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Android Studio 2.3 Brings Build Cache, Improved Constraint Layout, and More

| by Sergio De Simone Follow 14 Followers on Mar 06, 2017. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Google has released version 2.3 of Android Studio, its official IDE for Android development, which adds a number of new features across the whole development phases.

UI Design

Introduced in version 2.2, ConstraintLayout is now stable in Android 2.3. Furthermore, it now supports distributing views along one direction and maintaining the aspect ratio of a widget when resizing its container.

In addition, PNG files can be converted into the compression compression format WebP, which provides up to 25% smaller files than PNGs.

Build

The build cache mechanism that was introduced in Android Studio 2.2 is now enabled by default and is effective in reducing build times.

Instant Run, a feature aimed to reflect code changes in the emulator without requiring a full app restart, has better reliability thanks to a significant reimplementation, and a less ambiguous UI. In particular, the Run button will now always trigger an app restart, while the Instant Run capability proper will be triggered by the new Apply changes action.

Develop

To make it easier to manage legacy lint warnings, Android Studio 2.3 allows to define a lint baseline, so only newer warnings will be displayed.

Managing deep linking for an app has become easier thanks to the App Link Assistant, which allows to define new intents for an app’s URLs, declare its website association using a Digital Asset Links file, and test its App Links-related capabilities.

Additional new features in Android Studio 2.3 are:

  • Improved Layout Editor palette, which now allows to sort and search widget and displays a preview.
  • Widget attributes can now be starred so they appear in the Favorites section.
  • The copy & paste feature has been reintroduced into the latest Android emulator.
  • The emulator tool has been moved to its own directory, and the android avd has been replaced by a new tool, avdmanager, dedicated to create and manage Android Virtual Devices.

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