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Google Launches First Dedicated Android IDE

Google has used its I/O developer conference in San Francisco to announce the Android Studio IDE. Although the Android Development Tools (ADT) plug-in for the Eclipse IDE already exists, Android Studio will essentially be the first dedicated IDE for the search giant's mobile operating system.

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Google confirms that Android Studio IDE has been built and constructed on the base of the IntelliJ Idea Java IDE. So this IDE will be similar to what we see in Eclipse with the ADT Plugin.

Android Studio provides integrated Android developer tools for development and debugging. But Google warns that Android Studio is currently only available as an early access preview.

CAUTIONARY NOTE: Several features are either incomplete or not yet implemented and developers may encounter bugs, according to Google.

Software application development focused technology analyst at IDC Al Hilwa says that the pivot around the IntelliJ IDE is a big and significant shift for Google. He also suggests that IntelliJ is "less complex and more friendly" than Eclipse. The thinking here is that the Android Studio IDE could help Android reach a broader and wider cross section of developers.

Could this level the playing field with Apple after the company put its back into Xcode IDE?

Apple intends for Xcode to stand as an easier enabling route for coders to program for iOS apps on the iPhone and iPad — so essentially the space that competes with Android.

NOTE: Apple describes Xcode as tightly integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks. The Xcode toolset includes the Xcode IDE, with the Interface Builder design tool and Apple LLVM compiler fully integrated.

Android Studio offers Gradle-based build support. The Gradle build automation tools describes itself as combining the power and flexibility of Ant with the dependency management and conventions of Maven into a more effective way to build.

Android-specific refactoring and quick fixes also feature alongside Lint tools to catch performance, usability, version compatibility, and other problems. ProGuard and app-signing capabilities are included, as well as template-based wizards to create common Android designs and components.

This is "a rich layout editor that allows you to drag-and-drop UI components, preview layouts on multiple screen configurations, and much more," says Google.

Google Identity Team member Tim Bray said that during the Android portion of the Google I/O keynote, the team showed Cross-Platform Single Sign-On; the effect was that for Wallet and Google+ users, signing in to a web browser resulted in automatic download of, and sign-in to, an Android app.

"To support this, we have introduced general-purpose API tools, which allow developers to achieve cross-client authentication and authorization, in particular between Android and web apps," wrote Bray, in a blog post.

Bray also asserts that not having to sign in repeatedly feels "so natural" for users that they don't even notice it.

"As more and more apps deploy this sort of magic, you don't want to be the hold-out that's pestering users for passwords on websites or, worse, on tiny mobile-device keyboards. If you're writing server-side code and using libraries like Google+ Sign-In, once again, all the right things happen automatically; when you start accessing the service, the software imposes the minimum necessary pain on the user, ideally zero, and lets you get to work. The time is now to start moving your apps towards a sign-in-free future," said Google's Bray.

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