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Android developers can now force users to update their apps

At its Android Dev Summit, Google right now introduced quite a lot of new instruments and options for builders that write apps for its cell working system. Some of these are not any shock, together with help for the most recent launch of the Kotlin language, which is turning into more and more standard within the Android developer ecosystem, in addition to new options for the Android Jetpack instruments and APIs, in addition to the Android Studio IDE. The largest shock, although, is probably going the launch of the In-app Updates API.

While the title doesn’t precisely make it sound like a break-through function, it’s really a giant deal. With this new API, builders now get two new methods to push customers to replace their app.

“This is something that developers have asked us for a long time is — say you own an app and you want to make sure the user is running the latest version,” Google senior director for Android product administration and developer relations Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson informed me. “This is something developers really fret.”

Say you shipped your utility with a significant bug (it occurs…) and need to ensure that each consumer upgrades instantly; you’ll quickly be capable to present them a full-screen blocking message that will probably be displayed once they first begin the app once more and whereas the replace is utilized. That’s clearly solely meant for main bugs. The second possibility permits for extra flexibility and permits the consumer to proceed utilizing the app whereas the replace is downloaded. Developers can totally customise these replace flows.

Right now, the brand new updates API is in early testing with just a few companions and the plan is to open it to extra builders quickly.

As Cuthbertson confused, the crew’s focus in recent times has been on giving builders what they need. The poster baby for that, she famous, is the Kotlin languages. “It wasn’t a Google-designed language and maybe not the obvious choice — but it really was the best choice,” she informed me. “When you look at the past several years, you can really see an investment that started with the IDE. It’s actually only five years old and since then, we’ve been building it out, completely based on developer feedback.”

Today, the corporate introduced that 46 p.c {of professional} builders now use Kotlin and greater than 118,000 new Kotlin tasks had been began in Android Studio within the final month alone (and that’s simply from customers who choose in to share metrics with Google), in order that funding is certainly paying off.

One factor builders have these days been complaining about, although, is that construct instances in Android Studio have slowed down. “What we saw internally was that build times are getting faster, but what we heard from developers externally is that they are getting slower,” Cuthbertson stated. “So we started benchmarking, both internally in controlled circumstances, but also for anybody who opted in, we started benchmarking the whole ecosystem.” What the crew discovered was that Gradle, the core of the Android Studio construct system, is getting rather a lot quicker, however the system and platform you construct on additionally has a significant influence. Cuthbertson famous that the Spectre and Meltdown fixes had a significant influence on Windows and Linux customers, for instance, as do customized plugins. So going ahead, the crew is constructing new profiling and evaluation instruments to permit builders to get extra insights into their construct instances and Google will construct extra of its personal plugins to speed up efficiency.

Most of this isn’t within the present Android Studio 3.Three beta but (and beta Three of model 3.Three is launching right now, too), however one factor Android Studio customers will probably be comfortable to listen to is that Chrome OS will get official help for the IDE early next year, utilizing Chrome OS’s new capability to run Linux functions.

Other updates the corporate introduced right now are new Jetpack Architecture Component libraries for Navigation and Work Manager, making it simpler for builders so as to add Android’s navigation rules into their apps and carry out background duties with out having to jot down lots of boilerplate code. Android App Bundles, which permit builders to modularize their functions and ship elements of them on demand, are additionally getting some updates, as are Instant Apps, which customers can run with out putting in them. Using internet URLs for Instant Apps is now elective and constructing them in Android Studio has change into simpler.

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