Google Outs New Complication Tools, Wear UI Library

May 18, 2017 - Written By Daniel Fuller

Google wants developers of all spades and skill levels to work on their platforms, so to that end, they’re releasing some new tools for Android Wear 2.0’s Complications API that will help developers along by eliminating some of their workload, along with a UI design library that should make it much easier for developers to bring their ideas to life and implement them into a competent UI regardless of their personal design chops. The Complications API, which essentially allows developers to create widgets for Android Wear that will display information or the user some functionality beyond the time on their watch face, is getting a suite of new tools that automate parts of the development process and make it easier than ever to put together a Complication.

The Wear UI library coming to Android Wear 2.0 is essentially a set of tools and tweaks that allows developers to port things in from other platforms, along with ushering in the depreciation of the card UI style and multi-directional layout, along with their supporting bits and bobs. With less possibilities and useless tools floating around, developing for Android Wear 2.0 will be a bit less complicated. Developers can expect some changes to Wearable Support classes, which will be migrated and packaged in with Android Wear’s internal workings. Some functions, such as CircledImageView, are also being merged with Android, making it easier to develop cross-platform and companion apps.

Changes to the Complication API are being made to automate some parts of the process and make things much easier for developers. For the most part, they won’t have to create the core code and UI for a complication anymore, freeing up development time and resources to work on the functions that make a given complication unique. For starters, a change to the built-in TextRenderer tool automatically wraps and fits text in a given UI element. On a related note, the ComplicationDrawable class will now automatically handle sizing and styling, meaning that developers who can’t come up with a good UI to fit their idea into can let the API try to do so for them. Google has also massively expanded the API’s built-in sample code, letting developers pick and choose the bits and bobs for a Complication or watch face’s core parts, rather than having to code them all by hand. Finally, there’s a full suite of testing tools for Complications, including simulating passing all sorts of data through them.