Android Studio 3.4 - Trying Hard But No Bouquets
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 22 April 2019

It's time for another Android Studio update. It brings nothing much new, but promises that it is better. Yet my old projects still crash on update and where are the missing widgets? You have to conclude Google's Android Studio team is just not listening.

 

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Android currently seems to all about the catchily named project Marble.

Project Marble is our focus on making the fundamental features and flows of the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) rock-solid.

And yet, as I already said, update is still as painful as ever. The new version installed, but my old projects failed to compile because of a new Gradle. I know some people don't complain about this, but equally I have no idea what they are doing that I'm not. After a while fiddling, it all now works, but why do I/we have to do this on every incremental update?

Even though they are trying to make things better, not much has actually improved and Android programmers continue to suffer from constant churn. The new app resource management tool is good, but there go hundreds of pages of tutorials to help you get started, now all outdated. The emulator is improved yet again and it has been updated to support Android Q Beta - more churn.

Overall the IDE is still slow and you have to throw the largest machine you can find at it - and don't think of trying to do anything else at the same time. Sometimes it is snappy and then occasionally it just pauses for a little too long to be comfortable. This is a problem that seems to be getting worse not better. 

The layout Properties Panel has been improved with minor tweaks:

"Now we just have one single pane, with collapsible sections for properties. Additionally, errors and warnings have their own highlight color, we have a resource binding control for each property, and we have an updated color picker."

But the improvements are so small that it probably isn't worth the churn produced.

The complete list of enhancements is:

Develop

  • Resource Manager
  • Import Intentions
  • Layout Editor Properties Panel
  • IntelliJ 2018.3.4 Platform Update

Build

  • Project Structure Dialog
  • R8 by Default

Test

  • Emulator Device Skins
  • Android Q Beta Emulator System Image Support

The way that Android Studio with the help of the Jetpack effort makes Android development a moving target is regrettable, especially so for the beginner. It is important that the Android Studio team moves to a less frequent release - yearly, or better only release when there is something added that make it worth the change. An IDE should be immutable unless there is a pressing reason to change.

Check out the promo video - you might be more sympathetic than I am:

Android Studio doesn't do the beginner any favors and it probably provides features that the advanced Android programmer uses only rarely. Currently it looks over-complex and much of it is a mystery to the beginner and expert alike.

 

 

More Information

Announcement of Android Studio 3.4

Related Articles

Android Studio 3.3 - Trying Harder?

Android Studio 3.2 Released - More Cruft Than Substance

JetPack And Android Studio 3.2 - Not Much New

Chromebook Tablets - The End of Android?

Android Studio 3.1 Released - Widgets Lost

Android KTX - Kotlin Extensions

Kotlin - New Language For Android

Android Studio Moves Toward Java 8

Google's Jack & Jill Android Java Compiler Project Is Dead

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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 April 2019 )