Crump mentioned other new Android Studio features popular with developers, including the ProGuard Java class file shrinker and optimizer, and its outsigning capabilities. More importantly, he highlighted how the IDE hooks in with other Google products, including built-in support for Google Cloud Platform, enabling simpler integration of the cloud’s App Engine and messaging into apps with a single sign-in for developers.
Crump said the transition from Eclipse to Android Studio is relatively painless, and that developers are well served by moving under Google’s umbrella.
“It’s the best thing for developers,” Crump said. “With Eclipse, Android was an afterthought. The Eclipse IDE has been around a long time, and Android was just added to it, whereas Android Studio has been built specifically for Android apps.”
Yet the warm reception toward the in-house IDE doesn’t mean developers are flocking to Android Studio 1.0 and its subsequent releases right away. A large number of Android developers still use and rely on the Eclipse ADT plug-in, which remains one of the most popular plug-ins in the Eclipse Marketplace.
“I think many ADT users are disappointed by Google’s decision to no longer support ADT,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. “We still see a large community using ADT with Eclipse. It is one of the most popular plug-ins we have on Eclipse Marketplace, with 10,000 to 12,000 downloads per month.”
Milinkovich explained that while the Eclipse ADT plug-in is no longer in active development, its Motodev Studio tools are now being hosted at Eclipse under a fork of ADT called Andmore. According to him, the community effort led by experienced Eclipse developers refactors Google ADT plug-ins, and its creators plan to add Gradle tooling—the lack of which is one of the main knocks on Eclipse as opposed to Android Studio.
“I expect to see Andmore develop a very successful and committed community,” said Milinkovich. “We would love to see developers and contributors join the effort.”
The other elephant in the Android IDE room is Visual Studio. While Intel’s McVeigh said that Android Studio 1.0 has clearly improved, and developers now consider it viable for mainstream development, he also said a large number of developers continue to express that Visual Studio provides a richer experience for client development.
Xamarin’s Hill echoed the same sentiment, explaining that through the company’s cross-platform mobile development implementations, developers coding apps in .NET and C# are unaffected by the shift to Android Studio and have chosen to remain in Visual Studio.