Google's Android Studio 4.0 is out: Motion Editor, Build Analyzer, Java 8 language APIs

Android Studio 4.0 promises to make Android developers more productive.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has released the stable build of Android Studio 4.0, its newest official integrated development environment (IDE) for building Android apps on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS. 

The three main additions to Android Studio 4.0 include a Motion Editor to speed up the creation of complex animations, a Build Analyzer that helps understand the cause of build-time bottlenecks, and Java 8 language application protocol interfaces (APIs). 

Google has released Android Studio 4.0 just ahead of the first Android 11 beta, whose release was pushed back a month to June 3 due to complications created by the global coronavirus pandemic. 

Google is hosting an Android 11 Beta Launch show to explain some of the Android Studio, Jetpack Compose and Google Play updates that it would have divulged at this year's cancelled Google I/O developer conference. 

Besides new features, Android Studio 4.0 includes an overhauled CPU Profiler user interface to make it easier for developers to analyze thread activity, and an improved Layout Inspector that provides live data of an app's UI to debug what's being shown on the device. 

The Motion Editor interfaces with the MotionLayout library and takes over the task of manually creating XML resource files for building animations. It also includes support for start and end states, keyframes, transitions, and timelines. 

Another design-focused improvement is Layout Validation, which allows users to simultaneously compare a UI across multiple screen dimensions, making it easier to test an app for multiple form-factors, screen sizes and resolutions. 

The Build Analyzer helps identify issues like plugins that may impact build times. The tool's window organizes issues in a list on the left panel with details for each issue explained in the right panel.      

Google has also brought in tools to help developers identify vulnerable library dependencies in an app. Developers building an app with Android Gradle plugin 4.0.0 and higher gain a view into dependencies metadata, which describes the library dependencies that are compiled into an app. 

When uploading an app, the Play Console inspects the metadata to provides alerts for known issues with SDKs and dependencies in an app. In some cases, it also provides actionable feedback to resolve issues.

There's now an R8 smart editor for developers who are creating rules files for R8, Google's tool to help shrink the size of an app. Android Studio now provides syntax highlighting, code completion, and error checking.   

Android Studio 4.0's Motion Editor speeds up the creation of complex animations,  

Image: Google
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