Android Studio Flamingo shows live preview of compose UIs on the device

Google has released Android Studio Flamingo. The development environment for Android brings some new preview functions: Live Edit shows changes in interaction with the UI toolkit Compose on a connected device. The IDE also shows how background images affect themed app icons and dynamic colors.

Similar to how previous Android releases had the names of candies in alphabetical order, since 2021 every Android Studio version has an animal as its godfather. After Arctic Fox, Bumblebee, Chipmunk, Dolphin and Electric Eel, it’s the flamingo’s turn this time.

Android Studio is based on JetBrains’ development environment IntelliJ IDEA, and the basis for the current release is IntelliJ IDEA 2022.2 released in July 2022. Its number is included in the version of Android Studio, which has the version number 2022.2.1.

The stable release of the Compose toolkit for creating UIs was released in 2021 in parallel with Android Studio Arctic Fox. Compose follows a declarative approach and a reactive programming model. So-called composable functions define the individual control elements – or parts of them. Over @Composable Decorated functions can be nested in each other to ultimately create the interface. The code describes the basic appearance of the interface, and the toolkit under the hood takes care of the implementation in the tree structure of the UI

The editor has long offered a preview window for compose UIs, and since the Dolphin release it has been able to display variants for different device types in parallel. With the new live edit function, the development environment transfers changes to the UI created with Compose directly to a connected end device or an Android emulator. Live Edit transfers the changes either manually when saving or automatically each time a composable function is adjusted.

Android Studio transfers changes to the UI directly to an emulator or a device.

(Image: Google)

Live Edit is marked as experimental in the current release and some limitations are noted in the documentation.

Android 13 (API Level 33) introduced themed icons that change color to match the selected background. Apps must provide a black and white icon as a basis for this. The new Android Studio shows a preview of the icon for different backgrounds.

Dynamic colors are part of the Material 3 design specification. The Flamingo release also offers a preview function for them. The component knows about this @Preview the new attribute wallpaper.

The new wallpaper attribute controls the preview rendering of dynamic colors.

(Image: Google)

Other innovations in Android Studio Flamingo such as customizable configurations of an app for profiling and enhancements to the Network Inspector can be found on the Android Developer blog. The new Gradle plug-in 8.0 brings some changes that may require adjustments to your own projects. An article describes the measures and a tool is intended to help with the upgrade. Android Studio can be downloaded from the project page for Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS.


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