The Pros and Cons of Android Studio and App Tools
Upon its release in 2014, Android Studio was a complete game changer for the world of smartphone app development.
An upgrade from its open-source predecessor (Eclipse), Android Studio and its app tools made things easier for mobile developers — and perhaps contributed to the already inspiring growth of the Android market share. Today, in 2022, Android controls nearly three quarters of the global market, with iOS falling way behind at 28%.
What are the pros and cons of Android Studio, though? What is it composed of — and what, more specifically, makes it such a popular option? Are there any downsides to using Android Studio?
What Is Android Studio?
In short, Android Studio is an IDE (integrated development environment) created by Google for developing Android apps. But unlike other IDEs, Android Studio is designed specifically for Android, which contains a suite of features and tools dedicated to this mobile OS.
Overall, as the official IDE for Android app development, Android Studio is meant to make things easier for developers.
The best part of it?
Android Studio is completely free to use, so you won't have to invest additional financial resources in using it (other than what you are already investing in your mobile app development and testing, of course).
Android Studio App Tools
Android Studio consists of a toolkit of app tools that help developers with every stage of the app development process. This toolkit is called the "Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and it includes the following.
Android SDK Build Tools
The Android SDK Build Tools help developers with the compiling and building process of their apps. This is done by converting the developer's code into machine code, which can then be run on Android devices. The main functions of Android SDK Build Tools are to build, debug, run, and test Android apps. The latest version is Revision 30.0.0 rc4.
Android Debug Bridge (ADB)
The Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is a command-line tool that allows Android mobile app developers to communicate with a machine and facilitates a variety of actions, such as installing or debugging applications.
Android Virtual Device (AVD) Manager
The Android Virtual Device (AVD) manager is a tool that allows developers to create and manage Android Virtual Devices, which are basically emulators that can be used to test how an app will run on different Android devices.
Android Studio Dolphin
Android Studio Dolphin is a tool that helps developers with the layout and design of their app's User Interface (UI).
The Layout Editor is a drag-and-drop tool that can help you quickly create and edit UI elements without having to write code.
Android Studio Features
The Android Studio features make it a popular choice for mobile developers, as it offers a suite of features that are designed to make app development easier. These features include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following.
Android Studio is based on the IntelliJ IDEA platform, which is a popular Java IDE. This makes it a good choice for developers who are already familiar with IntelliJ IDEA, as they will feel right at home using Android Studio.
Android Studio uses Gradle, which is a build automation system that helps developers with the compiling and building process of their app. In essence, this helps Android mobile app developers configure different builds, as well as create build variants for multiple mobile devices.
The real-time profilers in Android Studio help developers to identify and fix performance issues with their apps. This is done by providing them with real-time data on metrics such as CPU usage, network, memory, battery, and other resources.
Supported Programming Languages
Officially, Kotlin and Java are the two main languages supported by Android Studio (with Kotlin being more of a recent addition). However, Android Studio also supports other languages such as C and C++.
Alternatives to Android Studio
When you develop an Android mobile app, you don't have to use Android Studio. Here are alternatives to the IDE provided by Google:
- Eclipse: Although a bit older, is still used by some companies and developers
- IntelliJ: The IDE Android Studio is based on, but which is still used as a standalone environment
- Appcelerator: Another popular IDE used for cross-platform app development Adobe PhoneGap, which is an open-source framework used for developing mobile apps
- XCode: Apple's IDE and is used to develop iOS apps but can also be used for Android app development
- Xamarin: A Microsoft-owned cross-platform development tool that can be used to develop Android apps
Advantages of Using Android Studio
Without a doubt, Android Studio is a very popular choice — and for all the good reasons. Some of the main advantages of using Android Studio are the following.
One of the main advantages of using Android Studio is that it helps you code faster. This is due to features such as live rendering, which allows you to see the changes you make to your code in real time.
The new emulator in Android Studio 3.0 is considered to be very fast, which is a considerable advantage, especially considering that the slowness of the emulator used to be one of the things developers complained most about. With the new version, it is said it can start up in less than 6 seconds, allowing you to test your app on a wide range of different devices.
Testing is essential when you create a mobile app. Fortunately, Android Studio provides developers with everything they need to test their apps on a wide range of devices.
Firebase Support and Integrated Cloud
Android Studio comes with Firebase support and integrated cloud messaging. This is a great advantage as it allows developers to add push notifications and other such features to their apps with ease.
Android Studio is a feature-rich environment that provides developers with all the tools they need to create a high-quality Android mobile app, including:
- Analytics (such as security and app performance)
- App Indexing (which helps make the app easy to find in Google Search)
- An APK Analyzer (for APK elements assessment and APK size reduction)
- The Vector Asset Studio (which helps create vector assets)
- Translation Editor (to make additions and changes to all resources translations)
Another big advantage of Android Studio is that it aids team collaboration. For example, it allows developers to share and access code snippets with ease. They can also merge changes from different team members without having to worry about back-and-forth emails and messages.
Native to Android
Unlike some of the other IDEs, Android Studio is designed specifically for developing Android apps. This means it comes with everything you need to create a high-quality Android app.
Project Templates Available
When you create a project in Android Studio, you have the option to choose from several project templates. This is very useful as it can save a lot of time and it can help you overcome the initial hurdle of starting a project from scratch.
Disadvantages of Using Android Studio
Nothing is ever perfect, and Android Studio makes no exception. Some of the more commonly cited disadvantages of using Android Studio include slower installation, system lag, some higher hardware requirements, and that it uses a lot of RAM.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the most touted Android Studio cons.
High Hardware Requirements
One of the main problems with Android Studio is that it requires a lot of RAM and CPU power to run properly. This can be a big disadvantage, especially for developers working on a budget or those with older computers.
Some developers also complain about the system lagging in Android Studio, which may cause events and slow down the development process.
Uses a Lot of RAM
Another disadvantage of Android Studio is that it uses a lot of RAM. This can be particularly troublesome for developers with a limited amount of RAM or those working on older computers.
The Android Studio installation process is not the fastest, which can be a bit of a pain for developers who are in a hurry to get started.
Pros and Cons of Android Studio: Conclusion
All in all, Android Studio is a great tool for developing Android apps.
It comes with a wide range of features and it is constantly being updated with new ones. While it may lack in certain areas — predominantly the fact that it has pretty high system requirements — most developers agree that the advantages of using Android Studio outweigh the disadvantages. This is particularly true in the context of other IDEs, which don't cover all of the features of Android Studio (not to the same extent, at least).
Q1. Which programming language is used for Android Studio?
The primary languages used for Android studio are Java and Kotlin. However, other languages are supported as well, such as C and C++.
Q2. Is Android Studio a Java IDE?
Yes, Android Studio can be considered a Java IDE (integrated development environment), as it is based on IntelliJ, a Java IDE.
Q3. Is Android Studio for free?
Yes, Android Studio is free — but keep in mind that the system requirements for Android Studio tend to run high, so it's important to make sure your computers can run this IDE properly to avoid lagging, slowness, and disruption of the development process.
Need help selecting the right company?
We will do the work for you, all for free.
Tell us what you need