Android Studio

I’ve been waiting months for a “ready for prime time” version of Android Studio. Its move from “Preview” to “Beta” (version 0.8) on June 26 became my signal to dive in deep and use it for real work. After all “beta” in Google terms usually means a level of quality some products don’t achieve with years of “GA” releases.

Android Studio inherits many of its benefits from IntelliJ. I like the speed and stability, the quality of the development and rendering tools, the productivity, the rich static code analysis, and all the other benefits that come from its IntelliJ underpinnings.  I’ve bounced back and forth between Eclipse keymaps and IntelliJ defaults, but settled on the IntelliJ’s, with the cheat sheet on hand. “When in Rome,” don’tchaknow, although I haven’t yet joined the Darcula side. Even from a few days’ use, I’m sold on IntelliJ and certainly don’t miss Eclipse’s crashes and stalls.

I’m also pleased with the Gradle-based build system and AAR support. After fighting with Maven plugin bugs, apklib hacks, and other Eclipse-Maven clashes, it’s refreshing to have a build system that is elegant, is backed by Google, and just works. The factoring of content across build.gradle files, manifests, etc., is clean and DRY, and the Android-specific checks guide you toward best practices.

The main downside is that there is no automatic nor incremental build as with Eclipse, so builds are slower and many errors aren’t discovered during editing. Build speed will likely improve as it exits beta (perhaps with the help of parallel builds), but the rest is just the IntelliJ way.

Still, I’m happy with both IntelliJ and the Android Studio so far. Now if I could only switch from MyEclipse to IntelliJ for server-side code…

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