Google Says Final Goodbye to Eclipse IDE for Android Development

Many Android developers (including this hobbyist reporter) cut their teeth on mobile app development with the popular open source IDE, Eclipse. That won’t be happening much now, as Google officially ended support for the Android Developer Tools (ADT) plug-in that for a time turned Eclipse into the go-to platform for non-iOS mobile coders.

In June of last year, Google announced “we are ending development and official support for the Android Developer Tools (ADT) in Eclipse at the end of the year. This specifically includes the Eclipse ADT plug-in and Android Ant build system.” However, the company had been previously warning developers for quite some time that such a shift was in the works, noting back in 2014 — with the release of Android Studio 1.0 — that the ADT plug-in wasn’t in active development any longer.

And, despite the reference to Google ending support at the end of last year, it actually seems to have waited until this month to announce “Support Ended for Eclipse Android Developer Tools,” somewhat coinciding with the September release of Android Studio 2.2.

“With the release of Android Studio 2.2, the time has now come to say goodbye to the Eclipse Android Developer Tools,” product manager Jamal Eason said in a blog post last week. “We have formally ended their support and development.”

After extolling the virtues of Android Studio, Eason threw a bone to Eclipse die-hards in a section of his post titled “For our ADT Fans.”

“All of your favorite ADT tools are now part of Android Studio, including DDMS, Trace Viewer, Network Monitor and CPU Monitor,” Eason said. “We’ve also improved Android Studio’s accessibility, including keyboard navigation enhancements and screen reader support.

“We announced that we were ending development and official support for the Android Developer Tools (ADT) in Eclipse at the end of 2015, including the Eclipse ADT plugin and Android Ant build system. With the latest updates to Studio, we’ve completed the transition.”

Eason said Android Studio 2.2 — which is open source, like Eclipse — includes more than 20 new features, and he called out special attention for the following:

  • Instant Run — The iteration engine now is both more reliable and available for more types of changes.
  • Layout Editor — The new UI designer makes it easier than ever to create beautiful app experiences.
  • Constraint Layout — A new flexible layout engine for building dynamic user interfaces — designed to work with the new layout editor.
  • C++ Support — CMake and ndk-build are now supported alongside improved editing and debug experiences.
  • APK Analyzer — Inspects APKs to help developers streamline APK and debug multi-dex issues.
  • GPU Debugger (beta) — Captures a stream of OpenGL ES commands and replays them with GPU state inspection.
  • Espresso Test Recorder (beta) — Records interactions with apps and outputs UI test code.

At least one developer misses the old ADT approach. “In terms of Android Studio I use it, but I find the interface really bloated which interferes with my desktop zen,” said a coder with the handle “victornomad” on a Hacker News post announcing Android Studio 2.2. “I tweaked but still don’t like it, somehow I miss my tuned Eclipse of some years ago. Biggest thing since the transition to Android Studio is Gradle which I find it really good.”

A migration guide is available for developers who haven’t yet transitioned from Eclipse to Android Studio.