Motion Layout API Leads Android Studio 4 Features

Google this week released Android Studio 4, the newest version of its core Android developer environment. Android Studio 4 is meant to give developers more tools so they can design and build apps faster and smarter. The Platform arrives mere days before the Android 11 beta launch, which is expected on June 11. Google pushed back the launch of Android 11 in response to COVID-19. Android Studio 3.6 arrived in February.

The company added several core functions to Android Studio 4, including a new Motion Editor, Build Analyzer, and Java 8 APIs. Google also says that it overhauled the CPU Profiler User Interface to make it more intuitive.

"Whether you’re working from your kitchen table on a laptop or from a home office, you need tools that keep up with you," said Adarsh Fernando, Product Manager, in a blog post. "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."

Google explained that the MotionLayout API should help developers manage motion and widget animations in their apps. The new Motion Editor delivers an interface meant specifically for creating, editing, and previewing MotionLayout animations. It can generate them automatically, with support for constraints, transitions, and other attributes. The resulting code is merely a click away. The new Layout Inspector allows developers to debug their UIs by providing access to updated data and insights on how resources are being used. These include dynamic layout hierarchy detailed view attributes, and a live 3D model of the UI. Last, the Layout Validation window lets developers preview their layouts on different screen sizes and resolutions simultaneously to ensure it works on a range of hardware. 

Java 8 language APIs are now on board regardless of the associated app's minimum API level. This allows the Android Gradle plugin to support the Android Studio Build analyzer, which means developers can create complex feature-on-feature dependencies between dynamic modules. A list is available here. Other Java-related adjustments include the ability to enable or disable discrete build features, as well as support for Kotlin DSL script files. 

On the developing and profiling front, developers will find improvements to the R8 rules, which include a smart editor for code shrinkers, an update to the IntelliJ IDEA platform, Android-specific live template performance bumps for Kotlin, and Clangd support. 

The quickest and easiest way to get Android Studio 4 is via the update tools within the app itself. Alternatively, you can snag the download here.

Be sure to read the next Application Development article: Apple Adds Widgets, App Clips to iOS 14