The following is the first few sections of a chapter from The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, plus headings for the remaining major sections, to give you an idea about the content of the chapter.


Appendix C: Android P

Another year, another major Android release!

In March 2018, Google released the first developer preview of Android P, whose “tasty treat” has not yet been announced (but probably is not “pomegranate”).

This will ship as a new Android version — presumably 9.0 — later this year.

This appendix outlines what the developer preview is, how to start working with it, and what changes are coming to Android that affect you as a developer.

A Brief History of Developer Previews

For a long stretch of time — from late 2009 through early 2014 – Google did not offer any sort of developer preview of upcoming Android OS versions. Hence, for most of Android’s history, developers got new versions of Android (and the corresponding Android SDK platform releases) the same time that the public did. This was certainly easy enough for Google, but it caused a fair amount of trouble for developers with shipping apps. Sometimes, new versions of Android break things in existing apps, and without any sort of “beta” of new Android versions, developers had to scramble to get their apps updated while early adopters of the new Android version complained about the problems.

In 2014, Google stabilized their release process to a once-a-year major update to Android. Along with that, they began shipping a developer preview ahead of time, starting with 2014’s “L Developer Preview”, which later turned into Android 5.0 (a.k.a., Lollipop).

The way the developer previews work is that Android developers get early access to the SDK platform, firmware images, and emulators for an upcoming release of Android, before that update is given to ordinary users via over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates or on new hardware. This way, developers can try out their apps on the newer version, fix bugs, and perhaps start taking advantage of new capabilities that the new version of Android offers.

Google has taken some steps to try to prevent developers from shipping apps ahead of time that use the new Android SDK based on the developer previews. Presumably, the concern is one of compatibility, as Google reserves the right to change the public API between what is released in the preview and what finally officially ships. So, while developers can experiment using the previews, official app updates using the new Android version need to wait until that version is released.

Getting Started with the Preview

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Major Breaking Changes

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Major Features

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Other Notable Changes

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The Big Mystery: Slices

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Notes About the Support Library

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Getting Help with P

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