Wednesday, December 24, 2014

MyNotes: Choosing an IDE

This app was originally developed using Eclipse, but Google is no longer releasing Android updates for that platform.  Now that Android Studio is officially released, it is my preference.

Honestly, this wasn't a hard choice.  I have been using Android Studio professionally for over a year. Back then I would have hesitated but it has definitely come a long way since then. I now prefer it just because it doesn't crash or hang on me frequently.  Besides, if I am going to go through all the rework anyway, now is the time to the migration.

New features that you might find useful are :
  • The ability to cross reference the XML resources.  You can show all usages of a resource or go to the resource definition from the code very easily.
  • It shows a little swatch with the color or image for a drawable in the xml.  It doesn't seem like much but it comes in really handy.
  • The Layout Preview actually works and it is the first IDE that I actually preview my layouts before I put them on a device.
  • It has a built-in nine patch editor.  I can take or leave this one.
  • The auto-completion for methods is much nicer than eclipse.
  • The files auto-save.
  • The local history is incredibly helpful when experimenting with files.
Some things you have to get use to:
  • The project structure is a little different.  We will get to this later in the next blog entry.
  • It doesn't do incremental builds (yet).
  • Gradle
  • The hot keys are very different, but can be configured to use the Eclipse hot keys.
  • The debugger and DDMS are mutually exclusive
  • You still need part of Eclipse for the Memory Analysis Tool
  • The tool windows can be annoying.
  • The documentation doesn't automatically appear when hovering over a method.
  • The auto-completion for documentation is irritating.

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