Google launches stable version of Android Studio 2.3

Google has been quite busy knuckling down to improve Android Studio over the past few months. The company launched the first beta of Android Studio 2.3 back in December, shortly after the massive release of Android Studio 2.2.

Developers have been testing the beta over the past couple of months, so it may not come as a surprise that Google has decided the software is stable enough to be released publicly. The new update builds upon the features many have already been testing in the beta.

Android Studio 2.3 is not the crème de la crème filled with a trove of juicy new features as Android Studio 2.2 was. The focus of 2.3 is on the quality of features that were previously introduced. For example, Google has significantly tweaked the Instant Run feature to make it much more reliable. Pressing the Run button will now force an application restart so that the changes in your code are reflected in the application preview window.

Here is a rundown of improvements and features Android Studio 2.3 brings to the table:

Build

  • Instant Run Improvements and UI Changes: The Run action will now always cause an application restart to reflect changes in your code that may require a restart. The new Apply Changes action will attempt to swap the code while your apps keep running. The underlying implementation has changed significantly to improve reliability.
  • Build Cache: Introduced but disabled by default in Android Studio 2.2, Build Cache is an underlying build optimization for faster builds in Android Studio. By caching exploded AARs and pre-dexed external libraries, the new build cached leads to faster clean builds.

Design

  • Chains and Ratios support in ConstraintLayout: Android Studio 2.3 included the stable release of ConstraintLayout. With this release ConstraintLayout, you can now chain two or more Android views bi-directionally together to form a group on one dimension. ConstraintLayout also supports ratios, which is helpful when you want to maintain the aspect ratio of widgets.
  • Layout Editor Palette: The updated widget palette in the Layout Editor allows you to search, sort and filter to find widgets for your layouts.
  • Layout Favorites: You can now save your favorite attributes per widget in the updates Layout Editor properties panel.
  • WebP Support: WebP images can now be generated from PNG assets in your project, saving space (up to 25 percent) in your APK. There is also a new wizard that converts PNG to lossless WebP, allowing you to inspect loosy WebP encoding.
  • Material Icon Wizard Update: The updated vector asset wizard supports search and filtering, plus it includes labels for each icon asset.

Develop

  • Lint Baseline: With Android Studio 2.3, you can set unresolved lint warnings as a baseline in your project. From that point forward, Lint will report only new issues. This is helpful if you have many legacy lint issues in your app, but just want to focus on fixing new issues.
  • App Links Assistant: Supporting Android App Links in your app is now easier with Android Studio. The new App Links Assistant allows you to easily create new intent filters for your URLs, declare your app's website association through a Digital Asset Links file, and test your Android App Links support.
  • Template Updates: By default, all templates in Android Studio 2.3 which use to contain RelativeLayout, now use ConstraintLayout. There is also a new Bottom Navigation Activity template, which implements the Bottom Navigation Material Design guideline.
  • IntelliJ Platform Update: Android Studio 2.3 includes the IntelliJ 2016.2 release, which has enhancements such as an updated inspection window and a notifications system.

Test

  • Android Emulator Copy & Paste: Back by popular demand, Google has added the Copy & Paste feature to the latest Emulator (v25.3.1).
  • Android Emulator Command Line Tools: The emulator has been moved from the SDK Tools folder into a separate emulator directory. The “android avd” command has been deprecated and replaced with a standalone avdmanager command. If you create Android Virtual Devices (AVDs) directly through the command line you should update any corresponding scripts.

You can download Android Studio 2.3 for Windows, Mac, and Linux directly from Google's Android Studio.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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