Google’s Android P engineers did an AMA, here’s what they said
Google announced an AMA on /r/AndroidDev just a couple of days ago. The AMA is all wrapped up, so here’s everything new we heard on Reddit from the Android engineering team. Please keep in mind that this AMA was focused on developers, not for regular users of the platform. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Android Engineering Team hates Xposed/RRO themes!
Let’s start with the funny one. User showmethecode asked the team what are some non-obvious things that they wish developers stopped doing, and guess what they answered:
Don’t submit platform or library bugs from devices running Xposed or RRO themes. If you’re poking at the framework internals outside the scope of CTS, you’re on your own.
So, basically, I think almost all of you know that both Xposed and RRO themes modify system’s framework. If you use one of those and ask the Android engineering team to fix the bugs you’re encountering, it’s not a good thing. Even the custom ROM developers state in their ROM’s threads that you should not report bugs if you use any one of those. Because, by using them, you may encounter bugs that other stock (or vanilla) users won’t.
RecyclerViews may get official headers and collapsing groups
User ProffesorNeurus asked if Google is ever going to introduce official APIs for headers and collapsing groups. Currently, it’s really a pain to implement them in the applications as you have to use third-party libraries and frameworks. As it turns out, Google hasn’t considered this matter as urgent, but they ask users to upvote the request if they want to get official headers and collapsing groups support.
Adam Powell: Upvote if you want this. It’s mostly been a question of priorities and since there are community libraries out there we haven’t considered it urgent.
So, if you’re a developer and want to have an easier way to implement headers and collapsing groups in your applications (you probably do), go to this link and upvote both the questing and the answer.
Android Engineering Team is working to fix the horrible Share UI
This one concerns both developers and end-users as it is one of the biggest annoyances of Android. I’m 100% sure all of you have had problems with the Share menu. Sometimes the touch is not reacting, sometimes Direct Share UI pushes the normal app icons down and you miss the tap, and so on. As it turns out, Google’s team is very well aware of the problem and they’re trying a couple of things to make it work better.
Adam Powell explained that currently the Direct Share API asks the capable apps to provide the list of the top-ranked share target candidates. Because some of these apps are slow, Direct Share UI may take some time to load, which makes the whole sharing UI unusable. Mr. Adam also stated that one of their solutions include pushing targets long in advance before even opening the share UI. So, the next time you’ll want to share something, the app will already know all the apps and direct sharing candidates you may want to use to share, and it will open instantly. That is when the feature will be fully implemented.
Google is teaching OEMs how to optimize battery
Tasker‘s current owner and developer, joaomgcd asked the team if they’re planning to introduce a universal battery optimization standard which will stretch across all OEMs. Currently, almost all of them implement their own battery optimization tweaks, which sometimes kills apps that have notifications in the foreground, which should be running. We understand why Joao asked this question. He develops Tasker, after all, which relies on the foreground notification to stay awake.
Madan Ankapura, who is the one leading the development of battery and background optimizations, said Google is providing guidance to OEMs that will help to have a consistent solution. He also reminded us that the Background Restriction was introduced in Android P for the same reason. So, Android P and Google will eventually resolve this issue.
Google will release GSI building instructions
User azorsenpai asked about how Treble and non-Treble devices will continue to receive updates. Director of Software Engineering, Brian Carlstrom, answered that question and said Treble isn’t necessary to receive updates, but all devices with Android Oreo or higher must have Project Treble. Mr. Brian also pointed out that Treble GSIs made Treble-based custom ROM building much easier and he already saw some of them on XDA Forums.
He also noted that Google will release instructions for generating GSIs for the coming months, which will make building custom ROMs even easier. As you may already know, Google doesn’t yet offer documentation for GSIs, so the things XDA developers use it for are kinda experimental.
No more confusing support library names
If you’ve ever used Android Studio, you may have noticed that some of the libraries names don’t exactly match with their function. For example, Spinner doesn’t spin, and ProgressBar is not a progress bar at all. User showmethecode thanked Android engineers for changing some of the libraries names and asked to change these too. Mr. Adam agreed to that and the team promised that we’ll see more accurate naming in AndroidX.
Google I/O 2018 application’s source code will be released soon
For those who want to check how Google made that beautiful application, source code will be available soon.
If you found anything else interesting in the Reddit thread, feel free to share it in the comments. What we basically heard from this AMA is that Android Engineering Team is working a lot to improve our developing environments and are trying to make developers’ lives easier. We are grateful for that.