Android Studio dumps Eclipse for IntelliJ IDEA
Google forks Jetbrains development environment, adding live multi-device preview and Gradle support.
For Android developers, the biggest news out of Google
I/O so far is a new IDE called “Android
Studio”. Based on JetBrains’ open-source IntelliJ IDEA, it’s
designed to replace the customised build of Eclipse currently
distributed with the Android SDK, bringing with it IntelliJ’s
distinct look and several new features. (You can download the
access preview” now.)
Engineer Tor Norbye presented a live demo of
Android Studio during the conference’s opening keynote, and drew
applause with demonstrations of the IDE’s live preview abilities.
Layouts can be previewed with different screen sizes, locales and
platform versions side-by-side – updating in real time. Selecting
UI elements with the mouse moves the cursor to the relevant XML
tag, making it close to a WYSIWYG editor.
“We have big plans for Android Studio,” Norbye told
the audience. “We plan to integrate more and more services into the
IDE. For example, with a simple menu item, I can add a Google Cloud
Messaging backend into my app,” he said, referring to the new
service unveiled just a few minutes earlier that helps sync
notifications between devices.
Android Studio also includes a new build system based
on Gradle, as well as Android extensions of IntelliJ’s standout
features, such as code refactoring and static code analysis.
Though developed commercially by JetBrains, the
community edition of IntelliJ IDEA has been open source since 2009.
This new fork is,
according to JetBrains themselves, a collaboration between the
two companies, and will be a separate, open-source
project managed by Google.
It’s another blow to Eclipse, which continues to
suffer from a public perception of being slow and ugly (despite
recent speed boosts). Though Google promises to “continue to
support Eclipse as a primary platform for development”, it seems
likely that Android Studio will eventually become the recommended
environment for app developers.
Aside from Android Studio, Google made
several other announcements for app developers, including an
improved developer console, new location APIs and Xbox Live-like
social features for games.
According to Hugo Barra, VP of Android product
management, the platform has recently reached
900 million activations. With the conference continuing
throughout the rest of the week, expect more Android news to