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Android Studio 2.3 Canary Available

posted Nov 11, 2016, 6:32 AM by Tor Norbye   [ updated Nov 11, 2016, 9:32 AM ]
We have just released Android Studio 2.3 to the Canary channel. This is an early preview of work going into the next major release of Android Studio. This build contains a large number of bug fixes and a handful of new features.

Below are highlights of some of the major changes in this release:

  • IDE: We've upgraded the base IDE from IntelliJ 2016.1 to 2016.2, which adds a number of new features -- ligatures, breadcrumbs, editor background images, revamped UI for inspections, notifications and the debugger, and more.

  • Layout Editor: The layout editor now supports chains and ratios for ConstraintLayout.

  • Lint
    • Lint now has "baseline support" which lets you check in a current set of warnings -- and from now on, only new issues are reported. This lets a project with a lot of technical debt set a baseline and then break the build only when new issues are introduced, without having to go and fix all existing issues first. In order not to forget about the technical debt though it creates an info-level issue which tells you that you've filtered out bugs:
    • There are many new lint checks. Some examples include enforcing the new @RestrictTo and @VisibleForTesting(otherwise=intended) annotations in support library 25, flagging obsolete SDK_INT checks, making sure animated properties are valid and not renamed in release builds,flagging potential wifi manager memory leaks, and many more. 
    • Learn more about the new lint checks, and the baseline support, in this tech doc.

  • WebP:  Android Studio 2.3 now provides PNG to WebP Conversion. With the new conversion wizard, you can quickly generate WebP images and if you're using the lossy encoding, inspect the diffs of your images. Using WebP images in your app saves APK space and is more performant. Learn more about the new WebP Support in this tech doc.

  • Data Binding: In addition to a lot of bug fixes in the editing support for data binding, there is a new feature to help debug apps using data binding. Normally the IDE will automatically compute the data binding classes "on the fly" such that they are always correct and up to date with your edits in the XML files. However, when you are debugging your app, you may want to see and step into exactly the code that was compiled. You can now enable this under preferences:

  • Pixel and Pixel XL: Pixel and Pixel XL device definitions added to the Layout Editor and AVD Manager to help  test your app with Android 7.1 Developer Preview Release. 

  • Incremental SDK Updates: This version of Studio includes support for incremental patching of SDK components, such as system images. We can now provide patches for system images (which are often very large) and updating those with Studio 2.3 will allow a much smaller and faster download.

  • Build System: Support for the new Gradle plugin 2.3.0. There are some notable changes:
    • The user cache for dex files is now enabled by default, which should speed up builds
    • Configuration times for very large projects should be significantly faster
    • For Instant Run, the "startup delay" (where large apps stall for a few seconds at startup) should be gone
    • Instant Run is using "APK Splits" when targeting Android N which is a bit more reliable than the classloader tricks it uses to target older platforms

  • Bug Fixes. A notable & highly requested enhancement ( we also added is a search box to the Vector Asset Wizard You can now quickly filter through the vector icons based on the name of the asset.
(NOTE: If you're using Kotlin, don't upgrade yet. The Kotlin plugin is being updated to work with 2.3. See .)

As always, please try it, feedback is very much encouraged!

You can update via the built-in update mechanism (switch to the canary channel if necessary), or you can download a separate install of the IDE such that you can keep 2.2.2 stable and 2.3 canary installed side by side.