Google unveils new features for Android Jetpack, Android Studio, and Kotlin at Google I/O 2021
We’re now well into the Google I/O 2021 developer conference, and so we’re seeing a bunch of developer-centric news for all of Google’s development products. On top of changes to Flutter and Firebase, we’ve also got some new features for native Android development, including announcements about Android Jetpack, Android Studio, and even Kotlin.
Jetpack Compose is a Kotlin-based declarative design framework for Android, desktop, and even web (although the latter two are managed by JetBrains and not Google).
Today, Google announced a date for the stable release of Jetpack Compose, along with some new in-progress features. Jetpack Compose 1.0 will be released to stable sometime in July. It’ll come with more components, better support for large screens, and some more general quality-of-life changes.
Android Studio Arctic Fox has been in Canary for a while now. Today, Canary becomes Beta, as Google is releasing the latest version of Arctic Fox to the beta channel.
There isn’t much new here besides a channel change, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the features found in the Canary. The IDE has built-in Jetpack Compose support, with layout previews, code completion, and more. There are some new debugging tools, including the Accessibility Scanner and the Memory Profiler. And, Google has updated the Android Gradle plugin to 7.0, with versioning now in-line with Gradle itself.
Kotlin is also getting some improvements today, including the stable release of a new annotation processor API: Kotlin Symbol Processing. Google says this API should be up to two times faster than previous options, and generally more efficient.
Finally, we’ve got some changes to Android Jetpack, Google’s support library suite.
Google has released Jetpack Macrobenchmark in an alpha state to help developers analyze startup and animation lag in apps and pinpoint related issues. And Kotlin DataStore, the Kotlin-first alternative to SharedPreferences, has entered beta.