Everything You Need to Know About the Build Analyzer in Android

Need to Know about the Build Analyzer in Android

If you’ve indulged yourself in the Android app development project, you might have come across this amazing build performance checker tool, Build Analyzer. And the reason why you’re here is that you want to understand this tool completely to better optimize your app’s build performance.

So, let’s begin!

What is Build Analyzer?
With the latest release of Android Studio 4.0, a lot of new features have been launched and one of them is Build Analyzer. You can use the Build Analyzer to inspect the build performance of your project.

When building an app, we sometimes notice that it takes 20 minutes (Gradle issues), or a few minutes. Therefore, to analyze why all of it is consuming a lot of time, Build Analyzer was introduced in Android Studio 4.0 as a tool that can help you check the performance of the build of the project and improve the build time based on the information. For each build you perform, the Build Analyzer presents the best possible information about each build, so that you can easily identify the flaws and resolve regressions in the build performance.

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How Build Analyzer Generates the Report?
Each time you build your application, Android Studio 4.0 generates a Build Analyzer report. To view the report, follow the below-given steps:

1. Update the Android Gradle Plugin so that its version is greater than or equal to 4.0.0
2. Build or rebuild your app
3. Go to the Build Analyzer by selecting View -> Tool Windows -> Build from the menu bar, and then click on the Build Analyzer tab.

When you open the Build Analyzer, you get to see the Overview page. The Overview page provides an overview of the Build Analyzer and some basic information and links to access the details on how to use the tool to improve the build performance of your project.

Every report generated might have two options:
1. Plugins with tasks determining the build’s duration.
2. Tasks determining this build’s duration.

In case there is some warning in the project, a new Warnings option would be there as well.
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Now, let’s discuss and understand each of them.

1. Plugins with tasks determining the build’s duration
When you open this option, you’ll see a visual display of plugins and the time it takes to contribute to building the app. Here you can find the details of all the plugins and based on it you’ll have its build timing. Here, the plugins are added only if they have played a significant role in the build of the project.

If you click the plugin on the left side, you will see the different tasks performed under each plugin.

2. Task determining this build’s duration
This section represents the task in sequential order from multiple plugins in which it orders itself based on the maximum time consumed to perform the build. Here also, the left-hand side panel provides a collection of all the tasks inside it.

On the right side, you can see the task is divided based on which one has the most impact on the build. Also, each of the tasks is divided into different colors. Let’s understand each of them one by one.

• Pink: These tasks belong to the Android Gradle plugin or Java Gradle plugin, or sometimes it can also be Kotlin Gradle plugin.
• Blue: These tasks are of a third-party or custom plugins retrofit or any other library.
• Purple: These tasks are not associated with any plugin but are used to dynamically modify the project properties at runtime. For example, these may be tasks that you might define within your build.gradle files to be executed.
• Light Blue: Unlike other tasks highlighted by the analyzer, these tasks do not have a greater impact on the build’s duration.

When analyzing the build performance, you’ll also get some set of warnings from the Android Studio that does not run efficiently. You can get a complete list of warnings when you expand the warning on the left side. When you click each warning option, it provides a comprehensive description of the warning and also suggests a potential solution to fix it.

If you’re new to using the Build Analyzer, you can always hire Android app developers from a professional Android development company who can help you understand the ins-and-outs of the tool.

How Does the Builder Analyzer Work?
Whenever you use Android Studio to build your project, the Build Analyzer locally collects data using both the Gradle Tooling API and the Android Gradle Plugin. A ProgressListener is attached using the Tooling API that gives information about the project configuration, task execution, annotation processors, etc. Besides, the Android Gradle Plugin provides more information on things such as task name to task class name mapping and task configuration.

Once your build is completed, the Build Analyzer runs this information using a set of analyzers, each of which scans for and reports a specific problem. For instance, one analyzer reviews tasks that are configured to run on each and every build. These tasks prevent time from being saved during incremental builds and significantly affect build speed.

But the question is, how does this analyzer find tasks that continually run?
A Gradle task is said to be up-to-date when none of its inputs and outputs has changed since the last build. When a task is up-to-date, Gradle skips executing the task and reuses the task’s existing outputs instead of wasting time in recreating them.

A task can never be up-to-date unless it has both a task input and output declared. This analyzer utilizes the information on task outputs which is provided by the Gradle Tooling API and finds all tasks that do not declare any outputs or that specifically override up-to-date to always be false.

In the process, it also identifies all tasks that will never be up-to-date and that will continually run. This way you can quickly address this problem and start benefitting from incremental builds.

Along with the analyzer that identifies tasks that always run, there are currently two extra analyzers. One analyzer identifies annotation processors that are not incremental, and the other analyzer identifies tasks that overwrite each other’s outputs.

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Q.1. How to optimize the build speed?
Ans. Generally, you can improve your build speed in the following ways:
• You can optimize your build configuration by taking a few steps that will benefit most Android Studio projects.
• The other way is to identify and troubleshoot some of the trickier bottlenecks that may be relevant to your project.
For better optimization results, you can hire Android developers from us for professional help.

Q.2. How long does it take to build an Android app?
Ans. The approximate time taken to build an Android app may be anywhere between 2.5 months to 6 months depending on the design and complexity of the project.

Q.3. What is the general development process that you follow?
Ans. Our app development process includes:
• Analyzing Requirements
• Wireframing & Designing
• Development
• Testing
• Deployment
• Support and Maintenance

Have more questions? Feel free to ask our Android app development experts right away!