At ChromeOS, we are committed to enhancing developer tools and frameworks that enable Android app developers to seamlessly optimize their apps for Chromebooks. In doing so, we need to explore ways to bring impactful tool sets to developers to enhance the experience of building for large screens and ChromeOS.
Linting is an automated checking of your source code for various programmatic and stylistic errors such as correctness, security, performance, usability, accessibility, and internationalization. A lint rule is the code that backs any individual potential error. Android Studio has a built in lint tool that notifies developers of any errors and the severity of those errors.
For more information on configuring lint rules in your Android Studio environment, refer to the documentation on improving your code with lint checks.
One of the largest challenges we face on ChromeOS is that the vast majority of app developers are not aware that their app is automatically deployed to the ChromeOS Play Store. As such, the normal development and testing processes of many apps omit testing on large screens or ChromeOS. As a result, the overall app experience on these devices will trail behind their phone counterparts, and users on those platforms will suffer from a poor experience. To help combat this, we’ve introduced ChromeOS lint rules to Android Studio.
The goal of these initial lint rules is to start the process of bringing ChromeOS and large screens to the forefront of app development, and start to create a unified toolkit that developers can leverage easily to kickstart the process of developing a great ChromeOS or other large screen application.
When you upgrade your development environment to Electric Eel or Flamingo versions of Android Studio, you will get these lint rules for free. These lint rules are enabled by default; if your application was violating these rules previously you will be notified as soon as your application is done building and the static analysis tools can be run.
Another way to test these is by launching your application on the Desktop Emulator in Android Studio and seeing how your application performs in this specialized environment. You can create a new Desktop emulator through the AVD menus built into Android Studio.
The team is constantly looking to improve these tools and documentation surrounding optimizations for large screens. A critical step in this process is to give us feedback on the accuracy and usefulness of the lint rules that are deployed in Android Studio.
You can do this by providing feedback for the rule. When the lint rule shows up in Android Studio, click on “Provide feedback on this warning”. You should be taken to a dialog that looks similar to the one below. The more accurate and descriptive the information given, the more we are able to iterate quickly on making the appropriate changes.
Optimizing for ChromeOS and Large Screen Guidance will continue to evolve. We want to continue to improve our existing toolkits to bring more awareness to developers early and often. We want developers to feel empowered to make large screen improvements for their apps. Showcasing potential issues earlier in the development process is one way to achieve this.
For further reading and a detailed recommendation on best practices for ChromeOS and large screen guidance, refer to the large screen documentation.