Android’s Jetpack Compose has reached alpha. It is a modern UI toolkit designed to help developers quickly and easily build apps across all Android platforms with native access to the platform APIs.
Jetpack Compose focuses on providing APIs for high-quality apps at scale, an intuitive language, and a reactive programming model, the team explained.
The Compose APIs were designed and developed with a set of canonical sample apps that use the newly-released Material Design. Users can import and explore the latest samples directly in Android Studio as well.
The alpha release includes animations, a constraint layout, initial A11Y support, input and gestures, interoperability with views, lazy lists, and more. The full list of alpha release features is available here.
Android also added new capabilities to Android Studio 4.2 canary in partnership with the JetBrains Kotlin team to help build apps in Compose.
Jetpack Compose is a fully declarative component-based approach, meaning developers describe their UI as functions that transform data into a UI hierarchy. When the underlying data changes, the Compose framework automatically updates the UI hierarchy, making it simple to build UIs easily and quickly, according to Google.
When it comes to migrating over to the framework, users can add Compose elements into your existing UI, either by creating an entirely new Compose-based screen, or by adding Compose elements into an existing fragment or view layout or add a view-based UI element into their composable function.
“Migrating to Compose depends on you and your team. If you’re building a new app, the best option might be to implement your entire UI with Compose. We know that most of you have large existing codebases, so rather than rewriting your app, you can combine Compose with your existing UI design,” the team stated.
Other additions to the release include MDC Compose Theme Adapter, which allows users to reuse their existing Material Components themes within their Compose UI and powerful tooling in Android Studio.