The big news this month is the release of Android Q Beta. As usual, the updated OS means more work for Android devs, but also more opportunities. There are a number of interesting new features and options for us to play around with, and you’ll find more information on all of them below. We’re putting together a guide to Android Q from a developer perspective as I write this, so keep your eyes peeled to the site for more on that.
March sees a smattering of other news from across all corners of Android development too, including some things that developers need to be aware of. Creators will now have to meet new app and game icon specifications, game makers will be able to benefit from a couple of interesting new tools, and the AOSP is seeing some updates to its core apps.
You’ll find everything you need to know right here, along with a helping of useful and interesting tutorials and opinion pieces to get stuck into. There’s a guide to C#, a tour of Facebook’s mobile development process, and lots more.
Tutorials and features from Android Authority
Everything new in the first Android Q developer preview – An excellent breakdown from Jimmy and Lanh of everything new coming to Android Q that we know about so far.
An inside look at Facebook’s mobile app development process – Adam Sinicki (that’s me) takes a guided tour of Facebook’s Release Engineering Team in London to discover the workflow, tools, and strategies they use to keep their Android apps up-to-date and add new features. It was a fascinating look at development on the largest scale.
An introduction to C# for Android for beginners – This post does what it says on the tin: it’s an introduction to the C# language for those unfamiliar. When you think of Android development, you typically think of either Java or Kotlin. In fact, there are many scenarios where knowing C# is beneficial (Unity, Xamarin), so use this post to brush up.
An introduction to XML for new Android developers – the powerful markup language – Another crucial component in your Android development: XML is a markup language used to define layouts and store data. Learn what it is and how to use it here.
How to make an Android game – for complete beginners – Want to make a game but don’t know where to start? This post is for you – and will outline the tools, the methodology, and some common mistakes to avoid.
The best Android app makers for creating apps and building them with zero code (updated) – If you want to avoid learning to code altogether, then an app-builder might just hold the answer. This post lists a large number of different options and compares them in terms of features, pricing, and quality.
Android development news and announcements
Get Android Q Beta – Want to have a stab at developing for the future of Android? Get instructions from Google here on how to get started.
Introducing Android Q Beta – On March 13, Beta 1 of Android Q was released for early adopters along with a preview SDK for devs. This post outlines the changes that Google has announced so far, including some future-proofing support for foldable devices, as well as more immediately useful features such as a quicker sharing shortcut, quick settings, wider support for Vulkan, and the ability to grab dynamic depth images. And of course, there are the usual improvements to security and privacy to consider. More soon.
Android Q Beta 2 – Google announced the second Android Q developer preview on the Android Developers Blog. Key features include a new foldables emulator, a new MicrophoneDirection APIR, Google’s own take on floating chat heads – called Bubbles – and more.
Introducing a new Google Play app and game icon specification – As of May 1, all new apps uploaded to the Play Store will need to conform to new icon standards. By June 24, developers will need to update their existing apps as well. Changes are minor – essentially corners are going to be more rounded – but you can get the lowdown at the link.
Giving users more control over their location data – Every time Google makes a change to streamline and improve the experience for users, it equates to a headache for us devs! In Android Q, users will have more control over location permissions, which means they’ll be able to opt for apps to only access location data while “in use”. Devs will need to add a new permission to the manifest and manage the new setting. The new feature is available to test in Q Beta, and you can find more info in the post.
Google Mobile Developer Day at Game Developers Conference – Stadia may be the big gaming announcement from Google, but the company hasn’t left us traditional mobile devs completely in the lurch. At Game Developers Conference 2019, Google hosted Google Mobile Developer Day, and shared some useful new features including pre-registration moving to general availability, which should help creators to market and build hype, and store listing experiments allowing you to A/B test changes to your app.
AOSP Application Updates – This post from Google looks at some recent changes made to the Android Open Source Project. Specifically, with regards to the Music, Calendar, and Calculator apps.
Changes to the Google Play Developer API – Google announces some updates to the Google Play Developer API. Developers will need to switch to version 3 starting from December 1, 2019. This post explains the migration process.
The latest Android App Bundle updates including the additional languages API – App Bundles now make it possible for the Play Store to push only the correct language resources for the user during install time.
Projects and opinions from the web
Design and Git: Guidelines for effective design version control – This is a post that provides some useful best practices for version control when using Git.
Best strategy to load images using Glide – Image loading library for Android – Some helpful advice for getting more from the popular image loader library.
Building a Fibonacci Watch Face for Wear OS – A cool – if admittedly nerdy – little project for Wear OS.
How did I “crack” the coding interview – Whether you’re looking for tips, or just some schadenfreude (it’s always great when you’re not the one doing being interviewed!), this is an interesting post about the interview process for Google’s Android Partnerships Team.
Android: Using Physics-Based Animations in Custom Views (SpringAnimation) – An introduction to the SpringAnimation class, which can provide some crisp and polished-looking animations.
How I fought modders and crackers (Android-Tamper-Detector) – A personal account from a dev who managed to protect his app using Android-Tamper-Detector – a lightweight library written in Kotlin. This account has personal resonance for yours truly and hopefully can help others protect their IP!