Google finally launched Android Studio 3.4 on April 17th; downloadable on new versions of Windows, Linux, and macOS. Android Studio v3.3 came out earlier this year, and 3.4 comparatively only has a few minor improvements. It’s available in the stable channel, and is already being praised for its improvements.
The new version is the result of Google’s ongoing ‘Project Marble’ aimed at addressing issues associated with the core features of Android Studio. Though there are only minor improvements reportedly, there’s over 300 stability and bug enhancements in the new version.
That said, let’s explore the most interesting features of Android Studio 3.4.
A new UI
Every major Android Studio update comes with a notably enhanced New Project Wizard UI. Android Studio 3.4 didn’t break the tradition. The new UI looks much sleeker and smoother.
In the earlier version of Android Studio known for its rock-solid stability, asset management and navigation was quite clunky. It was even more tedious for bigger, more complex projects. But that’s all in the past now.
The new Resource Manager looks more compact after efficiently consolidating the colors, layouts, and drawable elements in the app. With a better UI and an organized view of project assets, it’s now easier to locate various elements and switch between assets. In addition, by popular requests, the Resource Manager panel supports drag & drop bulk asset import as well as the conversion of bulk SVG to VectorDrawable.
Layout Editor Properties
The Layout Editor Properties panel has been improved for enhanced product refinement. There is now a resource binding control for each of the properties, and errors are now highlighted. The Attributes inspector in the layout editor has also been improved which is evident from its UI itself. The inspector features collapsible sections of attributes and a much better color picker.
The Android Studio 3.4 can be a great asset to developers who are working with new libraries like Jetpack and Firebase as the new version of the popular IDE has been optimized to identify common classes in these libraries. Thanks to this, the devs will have code intentions aiding them with suggestions on library dependence and import statement.
Proguard in Android Studio has been replaced by R8 in the latest version of the official IDE. The R8’s code-shrinking capabilities enable developers to reduce the size of APKs by eliminating unused codes and resources. Additionally, the actual code doesn’t take much space either. The R8 also combines dexing, desugaring, and shrinking operations in just one step which can be a particularly efficient approach for Android applications.
All of these features make R8 a better option compared to Proguard which is why it’s now the default code shrinker for new projects with Android Studio 3.4.
An Augmented IntelliJ
Android Studio 3.4 features IntelliJ 2018.3.4 – an evolved, augmented IntelliJ version with an array of improvements – from multi-line TODOs support to an updated Search Everywhere feature.
New Project Structure Dialog
Many developers have been requesting a user interface front-end to manage Gradle project files for a long while now. Android Studio 3.4 granted their wish with an improved Project Structure Dialog (PSD). With the new PSD, developers will be able to see and add dependencies, at a module level, to their projects. It also displays build variables now, and offers suggestions to make build file configurations better. The PSD in Android Studio 3.4 has a great UI that makes changing Gradle settings from the Project Structure a breeze.
Android Emulator Skin updates & More
The people behind Android Studio 3.4 also released the latest Google Pixel 3 & Google Pixel 3 XL device skins within the latest version. The release also features Android Q Beta emulator system images. This is certainly good news for Android app developers who want to perform app testing on Android Q.
Google also recommended using the canary version of Android Studio and the emulator so developers will be able to work with the latest changes in compatibility during the Android Q Beta program.
Other notable changes include the improvement of build speed and lint performance. The sheer number of improvements to Android Studio promises a fresh, unique experience to end users. Meanwhile, Google has already released the Android Studio 3.5 Beta for download, and it’s evident that the tech giant is not yet done with improving the quality of Android Studio. And apparently, until then, Project Marble will be active. The Android app developers here at AOT have already started tinkering with the new Android Studio. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we build great Android apps consistently.