15/06/2016 8:42 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

A Quick Guide To Developing Android Instant Apps

information coming out of a smart phone
Daniel Grizelj via Getty Images
information coming out of a smart phone

android instant apps

Looking to start developing Android Instant Apps? Then there are a number of things you need to know. Whether you are an experienced Android app developer or you are still grappling with the basics, this guide will get you started.

What are Android Instant Apps?

Apps are like certain island nations. Although the state is a single whole, it actually consists of several islands. From the user's perspective, also, apps are congealed wholes wrapped into useful designs that work together. These wholes include but are not limited to news feeds, cameras, and video players.

Therefore, the Android Instant Apps you develop should enable users to take advantage of all portions of the app's functionality without having to download and install the actual app.

This is the basic concept behind these instant applications. Google started this feature to allow Android app developers to craft unique applications that make life a little easier for users.

So, what do you need to know about Android 6.0, the platform that you are going to use for your future Android app development?

How it works

With Instant Apps, you can simply tap a link to be directed through Deep Links to the Android app you are looking for. This way, you should be able to use the application without having to install it.

App indexing and runtime permissions

Google has created the modular smartphone concept that allows users to change various hardware pieces and create a different phone with new capabilities. Called Project Ara, this will be the first modular Android smartphone specifically targeted at Android app developers.

Android Instant Apps, on the other hand, are Project Ara's equivalent in the hands of software developers. To this end, developers will no longer have to build entirely new applications using Instant Apps. Instead, they will be able to subdivide apps into smaller modular pieces (referred to as atoms) that can load independent of the rest of the application. These atoms can then be loaded from a website.

Developers will also be able to modulate their applications and break them down into smaller components that URLs can easily address. Although these components won't be new or separate from the original app, they will still function differently. However, they will still use the same APIs and source code.

This means that developers can work on the same project and simply update their apps to integrate the new Android Instant Apps functionality.

Access and download

With this new offer from Google, developers will no longer need to create fresh user interface designs for the modules. This is because they will just be cutting out subsections of their apps and serving them to users. In this way, the granular runtime permissions model introduced for Marshmallow will now apply to these Instant Apps.

Google has also promised that these modular capabilities will receive support -- including those created using 4.1 Jelly Bean. However, developers will have to update their apps to ensure that individual pieces can easily be served up through web URLs before publishing them to Google Play Store.

Logic behind Android Instant Apps

Google understands that people visit more mobile sites than they download and use applications. In the future, users will be accessing more of these sites than they will be downloading applications. However, they will still spend more time on apps than on mobile websites.

In the same way, most Android app developers are concerned about user retention and app discoverability. Therefore, Android Instant Apps will build upon the infrastructure of native apps on Google Play Services before untangling the app capabilities from Google Play Store.

Ultimately, the end goal of this new form of Android app development will be to make it easier for developers to get their Android apps into the hands of users while convincing them to download these applications.

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