The Android development team has announced a number of new updates to help developers maximize their productivity when developing for Android devices. The announcements come from the annual Android Developer Summit, which is happening today.   

Much of the news revolves around Jetpack Compose, which is a UI toolkit that the team released over a year ago.  

At the Summit, the team is releasing the latest stable version of Compose, the October ‘22 release. One new addition in this release is the inclusion of a Bill of Materials (BOM), which will make it easier for developers to track releases of Compose.

According to the team, it will allow developers to simply define a BOM rather than needing to define each version of Compose separately in the Gradle dependencies block. 

This release also reworks how Modifiers work behind the scenes. Developers won’t be able to notice the change across their APIs, however this change will lay the foundation for improving Modifier performance. 

The October ‘22 release also fixes an accessibility bug in Popups and Dialogs. This fix changes the maximum elevation from 30dp to 8dp. 

In addition, there is a new layout type, LookAheadLayout, that provides information about final measurement and placement of children, enabling developers to make more informed decisions about intermediate layouts. 

Other new features in this release include the abilities to:

  • Implement staggered grids
  • Draw text directly to a Canvas
  • Add a variable font 
  • Add UrlAnnotation to improve accessibility 
  • Add hyphenation to text
  • Swipe to refresh
  • Add snapping behavior to lazy lists

The team has also announced the first stable release of Compose Material 3, which includes updated versions of many UI components, including buttons, cards, checkboxes, switches, navigation bars, drawers, and more. 

New updates in Android Studio include animation coordination, multipreview annotations, and recomposition counts in Layout Inspector. The team also announced beta features including Live Edit, composition rendering highlighting, configuring Preview devices, and live updates in Previews, and canary features including Live Edit being turned on by default and improved composition tracking.