When Android started out, it didn’t burst into the scene fully formed and complete. That was true for the platform itself and especially its development tools, with Android development practically tied to a couple of pieces loosely bound together. Nearly a decade later, Android is all grown up and has its own integrated development environment or IDE. Now at version 2.2, Android Studio is the tool for developing for Android. And with that, Google is officially retiring the separate Android Development Tools (ADT) that allowed users to develop using Eclipse or other tools of their choice.
Having a dedicated tool is both a boon and a bane. On the one hand, it made easing into Android development practically painless, as there was only one package and one place to get all the tools to get started. No need to hunt them down or configure each and everyone. On the other hand, it does somewhat force developers to a single tool, which, to some open source fans, is a bit antithetical to Android’s open source spirit.
The ADT was, back then, the closest that Android got to an SDK (Software Development Kit). It was practically a bundle of tools that one would call from Eclipse, the command line, or any other third-party tool. It had the advantage of flexibility and allowing developers to use their dev tool of choice. It did, however, require a few more steps to set up and maintain.
That is no longer possible after Android Studio 2.2, which is bound to disappoint some developers. Or to be more specific, Google will no longer be maintaining, updating, and releasing the Eclipse ADT (the last release was actually way back in August anyway). That said, all of those tools and features will be found in Android Studio, and the IDE does import Eclipse projects to help with the transition.
Android Studio 2.2 isn’t all bad news (for some developers, at least), however. It does have new features to boast of, some in order to make up for the loss of the separate ADT. For example, C++ users will be able to enjoy CMake and NDK support inside the IDE, and the Instant Run tester has been improved with an even faster engine.