Google’s UI toolkit for Android moves to alpha release

A production version of the framework for building Android UIs, called Jetpack Compose, is due next year

Google’s Android team has released an alpha version of Jetpack Compose, a UI toolkit for the Android mobile platform.

While not production-ready, the kit, published August 26, will give developers more opportunity to explore the programming model for UI development that Jetpack Compose offers. With Jetpack Compose, declarative components automatically update the UI to make it easier to build simple Android UIs. Less coding is required. Native access is provided to platform APIs. Kotlin APIs are also supported as part of the package.

A setup link to Jetpack Compose can be found at developer.android.com. A production release is expected in 2021. At this juncture, the API surface is not complete and changes are expected. Compatible with both Android views and Android code, Jetpack Compose previously was available in a preview stage. The alpha release has new tools, including animations and constraint layouts as well as performance optimizations.

Other benefits cited by Google include:

  • Developers are able to avoid entire classes of bugs.
  • Intuitive, with developers describing a UI. When app state changes, the UI is automatically updated.
  • Accelerated development and compatibility with existing code.
  • Built-in support for Material Design, dark theme animations, and other capabilities.

Jetpack Compose, which works with the Android Studio IDE, follows Android Jetpack, which has featured a suite of libraries to work across all versions of the platform.

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