What’s new in Google’s Android Studio 3.1

Google’s development suite for mobile apps adds improvements for C++ and Kotlin coders and for SQLite database users

What’s new in Google’s Android Studio 3.1
Google

Released in late March 2018, Google’s Android Studio 3.1 IDE has added improvements for C++ and Kotlin coders and for SQLite database users.

Where to download Android Studio

You can download Android Studio from the Android Studio website.

Current version: What’s new in Android Studio 3.1

The new C++ CPU performance profiler troubleshoots bottlenecks in code. Developers use the simplperf command line tool as the back end while the profiler records C++ method traces.

For Kotlin, Lint code quality checks now can be run from the command line as well as from the IDE. To take advantage of this Lint capability, developers open an Android Studio project and use the command line to run gradlew lint.

Android Studio 3.1 also offers enhancements for SQLite and Room databases in applications. Better code editor support has been added to assist with SQL table and query creation statements.

Also new to Android Studio 3.1:

  • For software builds, the 3.1 version switches to the D8 dexer as its default dex compiler, replacing the legacy DX compiler. D8 dexing is a compilation step that makes app size smaller, enables accurate step debugging, and can lead to faster builds.
  • An updated build output window organizes build status and errors in a tree view. Legacy Gradle build output also is funneled to this window.
  • The IDE includes the IntelliJ Idea 3.3 platform release, with support for Kotlin and SVG image preview support. (Android Studio has been based on the IntelliJ platform.)
  • Finer-grained controls are offered for the Quick Boot capability, which enables resumption of an Android Emulator session in fewer than six seconds.
  • Device emulator skins now work in a frameless mode, to help with testing apps with an 18.9 screen aspect ratio or with Android P’s DisplayCutout APIs.
  • To trace network traffic, the Network Profiler has been updated with a network thread view to inspect multithreaded traffic while a network request tab looks at network requests.

Previous version: What’s new in Android Studio 3.0

Released in October 2017, Google’s Android Studio 3.0 IDE adds support for the Kotlin language as a mechanism for building Android applications, as well as better Java 8 support and enhancements to its build system and debugging.

Kotlin interoperates with existing Android languages and runtimes. Developers can add Kotlin to a project using the conversion tool found in the Android Studio IDE via the menu sequence Code > Convert Java File to Kotlin File. Developers can also create a Kotlin-enabled using the New Project Wizard.

Besides Kotlin support, Android Studio 3.0 offers these new capabilities:

  • Improved support of Java 8 language features via migration to the javac tool chain. The Jack tool chain is being deprecated. The latest Android Gradle build system plugin enables use of Java 8 features in developers’ code and libraries
  • A breaking API change in the Android Gradle plugin improves scalability and build times. Depending on APIs provided by the previous Gradle plugin, developers are advised to validate compatibility with the new plugin and migrate to new APIs.
  • For smaller and faster updates, the Maven repository is used by default instead of the Android SDK Manager for finding updates to dependencies in Android Support Library, Google Play Services, and Firebase Maven.
  • A suite of tools, named Android Profiler, have been added to debug performance problems. Android Profiler replaces Android Monitor.
  • The Adaptive Icon Wizard creates launcher icon assets and previews how an adaptive icon will look with different launcher screen icon masks.
  • Features of Instant Apps, which are native Android apps that don’t require a user installer, can be added to projects.
  • Custom and downloadable fonts using XML can be used for apps targeting the Android Oreo release (API level 26 or higher).
  • The app bug reporter in Android Emulator helps document bugs. Android Emulator also supports the OpenGL ES 3.0 advanced graphics standard.
  • Templates in the New Project wizard and the New Module wizard support the Android Things embedded device platform.
  • To optimize the size of APK files, the APK Analyzer has been fitted with additional enhancements. Also, arbitrary APKs can be debugged.
  • Support was added for the JetBrains IntelliJ Idea 2017.1 IDE, with capabilities such as Java 8 refactoring and enhanced version control search. IntelliJ has been the basis for Android Studio.
  • Emulator system images for Android Oreo now include the Google Play store, to enable testing of apps with Google Play.