App Development

Google I/O 2017: day 1 developer keynote recap

The Developer Keynote elaborated on a few reveals mentioned earlier during the main keynote. It’s to no one’s surprise that Kotlin was one of the big focuses. This is a huge win for Android. Although Kotlin has been used by major companies up to this point, this makes the Android to Kotlin relationship official. Kotlin is a relatively new language that was created by JetBrains, the same team that builds the IntelliJ IDE (which Android Studio is derived from). Because Kotlin compiles down to the same bytecode as Java, it can be executed by the JVM, meaning Kotlin code can run anywhere that Java code can! Also, Kotlin is fully interoperable with Java, meaning that both languages can call into the other. So it will be possible for Android developers to write any portion of their app in Java and/or Kotlin, without having to completely commit to using one or the other.

The Google Android team decided that the new language should come with new tools to help improve application quality. Profiling tools are being added to Android Studio. With the latest release of Android Studio (AS), developers will now be able to easily monitor their applications CPU usage, Network traffic, and Memory allocation. This will be a really great tool that WillowTree will certainly utilize on a daily basis. Is your app running slow? Want to know how much network traffic your app is actually causing? Ever wonder exactly how much your app relies on the CPU? Now all of that data is just a click away! No more proxying your own app just to monitor and inspect all of it’s network traffic! No more using third party solutions for detecting memory leaks! With the new Profiling Tools in AS developers will be able to keep their app performing at its best, while consuming the minimum amount of device resources necessary, and all much easier than it has ever been before.

Instant Apps receive an honorable mention in the Keynote. If you haven’t heard about this feature - get excited! Instant Apps is a totally new paradigm in the native app world. Now any developer can build an Instant App and provide their products’ native experience directly to a user’s mobile devices without them ever downloading or installing anything! Every Instant App is just one click away. Anywhere you can click on a link right now that would traditionally take you to a mobile-optimized website, you can now replace that experience with an Instant App. Google has completely removed the barrier of actually getting users to install your app. Now they don’t even need to know that you have an app! The link can come from search results, text message, email, etc. All the user does is click the link, and they are instantly provided with your products native mobile experience. For an even deeper dive into WillowTree’s take on Instant Apps, check out this great blog.

As CEO Sundar Pinchai proclaimed during the main Google I/O keynote, Google’s priority is AI-first. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they’ve done an update to their hardware that makes it possible to do AI at scale. Introducing the second version of the TensorFlow Processing Unit (TPU) on the cloud, an incredible processing unit that can train and run models that is now available on the Google Cloud Platform. Cloud TPU will have a pay-for-use model and provide public access to one of the most powerful AI processing tools in the world. Now you can create models from scratch or utilize Google’s high-level, machine learning APIs to help process your images, video, audio, and natural language inputs. Cloud TPU brings machine learning to your average, non-PhD developer and does it to scale.

The Chrome team stepped up to continue promoting Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) and rightly so. PWAs feel native on Android - providing the same key experiences you get from using a native application, like living with the other native applications in App Launcher and pushing real-time notifications. However, the primary appeal to users and developers alike is that PWAs can accomplish a native feel with minimal resources. Feeling excited about PWAs? Good. The Chrome team was anticipating that and moved Lighthouse web application auditing to Chrome Developer Tools. Now you can test your application and see how you can become more modern and more progressive and more accessible. Game on. To hear more from the Chrome Team, check out our write up about the Mobile Web: State of the Union session.

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