UPDATED 16:15 EST / MAY 11 2022

APPS

How Google aims to make app building easier for developers no matter the tool

Google LLC produces a large number of tools for developers to build apps quickly across a multitude of devices, a development that’s increasingly important in a world where software development operates at an accelerating pace.

However, with an ever-growing number of tools, it also means that developers face complex workflows that mean they must connect a raft of different services and software. As a result, they often find themselves needing to solve problems by running tools separately.

The overarching theme of this year’s Google I/O developer keynote was about making life easier for developers by simplifying how Google’s tools work together, enabling them to build across devices and providing the guidance they need to understand best practices.

Speaking in an interview with SiliconANGLE, Google Vice President of Developer Products and Communities Jeanine Banks said those insights into helping the community came from listening to the developers and investing in their needs.

“When we thought about some of the things, we’ve been hearing from developers about how Google could make the biggest difference in their work in how they could take their work and make it into reality, it came down to: ‘Hey, you have great tools, we like using them, but it could be easier to use them together,’” Banks said.

For example, one of the announcements from today’s keynote included Flutter 3, which is Google’s multiplatform user interface app development framework. Developers can now more easily connect Flutter with Firebase, Google’s backend infrastructure management.

This theme, Banks explained extends into another area for Google, which is to enable developers to build for a multidevice world. That has become even more important now that Android is beginning to control more than just phones, but also larger-screen devices such as tablets and Chrome laptops as well as tiny screens on wristwatches.

And from a developer tooling perspective, each of these devices needs to be coded for, sometimes at the same time with a single app. That means multiple tools might be needed to address each of them, which means they need to interact better.

For example, Firebase just received a number of updates that gave it greater integration with Android and Google Play.

One problem that developers had historically using Firebase is that they would have to “context switch,” which meant minimizing their code editor when something went wrong in their app and checking Firebase in order to triage a problem. Now, with better integration between Firebase and Android Studio, developers can stay coding and fix problems without needing to swap.

“But it’s not just about the technology,” Banks added. Of equal importance is reaching out to the community and giving them a better understanding of how to build apps using Google’s tools.

Many developers also have sought out guidance from Google to understand best practices for developing apps and staying in line with future developments. Critically, that means teams at Google will be communicating more about their projects as far ahead as possible so that developers can plan for the future.

Photo: Pixabay

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