What's New in Android Studio 3.4

Google has shipped Android Studio 3.4, which continues the company's Project Marble work to make fundamental features of the flagship mobile development IDE rock-solid and polished.

"In Project Marble, we are specifically looking at reducing the number of crashes, hangs, memory leaks, and user-impacting bugs," the company has said. "We are also investing in our measurement infrastructure to prevent these issues from occurring. Stay tuned for more updates and details as we progress on this initiative."

Those updates and details were fleshed out yesterday with the announcement of Android Studio 3.4, wherein product manager Jamal Eason said, "On top of many performance improvements and bug fixes we made in Android Studio 3.4, we are excited to release a small but focused set of new features that address core developer workflows for app building & resource management." More than 300 bug and stability enhancements mark the v3.4 release, thanks to Project Marble, announced in November 2016 to address a rising level of negative developer feedback.

Yesterday's announcement post details new features in the three main areas of mobile app workflow: develop, build and test:

  • Develop
    • Resource Manager: The resource manager is a new tool to visualize the drawables, colors, and layouts across an app project in a consolidated view. In addition to visualization, the panel supports drag and drop bulk asset import, and, by popular request, bulk SVG to VectorDrawable conversion.
    • Import Intentions: As developers work with new Jetpack and Firebase libraries, Android Studio 3.4 will recognize common classes in these libraries and suggest, via code intentions, adding the required import statement and library dependency to your Gradle project files.
    • Layout Editor Properties Panel: To improve product refinement and polish, the team refreshed the Layout Editor Properties panel. Now developers just have one single pane, with collapsible sections for properties. Additionally, errors and warnings have their own highlight color, there's a resource binding control for each property, and an updated color picker.
    • IntelliJ 2018.3.4 Platform Update: Android Studio 3.4 includes Intellij 2018.3.4. This update has a wide range of improvements from support for multi-line TODOs to an updated search everywhere feature.
  • Build
    • Project Structure Dialog: A long-standing request from many developers is to have a user interface front end to manage Gradle project files. More work is planned, but Android Studio 3.4 includes the next phase of improvement in the Product Structure Dialog (PSD), which lets developers see and add dependencies to a project at a module level.
    • R8 by Default: Almost two years ago Google previewed R8 as the replacement for Proguard. R8 code shrinking helps reduce the size of an APK by getting rid of unused code and resources as well as making actual code take less space.
  • Test
    • Emulator Device Skins: Inside of Android Studio 3.4 Google released the latest Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL device skins.
    • Android Q Beta Emulator System Image Support: Developers now can download Android Q Beta emulator system images for app testing on Android Q.

More details on all of the above and much more can be found in the release notes. There are also release notes for the Android Grade plugin and the Android Emulator.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.