Android Studio 3.1 released – Lost Widgets


Android Studio 3.1 is a minor upgrade but it still has the power to cause problems for its users. So why are selectors and other familiar widgets gone?

If you are an expert user, then updating Android Studio is unlikely to be a problem for you. But for programmers who just want to write simple apps with a user interface created using the layout editor, fear of a new version is the norm. The problem is that installing the update usually results in breaking changes. These changes are usually easy to fix by upgrading the Gradle SDK or plugin. However, the upgrade fix is ​​usually reported using small messages in some window or other that you should notice and click to upgrade. Sometimes things don’t get resolved that easily. You will come across programmers who will say this is not a problem, but there are a significant number who find it very irritating.

Recently, the changes to Android Studio have been drastic – the introduction of Kotlin for example and the abandonment of the Jack compiler. This decimal point upgrade doesn’t seem to introduce anything drastic, which is a good thing.

If you’re more adventurous, however, you’ll notice that the Kotlin Linter can be run from the command line. I don’t know why I would want it, but here it is, it is now possible. Kotlin is also updated to 1.2.30, which you probably won’t notice. If you do a lot of SQL work, you’ll find the new code completion queries useful.

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The layout editor made some minor changes to the layout of the palette and this might be a bigger issue. Reordering may cause temporary problems finding widgets that you know the location of, but it passes quickly. More important is the apparent fact that some of your old favorites may well be missing. There is a new “Legacy” section and the “Advanced” section has disappeared. Along with that, NumberPicker, DataPicker, TimePicker, TextClock, Chronometer and as far as I know the Transitions category has completely followed all of its widgets.

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If you are relying on any of the missing widgets, my advice is do not upgrade until a workaround is available. There is no word from the Android Studio team on why these widgets were removed and no word on how to put them back.

It’s a mark of immaturity that such drastic changes can move from beta to final without anyone caring. Doesn’t the dev team realize they have users?

If the missing widgets were deprecated there should have been a warning and they should be in the Legacy section. Speaking of the Legacy section – the RelativeLayout has been moved there even though the TableLayout, which is arguably more legacy than any other layout, is still in the Layout section. If there has ever been a political reclassification, it is this one. The ConstraintLayout is still not everyone’s first choice, but it seems the message is now clear.

Compared to the changes made in the Layout Editor, most of the other changes are minor and you might just miss them.

The new D8 compiler is now the default, but you probably won’t notice the change. It claims to be faster and generates more efficient code. There is also a new build output window. It must be said that Android Studio has too many ways of telling you what’s going on – it’s an improvement, but only time will tell how good it is.

Quick start will resume the Android emulator in less than 6 seconds. Most people would probably say the emulator is better, but still slower than it should be. In fact, Android Studio as a whole needs a fairly powerful machine – around 6-8GB of memory for example – to perform reasonably well and even then you will have to wait for a first build.

There are some additional improvements to the profiler and a C ++ profiler is new.

You can see the promotional video below:

Overall, the changes are minor but welcome, but where have the widgets gone?

How can they talk about compilers, Gradle and so on without mentioning the missing widgets? I asked the Android development team and will let you know if I get a response.

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More information

Android Studio 3.1

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Android Studio 3.0

Kotlin – New Language for Android

Android Studio evolves to Java 8

Google’s Jack & Jill Java compiler project for Android is dead

The New Android Compilers – Meet Jack and Jill

Android Studio 2.3 – Need direction

Android Studio 2.2 Overview of the big changes!

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