinkled throughout. The company was sure to add a "focused set" of new features, too, in order to address developer requests. 

Project Marble is the code name Google gave to its Android Studio solidifying efforts. Google says its primary concern was to improve the Project Structure Dialog. Developers rely on this User Interface to manage dependencies and app project Gradle files. To support this, Google replaced Proguard with R8 as the default code shrinker. Developer feedback led to a new app Resource management tool to help developers import in bulk, as well as preview and manage project resources. The Android Emulator, too, has been updated and now consumes fewer system resources. Last, Android Studio 3.4 has been built to support the Android Q Beta.

Google says these changes should help developers be more productive day in and day out, though it admits things are not yet 100% and work is ongoing. 

Beyond the bug fixes, Google targets the three key app creation tentpoles: developing, building, and testing. 

For the developing, Android Studio 3.4 introduces a new resource manager, import intentions, Layout Editor Properties panel, and an update to IntelliJ 2018.3.4. Google says the resource manager is to help devs visualize drawables, colors, and layouts in a consolidated view. The import intentions help with managing Jetpack and Firebase libraries. The Layout Editor now has a single, collapsible pane. And IntelliJ 2018.3.4 has improved support for multi-line TODOs.

For building, Android Studio 3.4 adds a Project Structure Dialog and R8 by default. The Project Structure Dialog lets developers see and add dependencies to their projects at a module level. It also displays variables and suggestions. As for R8, it helps reduce the size of APKs by stripping out unused code and non-vital resources. (We all know how Google feels about APK sizes). All new projects created in Android Studio 3.4 will use R8 for shrinking purposes by default. 

Last, for testing, Android 3.4 includes updates to the Android emulator skin and Android Q Beta emulator. The latest Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL device skins are included for testing against Google's newer mobile phones. This should also help in testing apps against Android Q. 

Developers can download Android Studio 3.4 from the download page, or from the update tool in their existing version of Android Studio. As always, Google is asking for feedback as it continues to tweak the code. 

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