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Making Android Studio easier for new developers

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As someone who is quite new to software development, I sometimes want to rant about how some parts of development should not be part of my job as a developer. It feels like more experienced developers have sort of accepted that some parts suck, while clearly a lot of developers are doing stuff by hand that computers are much better suited at.

I’m talking about how ProGuard is used in Android Studio. ProGuard is a tool that you use to make your Android file you put on Google Play. The effect of running ProGuard is that your file will become smaller and less easy read for potential hackers. A great thing, but it’s very easy to make a mistake and create all sorts of (hidden) bugs.

So I wrote down my rant as constructively as possible in a feature request for Android Studio, asking to implement a simple interface to ProGuard, or better yet, make it invisible and just take care of making my app file as small and un-hackable as possible.

I’m in no way saying ProGuard isn’t well made or doesn’t do a great job. I actually had the chance to talk with Eric Lafortune, one of the core developers for ProGuard, two years ago. He is a very friendly and smart Belgian guy who clearly knows what he’s doing. It’s just that in my view ProGuard should just work, meaning that I need a layer on top of ProGuard giving an easy to use interface and do background analysis on the code so ProGuard can be set up correctly automatically. Not something I expect Eric to do, but I would like to see Google invest in with it’s Android Studio team.

Here I go again ranting along, so I’ll leave it at this 🙂 and if you want to read more, you can read the feature request over here.

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