January 4, 2017
Best Libraries and Tools for Android Developers
Android is one of the most popular mobile operating system ever developed that boasts the market share of almost 80%, for a Mobile Operating System with such a large user base it’s not a surprise that there would be thousands of developers and engineers having tremendous skills on android application development.
Unfortunately, Android application development is not that easy as it sounds.it requires a serious skill set and dedicated team of engineers working round the clock to built something awesome that makes the life of billions of smartphones users around the world easier.
Thanks to the tremendous advancement in technology, the technical world have arrived in such a condition that exist tonnes of libraries to solve any issue that a developer face irrespective of the programming language used.Upon this plethora of libraries that have made programming really simple we also have tons of tools and softwares that makes programming even simpler and faster.
This particularly made android development easier and gave developers freedom to not to reinvent the wheel which leverages the usage of existing libraries to decrease the development time and increase the efficiency of the application being developed.This practice also enhances the code re-use.
In this post, I will list down the most used libraries and tools by Android developers worldwide.
Retrofit is a type-safe REST client for Android and Java developed by Square.The library provides a powerful framework for authenticating and interacting with APIs and sending network requests with OkHttp.
It helps the developer to get rid of boilerplate codes which becomes really messy when the code size increases.Retrofit is an amazing library that makes calling RESTful API’s really simple.It is highly Optimized which increases the App efficiency.
Another great Networking Library for Android is Volley, which is from Google.but most Android developers prefer Retrofit over volley for multiple reasons which includes ease of use, efficiency and boilerplate code reduction.
Another disadvantage of Volley is that it lacks built in XML support, whereas Retrofit handles both XML and JSON seamlessly.
Glide is an Image Loader Library for Android developed by bumptech.Glide is officially recommended by Google.Glide has been implemented in various top rated android apps on Google Play and even in Google’s I/O Conference App.
Glide is fast, efficient and easy to use library that takes care of disk caching and memory management.Picasso and Fresco are other popular image loading library from Square and facebook respectively.Fresco offers some extra features that Glide and Picasso yet does not have.
Some of them include :
-Images are stored in ashmem heap instead of Java heap.This leaves a lot more memory available for applications to use which reduces the risk of OutOfMemory Exceptions, leading to better performance.
-Images can be cropped around any point, not just the center unlike picasso or glide.
You can learn more about implementing Glide on your application here
Butterknife is a popular View injection library for Android that motivates android MVVM pattern.ButterKnife uses annotation for its implementation, it actually writes all the boilerplate view code’s for the developer.ButterKnife improves the Application performance by using compile time annotation, it doesn’t create any runtime overhead.
ButterKnife is amazing that it doesn’t depend on Java reflection, which might degrade the application performance.
Other popular libraries similar to ButterKnife are RoboGuice and Dagger.But it is hard to start with them.hence ButterKnife is prefered more over Dagger and RoboGuice.
You can learn more about ButterKnife library here
RxAndroid is the Android Specific library of RxJava.
RxJava is described officially as “a library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs by using observable sequences”.It makes use of Observer pattern that makes event driven programming a lot easier.
There are numerous benefits in using RxAndroid in your projects, which includes :
-Achieving Concurrency has made easier
-Minimal use of AsyncTasks
-Reducing the lines of code required
You can learn more about RxAndroid here
EventBus is an opensource library for Android which is built on Publisher/Subscriber pattern that allows loose coupling of application components, which facilitates hassle free communication between various Application components.
One additional benefit of using this library is that it help facilitate passing Java objects between Activities, Fragments, or Services. You don’t need to spend time serializing and deserializing data, which can often create tight bindings between these components. It also helps enforce more type-safety across complex Java objects.
You can learn more about EventBus library here
1)Library Method Count:
Android libraries makes the life of developer easier by implementing common approach to a known problem, but they also create problems to the developers too, Android VM restricts the app from having more than 64K methods.This restriction is commonly known as 64K method limit.you can use this awesome tool to know the exact number of method’s your library has.
With the latest version of android, you can also overcome this restriction using multidex support.read more about this here
2)Android Debug DataBase:
Android Debug Database is a powerful library for debugging databases and sharedpreferences in Android applications.It’s a very simple tool for viewing databases and shared preferences directly in your browser.
Github link to Android Debug Database
Stetho is a debug utility for Android applications created by Facebook. It can be easily integrated with the Chrome browser’s Developer Tools.
Stetho enables the developer to easily inspect the application, mainly the applications network traffic.It also helps the developer to easily edit and inspect the SQLite Database and Shared Preferences.
Stetho should only be used in the debug build and not in release build.
Github Link to Stetho
LeakCanary is an open source library that is helpful in detecting memory leaks in Android.finding and fixing memory leaks is a big headache, LeakCanary notifies the developer by inspecting the common cases that may lead to memory leaks in the Application.LeakCanary should be used in the debug compile of the Application.It thoroughly scans all the cases and notifies the developer if leak occurs in the Application.
You can learn more about LeakCanary here
5)Android Asset Studio:
Android Asset Studio is a all in one tool for all your projects asset’s need.It helps to create Launcher icons, Action bar, Tab Icons and notification icons.It also supports various level of customization and enables the user to download the generated icons for various screen densities.
Link to Android Asset Studio