The Android Support Library has become a major part of Android development as it lets developers take advantage of new APIs found in newer versions of Android and use them without writing a number of checks and workarounds for older versions of Android. The support library has allowed developers to target devices as old as Froyo, which was released in May 2010. Six years later and that version still runs on some devices.
In this latest version, Froyo support is removed and the components of the v4 Support Library have split into smaller modules for specific tasks.
v4 Support Library Modules
There are a number of APIs available in this library for all kinds of functions. This has caused the library to increase in size and by splitting it into different parts developers can pick which code they want to add specifically.
support-compat– This provides wrappers for new APIs in the framework
support-core-utils– This provides utility classes
support-media-compat– This ports new media APIs and classes to older versions
support-fragment– This ports fragment APIs to older versions
Instant apps are coming soon, allowing apps to run without having to be installed. As such, new APIs are being added to the Chrome Custom Tabs to determine whether an opened link should launch the app or keep it in the browser.
Some APIs have changed around Custom Tabs and the transitions framework in Android has been backported to versions 14 and higher.
For apps with a day/night theme, the activity is automatically recreated when the mode changes.
Additionally, several bugs have been fixed and many APIs have been deprecated to provide a cleaner developer experience.
Developers can take advantage of this today simply by updating their gradle dependencies in Android Studio.