The Future of Android UI Development

Escalating Android UI Development to The Next Level

An old proverb goes, “A proficient worker relies on their tools,” stating the same significance for developers.

The efficiency of a developer primarily relies on the tools they possess. While a superior set of tools cannot always metamorphose a substandard developer into an excellent one, they can vastly lessen the time and sweat entailed in accomplishing a task.

In our latest online technical session, we had the privilege to have a conversation with Anna-Chiara Bellini, Product Manager for Jetpack Compose at Google, to obtain knowledge about what lies ahead for native Android UI development and how it will impact the developer community.

Around a month ago, we introduced Jetpack Compose, a groundbreaking native user interface tool for Android devices. This contemporary UI toolkit enables users to fabricate UIs in a swifter and more user-friendly manner, with reduced lines of code.

Transitioning to a Declarative Model

Anna emphasises that the primary goal was to simplify the procedure of developing a user interface for an application by employing the descriptive attributes of this toolkit.

Previously, designing even a basic user interface necessitated considerable programming efforts. For example, prior to this toolkit, one had to manually build the XML layout, load the pertinent resources, and animate each module separately.

The preliminary UI toolkit was fabricated at a period when user interfaces were conspicuously less complex and advanced than they are currently.

Developing Android applications conventionally necessitated multiple procedures to construct the user interface, which raised concerns since some condition information was saved in XML, whereas other parts were saved in different views, making transition between states quite challenging.

Jetpack Compose utilises a descriptive structure where the condition is driven to the UI in a unidirectional manner.

According to her, altering the user interface (UI) is feasible only by modifying the condition. Hence, a condition must be initially set for the creation of the UI. Consequently, a second state can be established that will result in a distinct UI. This is the sole approach to modifying the UI.

As a result of this alteration, the exertion has now been shifted from the developer to the toolkit.

It is crucial to bear in mind that the code written by one person may not be the sole code executed. Those who wish to regulate individual pixels must adjust their strategy. However, there are approaches to aid with this, and we have endeavoured to make them as easy as possible.

Bellini credits the success of Compose to community engagement. All of Compose’s code is accessible to the public, allowing us to externally collaborate and obtain feedback from a wider range of experts. This permitted us to exceed our dependence solely on internal resources and ensured a broad scope of knowledge. Our technical team is exceptional, but community collaboration was imperative to our achievement.

We strived to aid individuals in attaining outcomes. We comprehend that expending time to ensure things function adeptly can be an unenjoyable experience. By creating a more intimate connection between your concepts and the result, the app development process can become more pleasurable.

Boosting Your Energy

Animation has always posed a challenge, hence we have prioritised keeping animations uncomplicated in Compose. As Bellini points out, current UIs are dynamic and incorporate motion extensively. Additionally, we have considered the escalating number of form factors that Android caters to, including phones, tablets, Chromebooks, and wearables.

As a Product Manager, the most rewarding aspect is generating a product that individuals want to utilise and that brings them joy. When we initially introduced our Animation API, developers promptly embraced the challenge and established animations that were previously unimaginable. It is the greatest compensation for a Product Manager.

If Anna’s virtual technical training piqued your interest, explore our other on-demand webinars for more vital perspectives!

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