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Hi, Sten the Product Manager from JRebel for Android here. People keep asking me about the differences between JRebel for Android and Google’s own Instant Run. Since Android Studio 2.0 has finally been released, this is a good time to compare the two.
Back in November of 2015, Google announced Android Studio 2.0. Complete with a totally new feature titled “Instant Run”. Delivering faster build times to Android developers by supporting hot swapping code and resources in an already running application. The idea itself is nothing that new — it has been present in Java for over a decade. JRebel, the Java code reloading tool for Java SE/EE, has been enhancing developers’ lives for the past 8 years. This leads us to JRebel for Android. A tool that is approximately 1.5 years old, bringing the same technology to Android developers.
Today, I will provide an overview of how Google’s Instant Run and JRebel for Android handle code and resource changes. Side by side.
Android development is great so long as your project stays relatively small. As the functionality of your project grows you’ll find that your build times follow suit. This puts you in the position where you spend most of your time figuring how to make your build run faster rather than adding more value to your actual app.
The interwebs are packed full with suggestions of how to squeeze the most out of your Gradle builds. There are some great posts on this, including ours “Making Gradle builds faster”. Although you can win back seconds and maybe even minutes, yet some bottlenecks will still remain in your build.
One thing you can try is JRebel for Android. It takes a different approach by not introducing a new apk after each change. Instead apk gets installed once and delta packages are shipped over to the device or emulator and are applied during runtime. This logic is nothing new and has been present in the Java EE/SE with JRebel for more than 8 years.
Long story short I’m on a journey to write an Android application after a break. As I’m in the middle of picking my image loading library I thought about writing a short summary of my journey. Maybe you are new to Android or just haven’t done it for a while, I hope you’ll get some ideas and help from here.
Here is a quick recap of what I’ve been doing with these image loading libraries and how I intend to use them in the application.
My criteria for picking the image loading library is pretty simple:
- Simple API that should be easily wrappable behind an interface so I can replace it anytime.
- Ease of image manipulation: rotating, scaling, blurring, mirroring and so on.
- Caching — the library should store the images on the device and avoid pulling more data than needed.
Google recently announced that the next version of Android, dubbed Android N, is ready for a developer preview. The preview gives us, as developers, a chance to test our code against the next release before it’s launched, including the new APIs and report any behavioral changes that break us. This release has only been baking for a couple of months, but some of the amazing features are starting to smell great already and we’re very excited about them — you should be too!
I wrote my first Android application about 5 years ago, using Eclipse, Ant and loads of old school stuff — no fragments, barely any 3rd party libraries to choose from. I’ve since moved to Android Studio and Gradle, but it has been a year and a half since I’ve sat down and actually written something from scratch to the end. Nowadays, I’m the product manager for the JRebel for Android tool, by ZeroTurnaround, that enables you to reload your application code on your Android device or any emulator without needing to repackage or reinstall the app — you know, those things that take an annoyingly long amount of time. I’d be delighted if you tried it and would gladly hear your feedback on how it improves your productivity as an Android developer.
Having said that I’m still involved with application development on Android and I have a pet project I want to implement, but first I’ve been lurking around the scene to understand what’s hip. I know that I will have to load images, do network requests, cache some data – pretty common stuff I’d say. Today I’m picking my image loading library!
JRebel for Android enables live Android development by skipping the time consuming build and install steps each time you make a change. Early access for JRebel for Android has been available for nearly a month. Now is a good time to look under the hood and understand how JRebel for Android works it magic.
Meet JRebel for Android. This plugin drops build and installation time from minutes to mere seconds. Press Save and you will instantly see the changes on the device or an emulator. Today we are announcing the beta program for JRebel for Android.
Experience live Android development with JRebel for Android. Check out this video.
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