But the most uplifting news for Android developers found just after half an hour into a mammoth three-and-a-half-hour keynote was the news that Google is developing its own Android development environment.
For the past few months, I’ve been using IntelliJ as my preferred Android IDE, and it has, by and large, been a great experience. There are a few hiccups and changes from the usual Eclipse environment, but far less hair tearing and yelling than I was used to from working in Eclipse.
Even so, at times using IntelliJ, I have wished that it had tighter integration with Android’s tool set, and that the existing documentation and useful tools were not so Eclipse specific.
As a developer who has wrestled with Eclipse many times over the years, often after Eclipse upgrades itself produces incompatibilities with the Android tools, I am glad that Google has finally chosen to embrace an IDE and improve the development options available.
In the near future, there will hopefully be a development environment for Android that can rival the options available for iOS and Windows Phone. Eclipse may try, but it cannot keep up with Visual Studio, or even XCode. The Eclipse Foundation, which includes Google, has had well over a decade to make Eclipse a worthy IDE, but it suffers under its own weight.
IntelliJ might not be there at the moment, but it has the potential to be far better than Eclipse is.
Watch the clip below, and see the new features that have appeared in Android Studio already.
I’ve installed and upgraded IntelliJ from my Linux distribution’s package manager for many months, and never ended up in a place reminiscent of Eclipse upgrade hell, where I’ve needed to reinstall the IDE from scratch to blow away some borked preference files.
In short, Eclipse has been moved onto death row. It has taken a long time to get here, but Android developers can look forward to a better, and hopefully lighter, development experience.