Google announces Android Studio Arctic Fox

Android Studio is the tool of choice for most developers who create Android apps. Google regularly releases updates to the IDE to add new features and fix bugs. Almost two months ago he rolled out Android Studio 4.1, and version 4.1.1 is currently the stable version. The company also started testing Android Studio 4.2 in its beta channel a day ago.

Now, he’s announced a new version of the software – codenamed Android Studio Arctic Fox – in his Canary channel, and it comes with a new release agreement dubbed version 2020.3.1. Under the previous naming system, this would have been Android Studio 4.3.

The new naming convention brings more visibility to developers, allowing them to quickly identify the release year of a version. It also aligns it with IntelliJ IDEA, which Android Studio is based on. Finally, it also removes the coupling with the versions of the Android Gradle plug-in, the new version of the plug-in being AGP 7.0.0-alpha01, which is also a new semantic naming convention.

The name of the Android Studio version is described as “{IntelliJ version year}. {Major version of IntelliJ}. {Studio major version}This means that the full name of the latest version is Android Studio Arctic Fox (2020.3.1) Canary 1.

With the new naming convention, Google is also switching to using animal names as code names. Starting with “Arctic Fox” this will be incremented alphabetically with each major release. The company hopes this will make it easier to reference versions. This is similar to what Google has done previously with major Android updates, naming them after incrementing alphabetical dessert names, a convention it ditched with Android Q.

Moving on to the new features of Arctic Fox, Google fixed more than 200 bugs. It added new features to Jetpack Compose, as well as a new layout validator that allows developers to see how their app responds to different layouts and screen modes such as colorblind mode. An improvement specific to macOS is that developers can now pair Android 11 devices over Wi-Fi. This capability will also arrive on other platforms soon. Finally, Google warned that:

We recommend that you use the latest version of Android Studio in order to have access to the latest features and quality improvements. To make updating easier, we’ve changed the version to clearly separate Android Studio from your version of the Android Gradle plug-in. An important detail to keep in mind is that there is no impact on the way the build system compiles and packages your application when you update the IDE. In contrast, changes to the app creation process and APKs / Bundles are dictated by the AGP version of your project. Therefore, you can safely update your Android Studio version even late in your development cycle, as the AGP version of your project may be updating at a different rate than your Android Studio version. Finally, with the new version system, it is even easier than before for you or your team to run the stable and preview versions of Android Studio at the same time on your app project as long as you keep the AGP version. on a stable version.

For production quality apps, it is obviously recommended to use the stable version of Android Studio, but if you want to try new features, you can download the latest versions from the beta and Canary channels here.

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