Google updates Android developer tools

Google is releasing the developer preview of Jetpack Compose and taking other steps as part of its effort to give Android app developers more guidance and simple tooling.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Google on Wednesday rolled out a series of updates to its Android developer tools, including releasing the developer preview of Jetpack Compose. The updates, announced at the Android Dev Summit, are part of Google's overall effort to give more guidance to developers, offering simple tools and best practices. 

Android Jetpack is a collection of Android software components that helps developers follow best practices, frees them from writing boilerplate code, and simplifies complex tasks. It's now used by more than 84 percent of the top 10,000 Play Store apps, Google says.  

Google on Wednesday announced expanded libraries for Jetpack: Viewbinding, which makes it easier to access code Views with minimal annotations or build-time impact, is now available. Benchmarking, which makes it easier to measure app performance, is also now available. CameraX, an open-source library that should make camera development easier across a range of unique Android devices, will now be available in beta in December. 

Jetpack Compose is another library that combines a reactive programming model with the Kotlin programming language to simplify UI development. Now offering a developer preview, Google plans to make Jetpack Compose available in beta next year. Google intends to use this preview period to get more feedback on Jetpack Compose. 

Meanwhile, Google continues to invest in Kotlin, releasing full IDE support for Kotlin build scripts. Google's also working with the software development company JetBrains to improve Kotline compile speeds and make other improvements. It's also partnering with Udacity to launch an Advanced Android course with Kotlin. There's also now an Associate Android Developer Certification in Kotlin.

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